When we got to the ranch on Sunday, the clouds weren’t yet heavy with rain. Wally fixed the tank and went to change the fence with the Aussies .PIlar saddled up the horses and I struggled to get squirmy Milly into a pair of grey sweatpants. She kicked off her Crocs when Pilar came out with the horses and once we had saddled - blanket, recado, cincha, pelo, sobre cincha - she climbed on top of the pelo and sat there while Pilar gave a calf a dose of antibiotics.
When we rode out to drive the cows from one pasture to another, the rain was lining up on the horizon and we trotted off faster pulling out long grasses and checking the levels of the creeks we passed through. In the pasture Pilar whistled and give a broad sweep of her arms that sent all the cows moving but when she sent me out further to round up the ones hiding over the hill I couldn’t help yelling a little, anda vacas, vacas vamos, vamos chicas, timing my whistles with the speed of my horse, and all I wanted to do was gallop, vamos vacas, looping back around tightening the circle following the last cow through the gate as the wind picked up and brought the smell of wet earth from farther away, riding faster up the hills, Milly’s hands in her hair starting to fear the wind and so many birds flying up from the grasses.
We closed down the windows in the main house and secured the barn’s rolling sheet metal door with a pole on the inside and picked up the gaucho’s laundry which had already flow off its clothesline. While the wind ran around and we waited for Wally and the Aussies to get back from the fence, we ate stale biscuits from a big cardboard box and Pilar put away glasses from the dish rack that looked like they’d been washed long ago.
We drove in the silence of a loud rain and hit at least three frogs and maybe a skunk on the dirt roads. Copperhead Road played twice and reminded me of the last time I rode a horse, in another hemisphere.