The smell of the prairie sage as it fell to the blades of the tractor infused my nostrils and my memories and Rio was behind me, following in the trail of the new-mown grasses, patiently waiting for the treat he always knew was in my pocket once the chores were done.
His spirit swirled around me as the dust rose up in front of me, enveloping me in the dry northwest Texas air in August. Once, I overturned a clod of grass to discover one of his last piles of horse apples, still slightly green because it has been protected from the sun by the 18 inch grasses that have not been grazed nor mown since April. I told my sister about it, and she became teary eyed. Who gets sentimental over horse shit? We both did, wondering how it could have been protected these past few hot and dry months, only to surprise me in a vulnerable moment when I had been breathing in Rio's essence along with the dust and the sage.