Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The late afternoon sunlight is a deep yellow quickly turning into pale orange, like an egg yolk spilling across the sky. The landscape is a wide series of low hillsides that cover the land like soft round breasts in all directions. The earth is covered in dry soil that dances when touched, sending its dust up to speak. There are scattered patches of green grass in various stages of death, yellow and green mingling, and tall cactuses that reach with thorny arms to the missing clouds in the sky. Tumbleweeds roll across the hills every few minutes, each riding and rolling through another warm gust of wind that blows with abandon. Every animal that might live here is hidden. Rodents and insects keep to their burrows, birds remain in their nests, nothing moves on these hills but the grass.
The only sound breaking the silence of the land is the occasional light whistling of the wind and the rhythmic clomping of horse hooves. A pack of five brown horses trots in a tight cluster. Atop each is a cowgirl in a wide brimmed straw hat, golden skin and eyes that survey the horizon. Their hair is wild and curly and swarms like Medusa’s snakes in the wind. Their chests are covered in light cotton shirts with plaid patterns and their legs are protected by old blue jeans and leather chaps. Though they are young, all of them only a few years over thirty, the skin of their hands reveals the battle between elements, between wind and stone, and the lines around their eyes tell of their old tales. The women ride close together, just a few inches apart in a tight pack, horse ribs and cowgirl knees occasionally touching.
Just a few feet behind the women is another tight pack of horses moving at a gentle trot, but this is a group of four men and one young woman. Each is dressed casually in jeans and t-shirts and the men wear baseball hats. The man slightly in front of the pack holds a video camera to his right eye, he is quietly watching the women through his lens. On either side of him are the boom mic operators, each attempting to hold their long microphones a few feet above the cowgirls. Behind the camera man is the sound operator and beside him, the young female assistant who stares intently into a small screen, watching for any equipment that might enter the shot. They all trot slowly, moving through the glow of the afternoon, each with their particular role.

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