My View From The Country

Writing Aloud What I Wouldn’t Say Aloud

As I get older, I notice a change in my perspective. Some of my edgier friends might refer to it as a feminization of my thought process, though the women in my life would probably call it growing wiser.

I'm not the sort who likes to share my feelings in person; it’s easier for me in my writing. In fact, I once almost quit a men’s group because I wasn’t comfortable sharing at the level they expected. Truth be told, 98% of all my conversation is probably devoted to cattle, horses, sports, politics, current events or the weather – things that don’t necessitate a whole lot of introspection.

I admit, however, that as I get older, I notice a change in my perspective. Some of my edgier friends might refer to it as a feminization of my thought process, though the women in my life would probably call it growing wiser. They’re probably both right.

In actuality, I think males feel and consider a lot of things that they never express. I think most men are transformed by four main things – faith in God, the love of a good woman they probably don’t deserve, love for their children, and career. For those of us involved in the cattle industry, I’d add a fifth – a love for the land and our animals.

These factors entering your life typically bring a man a whole new level of sobering and exciting responsibility. Maybe that’s why we tend to be hesitant to share our thoughts – because they are the most important things in our lives. I know, for instance, that I’m not very good at expressing or sharing my feelings with my wife. Thus, sharing such thoughts with someone less intimate with me is akin to borderline lunacy in my book.

The kids are a different matter; after all, we all like to brag on our kids. I can say I never really understood the love of a father until I became one. They say it’s an emotion that’s even stronger for mothers. I believe that; a mom’s capacity for giving and sacrifice is unparalleled.

I think the best and worst parts of being a dad is watching your kids grow up and transform before your eyes. It happens too fast, and you want to do it right and not miss any opportunities. But, there are times when you just wish you could stop the whole process, but I wouldn’t trade the wonder of watching their growth for anything.

From a ranching standpoint, I get a similar – yet less intense – feeling every time I walk through the bullpens. We’ve long been committed to not feeding bulls in the typical manner, but I admit getting pangs of regret knowing what these same bulls would look like 200 lbs. heavier. I wonder if I’m not doing them a disservice by not letting them reach their full potential. Then again, I watch them mature and change almost daily. Just like with the kids, you know the potential; you just hope others do as well.

In the end, it’s simply about transformation. At the end of a day, I want to be able to say that I did right by those things that truly matter, and that my priorities are aligned. Of course, everyone’s life has a “harvest time,” a time where a shift in priorities is required by the conditions on the ground.

I have often wondered if others share thoughts similar to mine. Do we all face the same challenges and struggles, and some folks just merely deal with them better? Or, are we all so unique that everyone’s experience is vastly different? Either way we probably would learn a lot from another’s perspective.

With that said, I had better get back to work. And, if we meet down the way, I’d like to apologize in advance for us probably just talking about cows, horses, politics or the weather.

Discuss this Blog Entry 6

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 24, 2012

I'm not sure I understand this part of your essay:
"We’ve long been committed to not feeding bulls in the typical manner, but I admit getting pangs of regret knowing what these same bulls would look like 200 lbs. heavier. I wonder if I’m not doing them a disservice by not letting them reach their full potential. Then again, I watch them mature and change almost daily. Just like with the kids, you know the potential; you just hope others do as well."

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 24, 2012

I find it interesting that you consider some of those thoughts to be "feminine" (as opposed to masculine). I would suggest that your view of appropriate masculine thinking and behaviour needs to be considered by you as you continue your introspection.

John Dundas (not verified)
on Feb 24, 2012

I could not agree with you more Troy.I have reached the Harvest stage and after a winter on Hawaii we are heading Home to Alberta to calve our cow herd for the last time.A lot of mixed feelings I can assure you.Meanwhile if we ever meet we can talk about cattle,dogs, horsesand allthose other real important things.
John

James Adams (not verified)
on Feb 24, 2012

We are all going to have to start speaking up if we are going to protect our private property rights. We are also going to have to start seeking office if for no other reason than to keep some crazy person from sitting in that same chair.

Radicals don't have to be the majority. They only have to have an environment where everybody else just sits by and watches it happen.

Continuing educational reading helps too. Chapter Two of the Communist Manifesto is a good start. Learning Thomas Jefferson's quote: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
Reading "Masters of Deceit" by J. Edgar Hoover and "The God That Failed" by six ex-communists and "The Law" by Bastiat, a short and powerful 75 page book that is 160 years old.
Contemplating how wealth is created helps. It comes from the development of our natural resources in minerals, plants and animals. This shows that private property rights are critical to wealth and job creation.

It helps to notice that legislation that creates a "public interest" in private property creates a "public communal interest" in private property that allows out-of-state NGOs to sue us for how we use our own property, shut coal mining down, feedlots and the like.

It also helps to realize that our rights are fundamental precisely because they are given by God and only enumerated in, not created by, the Constitution. Removing God from government and schools creates an environment in which fundamental rights are no longer recognized. After that, Harvard and Kagan's balancing of interests test takes over.

Lastly, a review of history shows that no nation becomes or remains a world power without the present ability to manufacture more heavy war machines than can the enemy. Agriculture is key to supporting that capacity to keep us safe in a hostile world.

Allison Florance (not verified)
on Feb 26, 2012

Just like your kids, bulls, cows, calve etc. I would hope that we all change (grow) and become "better" in whatever ways we can. By getting up and taking on the day, doing the best we can, making and fixing mistakes, learning from them, and at the end of the day,"letting go and letting God". Sleeping well at night and getting up, making an active decision that this will be a good day and and doing it all again the next day. There is just nothing better than that. And I certainly hope that if we meet, we will talk about your family, cows, horses, politics or the weather.

on Dec 25, 2012

I encourage everyone like you to run for these offices because we the majority are already being controlled by the minorities who do no have a gauge for the cost and effort of the few who are in the trenches of natural resources work who keep this country going. America is not centered around suburban luxuries but by the under appreciated work by hardworking Americans like you fine people. At 24 years of age I know the issue is not what America has become but where we are going. Please be the voices to help preserve your children's children's future. GOD bless and Merry Christmas!!

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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