One of his earliest recollections of her extraordinariness was the
evening they went looking for a lost calf, narrowing their search to
the steeply sloping canyon walls. Night was falling fast. Getting
around prickly gorse, negotiating poison ivy, stepping clear of
slipperyscree is hard enough in daytime. A
night wasn't going to help any, especially since they hadn't thought
they'd need flashlights.
Soon it was inky black. He could barely see his hand in front of his
face. Not seeing the path anymore, almost totally blind in the
darkness, instinctively he followed her, now just a fleeting shadow
ahead, reaching where she reached, stepping where she stepped. She
never wavered, pressing on - firmly, confidently - her feet never
missing a step, her heart never missing a beat.
"She can see in the pitch dark" he realized, drenched in amazement,
"and it's not with her eyes.".
In her massive expansive acreage he reduced all his actions to simple
service, wanting only to provide support so she could continue being
who she is.
That was enough for him: just to let her be.
She had him clear brush from the banks of the river, making a deck
available at the edge of a naturally occurring
hole from which he removed rocks and boulders until it was six feet
deep crystal clear babbling fresh mountain water. There she would
luxuriate in the sun on warm days, alone in the forest, sitting on a
simple beach towel, adorned with an elegant Yves
Saint-Laurent plain white sheen bikini, a thin gold chain
clasping her left ankle, another with a one carat sheer diamond
Tiffany pendant around her neck. She would sit there with
nothing going on,
complete and serene, listening to the river and the
birds of the forest,
watching leaves slowly drift down to the forest floor.
Every so often, unasked, he'd bring a glass of iced tea, not knowing if
she'd be there or not. Whether she accepted it or not wasn't important
to him. What he really wanted was just to come and be near her. He
wanted only for the chance to serve her in her natural environment.
He was never uncomfortable on the occasions she required he work, away
from his usual milieu of pastures, paddocks and stables,
in or around her palatial yet tasteful stately stone ranch house. He
was from a poor yet dignified background. It was never clear to him how
she acquired her fabulous wealth. Yet he wasn't phased by it at all.
She didn't seem to focus on
Her conversations weren't peppered with business strategies. He hardly
ever saw her with ledgers and journals. She had neither the
hunger for material possessions nor the drive
to succeed that he associated with other land barons in the area. She
never seemed to struggle and effort to add to her
portfolio of land tracts and properties. Yet it continuously expanded,
as if all by itself.
What he realized about her, one of the things which fascinated him the
most about the rarefied financial stratosphere in which she lived, is
she didn't appear to do anything at all to garner such
riches. Rather, riches seemed attracted to her. In her case,
acquisitions weren't a matter of savvy, of spotting a good
deal then capitalizing on it. In her case, acquisitions were
a simple matter of magnetism:money
was attracted to her.
just seemed to want to be around her. Obligingly she allowed it to.
The few shirts he possessed were always hand washed and proudly ironed.
He owned only two pairs of Levis. Both were fraying at the knee.
No matter how hard he scrubbed, the mud from herding cows was too
ingrained in their hems above his boots to ever wash away. Yet he,
living on the breadline in self‑determined elegance and
integrity, and she, living opulently beyond belief for most human
beings, were equals with regard to their neutrality about
It was the unspoken glance between them. He liked that about her. She
respected him for it.
One evening after he secured the cows and the horses for the night, he
sat outside his cottage on a rickety wicker chair. He'd built a
campfire, not for warmth - simply for the elemental ritual of it.
Ceremoniously piling sticks into a cone, the lighting of it with
strike anywhere matches, and the shapes and faces dancing
and playing in the embers and smoke touched his core in a place where
he had no thoughts. There he sat, languidly drawing on a thin cheroot
of black tobacco, relaxed in the gathering gloom.
The snap of a twig caught his attention interrupting his reverie. He
turned in its direction. There she stood - silently, a few feet away
silhouetted in the dark, watching him, behind her a full golden
moonhalo-ing her head, shining clear through her raw silk blouse.