Cabin walls now tumbled down,
On a big, flat sagebrush plain.
A home now long forgotten,
destroyed by wind and rain.
I wonder as I stop my horse,
about the passing years.
Did a family live in this lonesome place,
of hard work, sweat and tears?
A team-drawn, dump rake stands alone.
Alfalfa once here grew,
but years with moisture in this land
are desolate and few.
The Christmas season now has come,
as I see this place I pause.
Did children sleep here on feather ticks,
and dream of Santa Claus?
What was it like back in those days,
so far from friends and town?
Did a child’s bright eyes watch for Old Saint Nick,
as the snow came softly down?
What did he bring them way back then?
A toy and a candy cane,
or maybe an orange when a year was good,
and the fields had seen some rain.
Did they celebrate our Savior,
As his star shown Christmas night?
They could see it from their cabin
undimmed by city lights.
Did they sit around the fire
singing carols and reading poems?
In a one-room, sod roofed dwelling,
not a mansion, but a home.
But times were hard and years were dry,
the fields just wouldn’t grow.
And the family had to leave this place
so very long ago.
Now my cattle graze this range
where people tried to live.
This land’s not much for farming,
it’s unwilling to forgive.
My horse moves his feet and shifts his weight,
I know I have to leave,
but my mind goes back in time
to that lonely Christmas Eve.
I give a holler at my cows,
and down the trail they go.
It’s time that they were homeward bound
before the winter snow.
I glance back at the cabin,
with it’s walls all fallen down,
and wonder where the family went
who lived so far from town.
(I wrote this poem on a piece of scratch paper on top of my saddle horn. I was inspired by an old, broken down cabin that was out in the middle of nowhere.)