I was a teenager in a time when a giant cell phone in a leather bag was the latest in communication technology.

My parents would unplug it from the cigarette lighter in their minivan and detach the giant magnetic antenna from the roof only for me to reassemble the configuration in my 1983 Ford LTD before heading out to a football game with instructions to call before I left town.

This meant, of course, parking in one of the four hilltop locations that had cell service, dialing the rubber buttons and hollering through the static my intent on hitting the highway.

Last night I saddled up my sorrel gelding, called the dog along, and the three of us went for a ride up to the fields where I could get a good look at the trees changing colors without worrying about cow chasing or keeping quiet because we’re scoping for elk.

Sometimes a girl has to make it a point to exist here her own way, and it was nice just being out on a lazy horse, singing to myself and plodding along the way I’ve always done.

To the east, my husband was dressed in head-to-toe camouflage, trying his best to look like a tree while he gripped his bow and watched for that herd of elk we’ve had our eye on for a few weeks.

Because sometimes a boy just has to be alone out there in order to get in touch with his primal instincts.

Or something like that.

I found it sort of nice that we could both be so content in our separate existences in the hills that evening, so far away from street lights and traffic and distractions that make us human.

I was feeling the kind of alone that makes me feel capable.

And then the little 2-by-5-inch gadget in the pocket of my snap shirt beeped, indicating that someone out there in the world needed to tell me something, reminding that I hadn’t completely detached.

Across the fence line, under the cover of the thick brush, Husband’s heart was pounding and the sun was beginning to set. He reached into his backpack because he didn’t want me to worry. He was tracking an elk, and if it got dark on him, he might need me to bring the pickup to where the four-wheeler died and get him home.

“OK,” I replied. “Keep me posted.”

And then I put the gadget back in my pocket and laughed to myself.

Texting and riding? Well, that was a new one.

It occurred to me then that from the back of my horse on the top of a hill, I could connect to anywhere in the world. In fact, I had just snapped a photo of the dog and sent it out via Instagram. And just like that those connected with me not only knew exactly what I was doing but could share in my view.

Fifteen years ago I wouldn’t have imagined it. Because, well, there was no way to attach the magnetic antenna to a horse.

I could get nostalgic here and wonder what this world is coming to, and some days I do. Some days I want to throw this little gadget into the stock dam and forget about it. Some days I miss that Ford LTD.

But what a thing to be able to show you the view from that hilltop!

What a thing to share in the thrill of my husband’s hunt and then save him from a long, dark walk home swarmed by mosquitoes.

What a thing to know that I have my friends and family and all the questions I could ask answered at my fingertips.

What a thing to remember that a girl and a boy have the choice on how to exist out here – in our own way.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live