I knew the sight and feeling of death all too well. My parents were murdered when I was ten years young. Both sets of grandparents raised me at different stages of my life. Soon, they would all die off leaving only my grandpa by himself to guide me and help me on the ranch through his fighting battle with cancer.
When my parents were murdered, my grandparents who ran the ranch, shipped me across the world to my grandparents in a town just outside of Schwerin, Germany. They said this was the only option I had until things “settled down.”
For two years, I was forced to live in a foreign country under a different name pretending to be a different girl. I lived without my horses, my dogs, my cows, my grandpa and the only life I knew on the ranch. At ten years old, I had to grow up and mature quickly. I had to deal with the death of my parents, while knowing that I had inherited a large amount, of not just money, but land, cows and horses. After having lived in Schwerin for just two days, I already knew I had to do something. I knew my purpose was to live and run the ranch that was now mine.
Some could say I ran away from Germany, others would say I made a wise business decision, but ultimately, I was just trying to survive. For two years while living in Germany, I created a plan. I studied hard in school, but secretly studied harder about business, ranching, agriculture and real estate. On a Monday, I packed everything in my backpack and pretended to go to school, but instead got a cab to take me to the airport and flew home. My grandpa already knew my plan, so when the call from Germany came through, he smoothed it over real quick!
It’s only been nearly one year since my grandpa’s death. We never had any bad encounters with wolves while he was alive. In fact, I hardly remember seeing any presence of wolves until grandpa’s death.
The night I drove home from the hospital after he was taken from me, there was a wolf creeping around my dog pens. When I flashed my headlights on him, he ran. Shortly after that, I begin noticing more signs of them and now, again they have murdered more of my livestock and innocent animals. For thrill or for game, I am not sure. What I am sure of, is they were sending us a message of some kind.
As Yote and I stood staring at the dead carcasses, we both knew we had to take action.
“Yote,” I say, “What are we going to do?”
“These wolves don’t know who they’re messing with.”
“Well, what is it that you suggest we do? I mean, how do we even find them?” I ask.
“When I say these wolves don’t know who they’re messing with, it is clear that they do not realize who you are.”
“What do you mean who I am?”
“They don’t know who your family is. But, they really don’t know who your grandpa is,” Yote states.
“But Yote, how could they not know? Grandpa has only been gone for a year. How could they not see me before, I don’t understand.”
“No, these are younger wolves. Lone wolves, we’ll call it. They have no respect. They are ruthless and they won’t just kill these animals, they will kill you,” Yote says in a very stern voice.
“They’ll kill me?”
“Yes! They will pack. They will hunt you down, stalk you, then when you step off your horse, they will get you,” Yote responds.
“So, what is our next move?” I ask.
“We are going to go back to the house. You are going to shower and rest. Jimmy and I will take care of Moon and everything else. That’s what you pay him for right?” as he starts to chuckle.
“What are you going to do with the bodies Yote? Can you bury them for me?”
“Yes. I will have Jimmy bring the tractor. Don’t you worry. You need some sleep.”
We ride back home in silence. As we approach the house Yote turns to me.
“Cowgirl?” he asks.
“Everything will be okay. I promise you.”
“Is it Yote? Is it really going to be okay? Everything around me is DEAD!” my voice heightens and I begin to feel rage. Tears start streaming down my cheeks as I feel like I am going to collapse.
“You need to take a deep breath and get some rest. There has been a lot for you to take in, I understand. But, you must trust in me and you really need to trust nature,” Yote responds as I tie Moon to the hitching post in the barn.
I say nothing and begin to unsaddle Moon.
“Jimmy can take care of Moon, you get in the house and get some rest,” Yote demands.
I allow myself to make a slight smile and turn to go to the house.
“Cowgirl, one more thing.”
“There’s this guy, you may have heard of him…Albert Einstein?” Yote says sarcastically.
“Yote, what kind of question is that? I mean of course I’ve heard of Einstein,” I return with an attitude.
“Your grandpa use to always say one of his quotes and that is: Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better!”
BAM! My body gives out. I collapse, falling and blacking out on the dirt floor of the barn.