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Milling Cattle

Milling Cattle

Frank Reaugh, Milling Cattle (24 Hours #6), 1931, drawing : pastel on masonite, 61.0 x 121.8 x 0.5 cm.

“All through the gray morning watch, the one cowboy. . . . rides just without the whirling circle of the frantic milling herd. The mad pace grows slower at last, but it seems long hours before. . . . came the welcome shouts of other men. Then he can withdraw a little to one side and rest his drooping horse. . . . Long lances of light shoot up to the zenith and presently the sun breaks through its veil of cloud and glints. . . . on the rocky crowns of the hills and tips with rosy light the mighty dust cloud that rises from the valley. The pace of the milling cattle grows ever slower until at last it is controlled. The milling ceases. The stampede is stopped.

“Up in the silent canyon, so lately filled with uproarious life, lie seventy-three dead cattle and two horses and cowboys crushed into unrecognizable shapes. A meadow lark sings. The sparrow’s twitter becomes a hymn of ecstasy and praise. The cottonwood trembles and whispers in the morning breeze and breaks into glory in the morning sun, but they in the canyon have passed beyond its narrow limits to the grander heights and fairer plains across the great divide.”

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