The Riders were joking around on our e-mail loop the other day about critters that creep us out after Cindy reported that her cats had brought a snake into the kitchen through the doggie door. Yikes! Of all the creepy critters, snakes seem the creepiest. Boys learn early on that the surest way to get a satisfying shriek out of a girl is to surprise her with a snake. I know, I know. Talk about boys playing with snakes and all sorts of imagery springs to mind, which is why I have no doubt that somewhere along the line story tellers reversed roles between Adam and Eve. Most girls don’t like snakes.
Spiders, lizards, mice, bees, bats—I’ve seen them all send girls shrieking. I haven’t always appreciated the creepy-crawlies of the world the way I do now, but close encounters have taught me to keep my cool, and I’ve tried to pass that attitude on to all the kids in my life—especially the girls. In a state of calm we can behave rationally. Be calm, stand still, back off. Unless it’s bent on destruction for some reason, let the critter go on its way. No, don’t bring it in the house. It’s a wild thing. It needs its space. “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” I believe that.
I’ve been a supporter of the wildcat sanctuary in Minnesota, and I’ve learned that there are fewer restrictions on owning exotic wildcats than domestic dogs. The sanctuary takes in big cats that people thought would cool pets. The cubs are so cute, and won’t their friends be impressed. Hey, “the most interesting man in the world” has one in his kitchen. Well, you know where this tale leads.
In part it led me to my Double D Wild Horse Sanctuary series with Special Edition. I remember the first time I saw the movie “The Misfits” with Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift. Broke my heart. I’ve always loved horses, and I know them to be particularly sensitive animals. (Did you know that most horse owners are women?) When I first moved to the Dakotas I enjoyed going to horse auctions until—dude that I was—I learned that many of the horses were being sold for meat. Domestic horses can still be sold as “killers,” but the Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act of 1971 ended the kind of roundup we saw in “The Misfits.” Trouble is, these days there’s less space for free-roaming animals. People aren’t satisfied to visit where the wild things are and then go back home. They want to live there. Like those cute wild cat cubs, the wild things are a novelty until they aren’t, and then where are they to go? Sanctuaries. Reserves. Land set aside, like the Double D, which was inspired by South Dakota’s Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.
Hot off the press in paperback and now available for your e-reader, Cowboy, Take Me Away is the story of bronc rider Trace Wolf Track, Logan Wolf Track’s (Once a Father) older son and Skyler Quinn, a young widow left her with a pile of debt and a stepson who refuses to grow up. Take a look at the first chapter.
One randomly chosen commenter will receive a signed copy of one of the earlier books in the series, so let’s talk about wild things. Tell us about your close encounters. What critters scare you? Which ones enchant you? Do you think the world will have any wild places left in, say, 50 years? Do we need them? If so, what should we do to preserve them?