The drought left the pasture as dusty, dirt colored cement. Huge cracks revealing a depth of at least a couple of feet spread here and there across the barren surface. However, Matthew Hughes prepared for his grim mission, expecting success no matter the difficulty. His friend deserved his full attention this one last time. He looked out upon the barren meadow and blinked back a few tears.
He normally enjoyed his visits back to the family ranch in Oklahoma. Although Matthew’s parents raised him in the grandeur of the Rockies-granola hippies who loved the crisp smell of the evergreens and bluebird days on the fluffy slopes of snow. He enjoyed the best of both worlds as his grandparents and various aunts and uncles lived in Oklahoma from birth on. They maintained the family legacy of ranching established many years before his time.
He lived part time in Colorado with his successful career as a ski racing instructor. In the off months, he spent weeks in Oklahoma, assisting his family with the ranch. Both places would always be home. He wanted his best friend buried close to his home roots, the last place they shared good times. family ranch for the solemn occasion. No other place would do.
|me among beloved evergreens, ironically, I'm highly allergic to them|
This type of thing was happening too often, it already made an indelible mark upon his psyche, and he was unsure he would ever recover from the events of the past few years. Life was making him hard and untrusting. He refused to call it fear, as his feelings were truly not born out of terror. Bravery is actually one of his strongest traits. Being brave is sometimes synonymous with being fearful, if the person is also wise-, which he is.
In the past few years, he lost two friends in a horrific skiing accident, three in car crashes, and one to cancer. Of the six, five were easily avoidable. It was this fact that gave him increased heartache. Being young and carefree does not mean young and careless. If only they had checked the snow conditions, if only they had answered that text later, if only they remembered just how treacherous hairpin turns actually were-they all might still be here. No, damn it, they would all definitely still be here. Their untroubled lives, feigning fledging responsibility for their actions, ended at fourteen, the culmination being the Little League World Series baseball tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. Beyond that, it had been time to grow up and learn about the real world and how to be successful.