My pre-school granddaughter finishes her drawing and carefully prints a crayola signature. Eyes shining, she hands me her masterpiece–a bright yellow sun, a lumpy white cloud, two strange orange flowers, and an enormous purple rabbit. Drawn almost exactly the way she draws cats, I know instantly it’s a rabbit. I can tell by its ears.
When I was her age, I used to hope people would like my drawing. But first, I hoped they wouldn’t have to ask me what I’d drawn.
Breathless, my granddaughter awaits my approval. I know she’s wondering if she’s going to have to tell me what her subject is.
“My,” I say. “That’s a nice bunny.”
She rewards my critique with a smile, bright as her yellow sun. My granddaughter has shared her art with me, and a bit of her soul.
We never outgrow our need to share.
Our passions become pastimes, hobbies, and careers. They give pleasure and meaning to our lives. Like my granddaughter, we like to show others our skills and talents. We seek out people who share our interests–Cajun cooking, scary movies, classic cars, the Dallas Cowboys, golf.
I have a friend who loves the classic aircraft of World War I–the Niewports, the Spads, de Havillands, Fokkers, and all the other fledgling warplanes that paved the way for today’s Migs, Eurofighters, Raptors, and Lightnings.
My friend posts pictures of aircraft on Facebook. He shares photos and videos of the planes with other enthusiasts, and he delights in watching the restored warbirds in flight.
Other friends love music. They listen to Mozart, Bach, Springsteen, Willie, Waylon, U2. Some perform music themselves. They play violin, piano, and cello, harmonica, guitar, and accordian. They sing. Their passion is music, and they love to share their passion.
My own passion came early.
When I was my granddaughter’s age, I turned from drawing bunnies to drawing and writing about cowboys and Indians, horses and cattle, “mean men” and heroes. My love for all things western became a way of life and a career, and it hasn’t changed or lessened in the better part of a century.
I still delight in sharing my passion–with kindred spirits, the merely curious, or anyone who’ll let me.
I love to write about the sights and sounds that lift my spirits–horses running free in red rock country, the sharp smell of bruised sage, and of dust in a sun-baked corral. I like to tell about the patter of raindrops on a bunkhouse roof, of smoke and dreams rising into the night sky through the smoke flaps of a tepee, and of cowboys telling tales both tall and true by firelight.
I share because I care. About the West, its history, its people, and its values.
I always will.