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Tis' The Season

The Christmas season has arrived, and as always, we search for a fresh-cut pine or spruce tree from one of the many areas on the ranch where they proliferate. We never have to go far. They’re everywhere.

Over the years, we’ve come to realize how fortunate we are here at the Bar 7. In the spirit of Christmas, we’d like to enumerate a few of the many blessings we have. The following are only what come to mind on a cold winter night. They are definitely not an exhaustive list, nor in order of importance.

Solitude—though not in a remote location, we hear a minimum of human, traffic, or industrial noise. That said, it could be that advancing age has dictated that we hear less than we might have in the past. So what. Having little control over the aging issues of life, we choose to count age-related hearing loss as a blessing.

Warmth—being a rancher and writer, I’m used to being on deck at five. This morning, the red line in the thermometer rose to a miserly -40, so that hour is a good time to stoke the fire in the basement wood stove. Even when you cut it yourself, wood isn’t free, but it is still a relatively cheap and viable source of heat. Some northern wag from the past has opined that wood warms you twice, once when you cut, haul, and stack it, and the second time when you burn it. Though our wood heating system requires a significant amount of physical labor, I’m thankful to have it.

Family—Our children are scattered in various locations throughout North America—a mixed blessing. We wish we could see them more. That said, it gives us an excuse to travel, get out of our ranch rut, and see how other folks live. Often, that makes us appreciate our small and northern place in the world.

Independence—those on the north side of sixty might understand that word better than the folks who still have that age plot in their destiny. Humans generally spend the bulk of their lives striving to better themselves, their lot in life. We work long hours, build farms, ranches, or businesses. We spend our days planning for a future of independence and financial freedom, hoping that by doing so, we will be able to lay a little away for the older years we hope to have. For too many, that nest-egg has become a less attainable dream. I would hope that we each find our own way to reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves, to spread the message of this Christmas season to a world mired in a thousand troubles.

To all, a Merry and Blessed Christmas!


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