One of my favorite sayings and truly part of my inspiration today is, “Cowgirl Up”. I’ve been having trouble holding back on what I want to write about recently. So to help distract me and give me new subject matter I’ve been looking into my photo albums.

While I didn’t know my father personally, I did learn (after he died) that he was a cowboy. Not one of those urban cowboys like John Travolta played in the movies, but a real cattle driver and lover of all things western. As I was looking through the very few pictures I have of him, I was Skype chatting with a friend of mine. She said she had the urge to share a picture with me. I didn’t tell her what I was looking at so she had no idea.

My friend emailed a picture of her and a horse, maybe her horse from when she was younger. I love how life putsĀ  things in front us at times. I told her I was looking at my dads cowboy pics and she said I should write about it. So here I am sharing it with you.

I always wanted to know my father and didn’t have the opportunity, but I do know that what he did for a living he truly loved and that makes me happy for him. He died at the age of 46, but before he died he led a very interesting life. He was raised in Valentine Nebraska and grew up on horses and farming. His father was into rodeo and bucking broncs. I have an old picture of his father in the middle of a ride. They called him “Wild Bill Barnes” .

I would have given anything to grow up a cowgirl, but it wasn’t in my stars. The freedom part was, just not the cowgirl part. I did grow up”country” and we did have a horse we called “Moon Clip”. That horse was mean as shit and couldn’t be broke. He would chase us kids out of the corral and try to bite us. I look back at Moon Clip and my heart goes out to him, I wished he had a better home with us. It just didn’t work out that way.

I can feel what my dad loved so much about being out in the open and riding horses. It was pure freedom. There were no street lights or horns honking or people yelling. It was quiet living with nature. It’s the same thing I love about sailing, its freedom and quiet living. Tuning into nature around you with no thought of being wrong or right, but just being. It’s what I cherish about the quietness.

In my heart I wish that my dad could have been with me on some of my sailing adventures and that I could have gone with him on some of his cattle drives or range riding. We were traveling under the same stars just at different parts of our lives. Freedom is not free, but it is hard work. The horses have to be tended to just like a sailboat and its sail’s do. You need to care about the conditions and the surroundings. Both of our situations could be governed by weather.

When I think of my dad I want to slip into a pair of beat up cowboy boots and walk out under the stars or go for a midnight ride like I know he did. I never got to know him but I have an idea what he was and what people have said about him, those that knew him, and they are very much the same picture.

When I am going through difficult situations or hard times, as they say, I picture him in his cowboy boots and weathered jeans and hat. I imagine him walking up beside me and as he puts his arm around me, he says, come on now, “Cowgirl Up”.