I believe in country women who meet life head-on. Women who wear bent and battered Stetsons, who smell of horses and barns. Women who flash their wrinkles like diamonds. Strong women that laugh as they toss fifty-pound feed bags over their shoulders, women with tough exteriors, winning smiles, and soft hearts. Women whose souls fill wide-open spaces, like a favorite melody.
They are the original matron saints of the weak, the abused, and the injured. With capable hands and healing spirits, they bottle feed kid goats at the kitchen table and take showers with orphaned raccoons. They doctor all manner of hurts and freely kiss children’s and critters’ boo boos. They toss table scraps to chickens and never cease to marvel at the miracle of freshly laid, still warm eggs.
Come Saturday night, these women two-step to cowboy yodelers and country western bands. They spin across the dance floor, vibrant and magnetic. With unbridled intent, they live close to their purpose. Without trying, they spark their partners and ignite passions.
Some of their stories are told in glorious gardens that riot with color, good eats, and even better intentions; in perfect pie crusts and savory baked goods; in sleek, fat cavorting lambs and glossy lowing cattle; in complex needlepoint, breath-taking quilts, and innovative fiber arts; in spare and hauntingly lovely words. There is no recipe for their creativity. Each woman is startlingly unique.
In times of trouble, rural women are there, packing food boxes with fresh produce and staples, filling in where needed, delivering home-cooked meals, holding the hands of troubled souls. When a man with no means chops wood for a country woman, she fills his belly with a jar of slow-cooked beans and bacon, a loaf of freshly baked bread. Her kindness is without measure.
When need be, she’s tough as nails. If her horse rears, she’ll lay him down. If her dog bites, the punishment fits the crime. Her fuse is short, but she holds no grudges. She’s always looking forward. In return, her dogs worship the ground she walks on. The cats adore her. They weave around her legs wherever she goes. When she rides out, her critters watch and wait for her.
The big bay gelding is sure beneath her, steady as a rock when deer leap across their path, when a sudden breeze carries bear-scent, when an owl swoops overhead, its wings softly beating air. This is how she loves her horse – long rides among verdant forests and bubbling streams, wide open vistas and the fresh scent of a new rain. In return, he carries her to higher ground.
Like her mother, and her mother’s mother, she teaches her children that death is part of life. Together, they plant Bleeding Hearts over animal graves, say their prayers, remember all who are lost or in need, and talk about what we become when the good Lord calls. A country woman’s faith is as sure as the pulse of the land she calls home.
I believe in her. I believe in women who meet life head-on, who wear bent and battered Stetsons, who smell of horses and barns. Women who flash their wrinkles like diamonds. Country women.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.