From her home in the forest, writer Marsha Ward offers up an eclectic collage of musings on life, insights into the writing process, sample scenes and snippets from her work, book spotlights, and author interviews. Now including "The Characters in Marsha's Head."
As Marie drove the steers closer to the Southerners' settlement on the Cuchara River, her good humor abandoned her. Nervous foreboding rushed in to take its place.
Bess must have sensed her unease, for she stopped moving forward, turned her head, and looked inquiringly at Marie. Marie looked back at the mare, her stomach flip-flopping with anxiety. Bess shook her head and whinnied. The herd disappeared into a draw, tails flicking the flies away. Marie sighed.
"Let's keep up, good horse," she said, reaching forward to pat the animal on the neck. "I'm nervy enough without getting left behind." She bumped her heels on Bess's flanks, and finally persuaded her to move forward after the steers again.
Rulon's head came up out of the draw, followed by his body, then his mount. When the entirety of him came into view, Marie could see the relief spreading over his tanned face. He waved, and beckoned to her in a "come along" gesture. She waved back, and urged Bess into a lope.
"Trouble?" Rulon asked once they were riding together down the slope of the draw.
"No. Bess took a notion that I needed a rest." She laughed, then reflected on the thinness of the sound. It would not convince a careful listener that she had merriment in her soul. "No matter," she added.
Rulon glanced over at her, studied her face for a moment. "You do look a mite peaked, Sis, not to mention sunburnt." He cocked an eyebrow. "Pa says by and by we'll be nooning for a bite to eat and a rest." He nodded at her then. "You just keep up, you hear?"
When she nodded in reply, he clucked to his horse, and it jumped forward across the bottom of the draw and up the other side.
The noon stop couldn't come fast enough to suit her. It would be a welcome relief from the sun and the dust and the flies. Marie wiped her sweaty, dusty forehead with the back of her hand, then realized her face was tender to the touch. Sunburnt indeed, she thought. That's my own folly. She sent Bess into a bit more speed to rejoin the herd, wishing she'd thought to borrow a hat, or at least, to bring her sunbonnet.
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