I sheep herded a few years back and worked for Burtons Livestock, out of Parowan, Utah. I couldn’t wait for lambing season to be over, to move the sheep up on the mountain. For a couple of weeks, I could enjoy the aspen and pine before my job was done. The nights spent up there were always magnificent; a billion stars lit the sky, and the pines sung like rivers. I worked with and enjoyed the company of my friend, Tsosie, a 67 year old Navajo sheepherder. It’s been a few years since I last spoke with him. He had told me to come back and visit him on the mountain sometime, but I never did. He spent his summers up there alone, tending sheep. His family lived in Farmington, New Mexico. His son, Thomas said that he had always worked far from home and would come home to visit, maybe once a year. Tsosie worked for the railroad, worked as a sheepherder for several years in the Uintah Mountains of Northern Utah. Work took him as far as California. He swore a lot, told plenty of dirty jokes, and bragged about the all woman he’d met. He was a great friend, and I should’ve gone and visited him before he quit working for the Burtons.
So I wander about my friend… Is he still sheepherding somewhere out in Nevada? Or is he still in Southern Utah? As I dwell on his absence, it would be nice to speak to him again. There are places that I revisit and explore in those same mountains above Parowan. Tsosie talked a lot about those hills. He was like a monk, always up there with the sheep and that was his lifestyle. All summer long he rarely came off the mountain.