Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)

RANCH MUSINGS: Sometimes there is a glimmer, even a great insight, into rural folk

I start this column with a plain language poem from a book of poetry by Louise Gluck

One of the great benefits of staying mostly at home these days is the opportunity to be reflective and dwell in the peace we can find nearby.

For me, it has been satisfying to read more. Actually, I don’t have the surplus energy to work or play hard so I slide into a better life balance.

I start this column with a plain language poem from a book of poetry by Louise Gluck, called Faithful and Virtuous Night. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning American poet.


Once there was a horse, and on the horse was a rider. How handsome

They looked in the autumn sunlight. Approaching a strange city! People

thronged the streets or called from high windows. Old women sat

among the flowerpots. But when you looked about for another horse or another rider, you looked in vain.

My friend, said the animal, why not abandon me? Alone, you can find your way here. But to abandon you, said the

other, would be to leave a part of myself behind, and how can I do that

when I do not know which part you are?

To me this little story represents the dilemma of rural urban division in modern society, at least in America.

Most farmers lament the feeling that urban dwellers and increasingly small town residents have lost the connection between nature and the city.

READ MORE: The aging ranchers bumble along

The farmers and ranchers say that urban dwellers don’t know about what food providers do to take care of animals and plants when producing food. The horse and rider illustrate the connection, the oneness of human and other life.

More and more there is less country left in the boy (and girl). Remember the saying, “you can take the boy from the country, but you can’t take the country from the boy.”

Unfortunately, there is less country in people nowadays. Bemoan this if you want but at our peril we forget that these increasingly urbanized folk consume what we produce.

How do we explain that “the horse and rider” are a unit of co-operation—inseparable.

Fortunately, farm organizations are addressing this issue.

We require an intense dialogue to get the balance of our production of food with the sustainability of the place of production. Also, the impacts on the environment must be mitigated. Surplus Nitrogen and Phosphorous from manures and chemicals come to mind.

The care of animals is also a major concern for consumers.

Recently, the youngest grandchild (three years old), who really got into skiing was complaining about the clunky downhill ski boot which he dubbed “robot boots.”

“I am not a robot,” he said. “I don’t have a robot head, and don’t have a robot body, just robot boots.”

I trust he will understand that the horse and rider are one and that is a good metaphor for humans’ relationship to nature that sustains us.

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CaribooWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emergency crews respond to a structural fire on Highway 97 between Williams Lake and Quesnel on Friday, April 16. (Photo submitted)
Update: Famous Cariboo carver Ken Sheen’s wood shop destroyed by fire

The shop was located between Williams Lake and Quesnel

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

The proposed renovations at the Quesnel Rec Centre. (CRD Drawing)
CRD approves Quesnel pool referendum date

Voters will be asked to approve borrowing $20 million to upgrade Quesnel Rec Centre

CNC’s Applied Research and Innovation had partnered with the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cariboo Agricultural Research Alliance and Mackin Creek Farm after receiving funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to research a number of solutions potentially extending northern growing seasons. (Photo submitted)
Ways to extend growing season in B.C.’s north explored by College of New Caledonia in Quesnel

Low-cost supplemental LED lighting appears to benefit plant growth

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read