We live inches from the ocean, but in the opposite direction, it’s all cowboy country. It’s where we went yesterday, to walk a new little trail.
It was short, but steep, so at the top was that view we can get around here: half ocean, half valley. I’m always glad for the people who took the long, long wagon trains out here and got to perch themselves on these summits. They earned the scenery.
It was coming down the trail on some very dodgy, dusty dirt that I thought about the women making those journeys. I wondered how they walked trails like this in dresses like those. In dresses and pettitcoats. And ankle boots without tread.
I know packing space was tight, most of it probably reserved for food and important stuff. It probably just made sense to wear your wardrobe instead of using up valuable cargo space. (Anyone who travels by plane and aims to limit themselves to carry on luggage understands it.) And maybe it was no big deal, a non-issue even, as long as the wagon was rolling along on the flat plains.
It’s the other trails that I’m interested in. The ones full of jutting rocks and treacherous material and hidden dangers. On those trails, I’m sure they could have found a few nooks and crannies in the wagon to plug up with all that dress if our pioneer woman could have whipped it off. If she could have turned to her husband or traveling partner and said, ‘Hey! Hey, Virgil.’
He might have said: Yes, Maude?
‘No way, Virgil. I’m not doing it. No. Way. We’re scaling these mountains, we’re gonna wobble and stumble across these hills? I’m not doing it in this get up. And don’t even talk to me about modesty and ankle-showing.’
‘Maude,’ he’d have winced in protest.
‘Hey Virgil? Fuck that shit.’
That would’ve been a really good fashion statement.