Mack had asked his father once about Lakeville, why the town was called that, when there was no lake anywhere around here. The man had laughed and slapped his son on the back. “Sometimes you just got to trust there was one, at one time.”
His father visited him just once in Montana. They’d taken the horses out for a ride in the early evening, down by the river that flowed through the back of his stepfather’s property. In his mind Mack could still see the slate of river rocks as they caught the setting sun—quartz chips looking like diamonds for as far as they could see.
“Feels bigger than Texas even,” his father had said.
“Yes sir,” Mack had answered, hoping, as a young boy would, that his father would like it there, like it well enough to visit again.
“I don’t know how you people live with all this,” he said, gesturing to the rugged Rockies that claimed the boundaries of the ranch. “It demands too much of a person.”
Mack had felt tears but shoved them down. He’d gone home and written a song about it, his first original lyrics, penned on the butcher-paper cover of a junior high social studies textbook.
Reaching into the back pocket of his jeans, Mack eased out a folded, $3 roadmap. He’d charted his course from South Texas to Nashville last year. He’d folded and unfolded the map so many times that the folds were beginning to deepen and soften.
Mack had learned a few lessons in his years, one of which is that time could have character and integrity, and time could have neither. Time could bless you with people and places, and it could leave you with the cheated feeling of sealed windows that won’t open on a breezy spring day. He wasn’t sure yet what his time in Lakeville was going to mean. He wasn’t sure from day to day if staying on here was worth it, but he also wasn’t sure he could leave.
But Mack did know he could somehow find his way through music, that songs could say what people couldn’t. Music was the one thing, perhaps, that was beyond words yet could still be heard.
He folded the map back again, taking his time with the creases, and tucked it in his pocket. Then he whistled for Tick, and walked back toward the house.
Kathy Lynn Harris is the author of two novels: Blue Straggler, a former Amazon #1 bestseller in three categories, and the award-winning A Good Kind of Knowing. In addition, Kathy has written magazine and newspaper articles, an online column on mountain living, short fiction, essays and really bad poetry. Her work has also appeared in numerous published anthologies. In April 2013, Kathy will release her third children’s book, Higgenbloom and the Dancing Grandmas. Kathy grew up in a South Texas ranching family, but made the move from Texas to the Colorado Rockies in 2001 to focus on her writing and soak up All Things Mountain. Kathy’s blog, You Can Take the Girl Out of Texas, But …, can be found on her website, kathylynnharris.com. She lives west of Denver in a haunted (she’s sure of it!) 1920s cabin with her husband, son and two fairly untrainable golden retriever mixes.
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