Posts by James Hessler

Cutting for Scent

As I coasted down the hill in my diesel pickup, I counted the tall poplars that lined the driveway. I loved the poplars’ height, gray bark and manta ray shaped leaves. A spring breeze made the new leaves shimmer silver. I counted one, two, three, noting the height, leaf profusion and density of each poplar. At poplar number fifteen, nearly to the front gate, I looked right, into the west grazing field.

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Turkey Vultures

I do my rounds, feeding cattle and horses every morning, on a ranch in the Sierra Foothills in California, north of Yosemite. It is a fight every morning at daybreak, from sleep to consciousness. I’m not naturally a morning person. But still I rise, dress, and go. My captured animals must be fed.

Half asleep, the rounds are routine and boring. Awake, really awake, if I can get there, the early morning is unique and amazing. Here, in this place, at this time, being alert will be rewarded with something interesting, fascinating, exciting, maybe even life changing.

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