Cattle on a thousand hills

Published 9:33 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2012

By Rex Alphin

“Mine,” he thought. “All mine.” It wasn’t said as much as felt. It flowed through his veins and coursed through his blood. Just watching those cattle, heads bent low, brought satisfaction.

They were grazing on his grass, his pasture, in his fields surrounded by his fences. He reached down and grabbed a handful of dirt, letting the granules run through his fingers. This was his soil.

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Those fields were his, and the sheds were full of implements used to work the land. Tractors, planters, sprayers, discs, mowers and plows, some essential and some not used for years. But they were still his.

He remembered the first grain bins constructed. They seemed big back then but were small today. Bigger and better ones had been added such that their height broke the evening sky. Land had been bought and added, extending the borders of the home place farther and farther.

‘Only get a chance to buy the place next to you once in a lifetime,’ it was said.

No opportunities were lost. In the good years, all excess funds were plowed back into land and equipment. Expansion became the norm, the lifeblood of existence.

‘If you’re not growing, you’re going backwards,’ they say.

Every new purchase fueled desire for more, and there was always more to acquire, to accumulate, to marvel at, to claim as one’s own. New paint and fresh soil are intoxicating, you know. And so, his kingdom grew, increased, expanded. All his.

Today, he’s down the road a piece. A pleasant cemetery it is. Someone keeps it up well. Nice tombstone he’s got, too. Sits out front, close to the road. Next time you ride by, take a look. Why, I saw some daffodils coming up around it the other day. They’re beautiful in the Spring, don’t you think?

Seems we’re all so busy these days, we miss a lot of those things. Including myself. Still, I think about him when I drive by sometimes.

He had quite an operation. Yes sir, quite an operation.

For a while.