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About Doug Gustafson



Which Way the Wind is Blowing

As we go down lifeís long trail
So many choices come our way,
A life planned out or left to chance
Circumstances come into play.

Some are happy with confines
Secure and safe with habits cast,
Get a job and buy a house
Before you know it time has past.

Tunes are blasting, changing lanes
The cars ahead are slowing,
Trafficís bad, youíre unaware
Which way the wind is blowing.

Fascination deep inside
Donít let them snuff it out,
Pursue that dream that makes you tick
Thatís what itís all about.

Itís not too late to make that change
And leave it all behind,
Chase that dream youíve buried deep
Afraid what you might find?

Called old Bill, a friend from yore
Whoís not so smart as you,
Been punching cows and riding broncs
And soaking up the view.

Of lifeís vast riches heís half broke,
Is going through your mind,
Yet heís the one whoís satisfied
Canít argue with his kind.

Iíve been invited on this drive
The air is crisp and clear,
Half past dark and breakfast done
Weíre grabbing all our gear.

The wear and tear my saddle shows
In the still dim light,
It doesnít add with what theyíve seen
Iím not much in their sight.

A guy from town, a shiny car,
New creases in my jeans,
Theyíre not so sure of who I am
I live beyond their means.

The horse Iíve got, heís big and stout
Some taller than the rest,
Heís not a plug, heís got some spunk
Heíll put me to the test.

I saddle up, he feels my foot
He looks back at my face,
He shies away, I use the spin
To swing me into place.

A steady hand, a little spur
He starts to walk straight out,
This horse is quick to figure
What his riderís all about.

The gallery of faces Ďround
Are not so sure, it seems,
The juryís out, thereís still some doubt
More evidence they need.

They pair me up with my old pard
Just like our younger days,
With not a clue the miles Iíve logged
While gathering up the strays.

They send us to the farthest ridge
To start the circle back,
We strike out in the long trot
Along a well worn track.

The sun comes up, the hills pure gold
Still takes my breath away,
Iíve really missed this kind of work
Looked forward to this day.

We find some pairs and start them back
Then climb the ridge for more,
We catch up on each otherís news
And pranks weíve pulled before.

I feel the breeze blow on my face
There is some comfort knowing
A slower pace, I am aware
Which way the wind is blowing.

We bring them in, one breaks away
Iím not expecting praise,
I turn her back into the herd
I see an eyebrow raise.

A fair day's work, is what they say
We could use a hand,
Itís awful tempting to say yes
And sign up for the brand.

Although this life is wonderful
The payís not half my wage,
The desert high and lonesome,
Tumbleweed and sage,

But thereís my house right on the lake
Where cool breezes blow,
The craziness of city life,
Howís a guy to know.

Iíve seen the best of these two worlds
Thereís still no way of knowing,
Iíve searched my soul to try and see
Which way the wind is blowing.

© 2016, Doug Gustafson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's  permission.


This poem is included in the 2016 Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur.





    About Doug Gustafson:
provided 2016

Doug Gustafson grew up on a ranch in Washington State where his family raised Angus cattle and Arabian and Appaloosa horses. He worked as a cowboy for Isenhart Livestock Company, the ICBar, in Ferndale Washington, a purebred Charolais cow/calf outfit. He also raised steers and then cows and calves. His brand is the Rocking G.

He is a past member of the Nooksack Valley Riders, the Ferndale FFA Boosters Club and the Everson Junior Rodeo Association. He barbecues beef and pork for groups up to 1200 people.

He is also a pencil artist and founder of Enveloped In Art LLC, due to start operation in early May of 2016 at




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