memories riding me west

Pointing to the West

I’m sick at home with the flu. It’s been trying to catch up with me for weeks but i’ve been dodging it like an son of a bitch. But i could only run for so long. And so here we are. I’m investing some well earned time into my blog today and i’ve been digging into my dark pit of old photographs. Boy, it sure is easy to lose yourself in the past.

When i was little i didn’t play all that much with other children. I was busy playing cowboys and Indians at Mormor & Morfars house. Morfar, as long as i can remember, has always been John Wayne to me. I also thought Mormor was secretly a witch because she had a very questionable broom stick in the garage, but Morfar was Big John Wayne with the personality of an angry buffalo. He was the Duke because he folded the ends of his jeans the same way. My jeans were always too long for me because i was so small — so he’d fold mine too because theres no need to ruin the end of your cowboy jeans if it can be avoided. In Denmark thats what we called Jeans “Cowboy trousers.” Morfar is taller than the mast on a rigger — he also has a burly step to his walk.
He still has/does all these things. It’s one of the many things that early on in my life pointed to something bringing me west. I used to have a small belt buckle with three rope rings on it and in the rope rings was a conestoga wagon, a team of 8 horses and two people riding to a new homestead in the west. Jack and i probably. All this time i carried us on my belt. Until it didn’t fit and i grew woman hips. In England i would make bows and arrows out of sticks and string. And that i could fire a crossbow better than the man who owned it.  Even in nursery i remember sitting in a random tube in a hole in the ground wearing big black cowboy boots that didn’t fit (sorry mor — i lied so you’d buy them for me). But i wanted them and i wore them, they must have made a difference considering i live my everyday in cowboy boots. There are many little things in my life that seemed to nudge me towards what was going to happen.

Morfar and his folded Jeans, with me on his shoulders and Steph hiding behind him.

I wanted to share some of my photographs from that life on this blog. I don’t know why i didn’t blog back then. I tried a couple of times but life was getting pretty complicated and i could barely keep up. Surprisingly i also don’t have that many photographs from Texas, but that was because i was so busy living. I’d found life so god damn hard up until that point — but now there was a reason to try harder. To be better. To be a new person and a greater version of me — the me i recognise. And i look at her every day in the mirror now. Though somedays i might not like her face i so appreciate her for what she’s done for me and got me through. I can look at her in the eye and tell her she did the work of a woman who could fly. A person who believed she could so she did.

I’m sure some of you question whether i had anything that stopped me wanting to move to Texas. Yes, i had a few small things in the back of my mind that concerned me but i’ve never been one to listen that well. And i went anyway. Before i met Jack i never wanted to go to America, and i felt terrible for everything the First nations were put through. I wanted no part of that which is why i never wanted to step foot on that land. I didn’t want to move further away from my family either and i so wanted to grow old in Denmark. Sometimes i still do. But i know i’m not meant for that life. I’ve lived so long away from home — that home is anywhere now. If i returned home i would never belong again and it would feel like everything was a dream. The absolute hardest part of moving was giving up my sailing life and it’s still a wound that i scratch at once in a while, but i’m also aware enough to know that that part of my life was supposed to bring me to something better than where i’d been. Sailing was the last beautiful gift England gave me after the harsh years i had where i was. And i got my best friend for life, but i had to leave and move on to find where i was supposed to be. So yes these things can still get on my mind and i still have to work to figure them out but for now I bring to you — Texas as seen through my eyes.

The brazos river. One of my favourite places in Texas so far and in almost every western you’ll ever read. Ain’t she pretty?
The sunset in Texas is out of this world. Its where the earth meets the stars. And the mule smiles. So — that tells you how damn rare it is to see a sky like this anywhere else.
You wont find a town in Texas that doesn’t have old secrets of whores, railroads or just beautiful architecture.
The most handsome man any which way from the Mississippi.
A backend rail road haunted by the corpse of a dead’n gone dog the size of a car. You think i’m lying, but it’s true. I thought about sharing the picture but it still breaks my heart to see. As i’ve said before — Texas isn’t always pretty. It’s harsh living and you see a little of it every day. Folk from Texas are made of something different.
Home-decor inspiration.
Barrel racin’ !
Huntsville Rodeo.
I’ll always remember the Alamo. I remember her like an old friend. When i saw her from behind the trees i wept. I’d heard about her from Morfars stories and the old westerns on Tv. Right in front of me she was, and she was perfect.
A friend gave me an old hat — you don’t give a hat to a man you dislike.
Farm country.
An old abandon town with an old abandoned buck board.
An old gas station.
I never had the issue of snakes coming into my living room when i lived in England, funny that. But this garter was a cutie.
I want one. A Texas longhorn.
Lizards, lizards everywhere! I even showered with one. Im still not entirely sure which one of us was more traumatised.
Fields of a hundred prison ponies, and they’re all the sweetest and easiest going horses i’ve met in my life. And i met a lot of horses and a lot of horse people.
Strong and beautiful culture with dances that sing like the wind.
The old buckboard is open to homesteaders wanting to go back on the Oregon Trail.
My first shot was barely a cm from the bullseye. When we get our own land — i’ll be the next Annie Oakley, just not quiet as sophisticated.
Praying mantis — i’d only ever seen these creatures on tv. Now this guy was living on my porch.
The most beautiful butterfly i’ve seen in my entire life. Again — on my porch.
A Texan worth moving 4000miles for.
Probably the strangest visitor we’ve had… but still. I dont mind letting these guys sleep outside the door.
When he knew i was leaving. And i didn’t see him for 8 months. When we all already belonged to eachother, and the harder times were still to come.
Wide open spaces and beauty at every roadside. Even if its just another gate to another field, in another town.
In the dying sunlight the babies will piss off their mothers and start to play.
Out in the middle of bum fuck Egypt nowhere Texas, where the wind was high but sun was higher. We stopped the car for a few minutes just to take it in. The view. The air. The sky.
The longest and most incredible road i ever saw.
A folk festival and Jacks big hat.
Our boy on our first walk in a park as the three musketeers.
The herd at the farm we worked at a while.
I’ve never met a horse or a donkey that didn’t love Jack.
Angel had a lot of opinions that day, but it was a fantastic ride with great company.
Probably one of my favourite pictures i’ve ever taken, because this is a picture of utter happiness. Of a dream lived and realised. Of hard work. Breaking barriers. Living. And you know what else? Folded jean bottoms.
Texas was hard and circumstances arose so we tried something new, but to me — this is what Texas was to me. Everything right in this picture. So, im glad we tried leaving but i’ll be a lot happier to get back to an old porch where my boots can clomp on the boards. Where the hot sun is dying and Jack is grilling something. And Basil, though he’s not here anymore — he’s in every damn plan i’ll ever make.

[I’d like to clarify that Jack would not be grilling Basil, i just noticed how that last quote sounded.]

my out of budget ultimate wishlist, my Danish-Texan dream

Christmas shouldn’t be about presents or greed, that it’s so often laced with.
It should be about being with those that bring you joy, dreaming and being grateful. Being thankful for those who  sacrificed their lives so that we may have Christmas with our families at home, and not be knee deep in a trench with water sodden by corpses.
Having said that today i’m sharing with you my Danish Texan dream.
A ranch house with a breeze way, out in the backend of somewhere Texas. Surrounded by miles of land.

Where your washing is dry before it ever gets put on the line.

An old smithy like this to shoe my retired herd of horses that i’ll be adopting out of my favourite New Mexico
horse sanctuary. There’ll probably be some of crazy chickens hopping around entertaining me to no end too. 
A long horn or two called Duke & Woodrow

And to create this type of fencing because it’s magnificent.

To have a rooster with a magnificent head of hair.

For this to be my office every day. Old wagon, long horns, happy horses, psychotic chickens, a handsome husband, couple of cats and dogs running around. Just being grateful to be alive and to have blood pumping through my veins.
 (NOT MY IMAGE) A big beautiful Jutland draft horse, so i wont be the only Danish soul on the ranch.

(NOT MY IMAGE)  A nice comfy old truck with a spare pair of boots under the bench seat.

What would be on your ultimate wishlist?
Let me know in the comment section below !
 

 

a regular calamity jane #1

Theres not a night that passes where i don’t miss listening to the coyotes singing outside my window. One night i woke and there was a coyote right outside the window, it was so close i could smell it and he gave out a deep solemn howl. It scared the shit outta me at first, but it was so hauntingly beautiful that i shall never forget it and i will always hope to hear them in the night again. Now, it’s a remembrance of home.

pulling a Captain Call

“He didn’t tell him that even when life seemed easy, it kept on getting harder.”

“Well you could always pull a Captain Call,” – Matt LeBlanc, my maid of honor and our best friend said when we told him how upset we were that Basil died in New England.
A place that isn’t home to any of us. As always, that man is a gift to us and I don’t think he realizes it.
I’ve never thought about where I’ll die, because it never mattered to me whether I lived or not. I figure when I die my bones will be where they lay. I’ll be dust to the wind and no one will mourn because they’ll know how free I am. However, with Basil it always mattered. If I could change one thing I would have walked Basil back to Texas, even if it meant walking right through my shoes. Every stone making me wince but my bloody feet would have carried us home no matter what.

“It’s like I told you last night son. The earth is mostly just a boneyard. But pretty in the sunlight, he added,”
Augustus McCrae.

Everything went so fast and suddenly. Just a month ago he was still playing, running and being the beagle he always has been. He never stopped wanting to play, but by the end he just couldn’t. I wanted so desperately for him to feel the warmth of the Texas sunset on his face again, to roll around in the hottest and most dangerous grass of America again — where we all felt safe. After all. Basil was a Texas boy just like Jack. I do wonder if bringing him home in time would have changed anything, but realistically his legs would still have begun to drag, so I don’t know that it could’ve helped — but we all loved Texas. So it just might have.

“I’m glad I’ve been wrong enough to keep in practice. . . You can’t avoid it, you’ve got to learn to handle it. If you only come face to face with your own mistakes once or twice in your life it’s bound to be extra painful. I face mine every day–that way they ain’t usually much worse than a dry shave.”
Augustus McCrae.

Those who know me intimately know that I am to be cremated with my favorite book, Lonesome Dove. Jack bought Lonesome Dove for me from goodwill telling me “its a classic and you have to read it.” I remember the day we bought it. We’d had double Daves pizza with bacon and pepperoni, rummaged around goodwill and then ended up in Hobby lobby as we often do.
He didn’t tell me it would change my life. That it would shake every bone in my body and be the worst book hang over I have ever experienced in my entire life.
It took me a while to get around to reading it, because my reading list is from here to everywhere; but I started reading it a few months before we made our big move up north, I read it along the way and I finished it in our first months in our new place.  Six months it took me. We were making as big a trip as they were in the book. It is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. Just like Gus — Basil’s legs were ultimately the death of him. I didn’t realize that our ending would be somewhat the same, but it fits that Basil was our Gus McCrae. Because of the two I am definitely Woodrow.
Basil was a wonderful reminder that things can be good and life is precious we just have to realize it. Things aren’t always as bad as they seem.

“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.” Spoken by Augustus McCrae. 

A memory that I cherish, that I have secretly treasured all these years is from when we lived in bum fuck Egypt Texas, in the little red brick house with snakes in the piping… where frogs in the yard were the size of a finger nail. The army of coyotes that we lived with sang us to sleep every night and where Basil got addicted to meth.

“The stars in Texas could have been taken from Van Gogh’s Starry night. They shine like crystals freckled across a deep velvet sky and are laced in a fluff of cloud. They bring the coyotes to song and lullaby bluejays to sleep. Crickets hum and tweak somewhere in the brush. When I looked up I was surrounded by a circle of what seemed the worlds tallest trees. The moon danced delicately around; being kissed by stars as it swung by. How small I was here. I was so far from anything familiar. Yet, I think I found it. “It.” What many never find in a lifetime, I found by the time I was 20.
I found me, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t find me in Texas.

So here I stand staring at the sky holding his hand: stars rolling on and time passing. Mosquitoes buzzing and bleeding us dry. Texas taught me that freedom does exist you just have to find it: whether it’s riding in the dusty brush or sitting at the bar with two southern gentlemen talking about absolutely nothing. Jack taught me how to find happiness in the darkest corners, how to fight for love and how to make tacos. Now I’m living in a wild and dangerous country, and everything is trying to eat me alive. Its true, Texas made a woman out of me and I wouldn’t change a thing.” 

This was taken from a previous piece I wrote about moving to Texas, and this is the memory that I have been visiting. It wounds me but its a place that I can escape to because it was a moment where there was peace, and we had everything ahead of us. We were three. Though Basil is not mentioned, he is in there. You just have to look. In every word. Every breath. Every single letter — he’s in there somewhere. As much apart of the words as the stars above us or the air we breathed. He was at our feet watching the stars just as we were. Watching us. Knowing probably that one day we’d be ok when he wasn’t around. That little comfort didn’t know how big he was. Truly. That boy could carry the world on his shoulders. He is the tank you wanna ride into war, because he will carry you out. Every time. And he’ll never complain. But he’ll be there. Taking every bullet and every piece of shrapnel.

So as our final thank you to you Basil, we’ll carry you home to Texas. Just as Woodrow Call carried Gus McCrea. We made a promise, and though others may find it stupid or too much for “just a dog”, it was a promise made in utter love. I would do it for Jack and I would do it for you. We’ll take you back to where the stars are so big you could pick them. Where we all were so happy, even through our growing pains. Where we were all so young, so stupid and ready to get out and live. That’s where we’ll all go — and we’ll go together. Like always.

How stupid we were to want to get out and live, when we were already dreaming.

“Yesterday’s gone on down the river and you can’t get it back.”
Augustus McCrae.

Live through it,” Call said. “That’s all we can do.”

crystal beaches & one hundred pelicans

I can’t begin to describe how amazing it was to be back in Texas for a week.
A well needed holiday for sure. Its been a difficult start to the year with work and the lack there of due to some dick nose giving me the flaccid shaft.
We flew out of Manchester NH, had a layover in Nashville. We were in Tennessee longer than expected. A bird splattered all over the wind screen and so we had to wait for a new plane. Terminology does wonders. We arrived in Houston around 11.00pm having left home around 02.00pm

As i watched the city lights roll  by flourish by flourish in the night on our way through Galveston, i see those memories i lived once upon a time flash in snippets as we drove. Of riding on some moody mare wrongly named “Angel,” drinking with friends in a place that also had a sign reading “Dirt Sold here,” and eating burgers in a black out whilst a woman, wielding half a fried spatular, tells some hick not to miss when he pisses in the dark. The craziest of my stories were born in Texas. And i mean the kind of thing you see in a film like the Big Lebowski or The Hangover. Now i’ve never woken up with a tiger in my hotel room and i don’t hate the Eagles, but i have been in some pretty insane situations since my time in the USA.

Now i was pumped to be back in Texas. By god, pumped like a teenage boy getting his first nudie magazine.
Our first day was spent sizzling in the sun, counting pelicans, socialising with family and wading around in the sea trying not to stand on fish heads. Our second day was about as adventurous as we got.
Back to Huntsville to visit friends, past old Sam Houston and all the old haunts.
We hit whataburger like a tonne of bricks and i wept eating my bacon burger, it was the best thing i’ve eaten in months.
Call me a soppy old boot — i dare you. But you haven’t tasted Texas till you’ve had Whataburger or Jerky from Buc-ees.
…so we got mesquite beef jerky from bucees.

Being in Texas and seeing friends from years ago was amazing, but it was hard. I realised how much i loved having these guys in my life and how they gave me something i’d never had before.
The will to live, laugh and make jokes at Jacks expense. You always come to terms with what you had when its gone.
I can’t stress this enough, but its also part of the growing pains. Learning the value of loving a friend, getting drunk as a skunk on Fridays and laughing at my attempt at ordering water at a Mexican food restaurant. That shit always goes wrong.
From now on i will forever order water with an American accent — to make life easier.
I’m also a little ashamed of the fact that i had two drinks and i was happy as a fat big in shit (not water by the by), but i had my best guys with me. A rare blessing if ever there was one.
Pretty sure the guy waiting on us poured double the alcohol in my second drink after i mentioned that the first didn’t taste like alcohol whatsoever.
So maybe i was a little high on happiness and a little too happy to be drinking with the four most handsomest(?) men in Texas, but i lived a dream that day. A dream that i needed fulfilled after all this time.
Good Old Texas.
Forever winning my heart over and over again.

The rest of the holiday was beaching. Alcohol, meat, partying and beach. Hot sun.
Laughing a lot and trying to get pictures of dolphins, but they really are elusive little bastards.

Ultimately — we had a great time with family and friends.
We want to move back more than ever.
But for now, here are a few shots from the trip.