He was not always teller of the stories, the leaver of poems, weaver of the random tales, he gloried in the legends, bush ballads, the sad songs, the books he had read as a lad home in Wales.
Godfrey had a deep love for remote places, for the range land, the coulees of the high prairie, and on this warm night while the stars fell about us, this story he passed on to me…He said, “I hiked out alone once, hiked far up a wide valley, an Eden for horses knee deep in the high meadows there.
For a week I camped rough, watched a small wild herd, led by a true rogue, a fine blue roan mare. It is oft a short, hard life this being free, and the roan rogue told me her story.
“In my winter coat said she, cinnamon, steel and white, my frost rimed whiskers, your wise eyes knowing. In darkest night stand head to tail, I shield you, you shelter me. “I was ranch born to be broken bit and spur.The people were not cruel to us, we simply did as we were told” As my kind mother taught me from the day I was foaled. “They provide your shelter, feed and hay- do not disobey”.
I was near one year old when they took her away. My new person came with scratch and brush and soft words, with hands that always smelled of sugar. In time I came to love and trust her. But at age of two, I was turned out to mature, I ran with my friends and would not be brought back at Autumn Muster.
My summer coat sleek silver, hooves and legs strong, from good feed and running on that short, grass prairie. I met up with a band of mustang rogues, happy that the herd did accept me. I bore my colts as the stars fell above us at night.. I see them still. Through stream and gully my young race in flight forever.
The deep snows are coming, head to tail let us shelter together, my winter coat shaggy, cinnamon, steel and white, from the cold wind always we comfort each other, and listen to the story of this blue roan rogue, wild horse, your Grandmother.
It is oft a short, hard life spent free. Plucking gentle notes on his guitar sang the vagabond, Godfrey.
The stories rolled out, the fire burned down to coals, he said, “I called her Rata, for the lovely mountain tree, wild where the high tussock grows. I like to say a higher wisdom passed between us that cold morning, I shouldered my pack, it was heavy, as oddly was my heart. In the icy stream Rata dropped her head to drink. As I hiked off not intending to look back..but of course I did to see, the mare I had been observing this whole time had been observing me.
Crystal clean water dripped from her gray muzzle, lit by the first rays of dawn, it was then the higher wisdom passed between us, when I looked back one last time Rata was gone.