- Christie Bonham
A Walk With the Wild
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
Imagine a world where our humanely problems don't exist. There is no such thing as a global pandemic, social inequalities, political upheaval, war, mass shootings, lack of housing, the homeless and the jobless. Imagine it, and walk with me. Out onto the range of the Onaqui, Utah's iconic wild horses. Where time stands still, as it has for almost 300 years.
Here, fathers battle to protect their families. Mothers give birth, nurture, nuzzle and raise their foals with devout affection. Neighbors form brother hoods, aunties help their mothers, and fathers teach their young fillies to run, run like the wind. There is playtime and affection, curiosity and cleverness. The sound of the wind shuffling through the grasses are met with high pitched whinnies, the clickety clack of horse hooves moving across the high desert, and stillness.
When the sun sets and the evening sky rises, the stars come alive with brilliance. Sparkles reflecting the eyes of the Onaqui that lie below. In peaceful solitude they are living free off the land. It is harsh at times, yet balanced and vibrant.
In the summer months the ground is hard and dry. Yet it harvests forage enough to sustain life. Birds, ground squirrels, deer and antelope share this land. As they have for centuries. Mindful neighbors who take turns at the watering hole. They do not take more time than they need, and only what is necessary to sustain themselves and their young. Imagine a world where humans were as good as these thoughtful souls.
Walking into the wild for the first time I had my share of of trepidation. I knew that the government, the part of the world the horses do not understand, has plans for a devastating round up in just a few short weeks. My heart hurt with the realization that what I was about to witness, in all its purity and soulfulness, is on the hinges of collapse. That this herd, now only numbering around 500, will be culled by 80%. Culled is a term the BLM uses to describe their round ups. What I would say the horses would describe as, terrifying, brutal, cruel, and without question, insanity. They will no longer live in sacred beauty as a family, but will be separated forever. Held in captivity, sent to slaughter, abused, neglected, forgotten. Their wildness will be left on the range. An empty range.
A few months ago I was pulled into the world of the wild horse. Reading a Facebook post from a prominent photographer of wild horses, I read about the current issues they were facing. I had heard their story before, but there was a new twist in the plot. One that I simply could not walk away from. So rather than continue in my usual cadence of life, I have chosen to walk with the wild.
Years ago when I worked in the corporate world I had a quote from a magazine I had cut out and taped to my cubicle. It read simply "Nothing worthwhile was ever found on a beaten path". And so I have begun my journey onto an unbeaten path. A path with wild beauty, loyalty, family. One where man is not the ruler of all things, but nature is. I will walk with them as long as I can, and speak out on their behalf.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you and hope that you too may find the calling of the wild. Perhaps your ready to step away, and into there world if only for a bit. A world that is still alive and well. Where your heart and mind can explore and be filled with their magnificence, their magic and their infinite wisdom. For now, they are still a part of this world of nature. Let us take the opportunity to honor that. And work to protect them in their vulnerability. After all, once they are gone, they will be lost forever.
Photo credit: Wild Horse Photos Safaris
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