Three weeks! Had it really been that long?
It was time, she thought with a deep breath. She was healed. Lifting her face up to the sunshine, she realized how good she actually felt. Deep down good. A sense of well being, of strength and happiness surged inside of her.
It was nice.
After months of anger and bitterness, this was nice.
Better than nice!
She was at peace.
It was time to spread her wings once more. To test the world and open her eyes to the possibilities. Time to breathe fresh air. Time to live again.
Samantha looked around at the ranch hands she’d grown to love over the past three weeks. They were all good men and she enjoyed talking with them, laughed at their teasing banter and, as the cook, she sincerely loved making wholesome, nutritious meals for them each day.
But she also acknowledged that she was acting like a coward, afraid of living life, afraid of being hurt again. This wasn’t living. This was cowering and she was stronger than that. She needed to get out and experience the world a bit more. For three weeks, she’d been hiding in this kitchen and loving her job, but it wasn’t enough. Not any longer.
Making meals for the crew that worked on the DeBron Ranch was wonderful, and she prayed that she never had to go back to being an accountant again but she really did need to step outside of her cocoon. Maybe get a bit of vitamin D. Samantha laughed at herself as she tucked the breakfast leftovers into the fridge. She’d never cowered in her life, but after…
No! She wasn’t looking back. Only forward. That was the vow she’d made months ago and so far, it had worked.
Life on the DeBron ranch had been exactly what she’d needed. Her time here had given her a safe place to heal, to find solace, and repair her wounded heart. She’d spent so many years going to school, studying to become an accountant, and now that she was away from that life, away from the pressures of the corporate world, she knew that she hated accounting. She hated working in an office, competing to get projects finished faster, more accurately, to get the better tasks, to buy the best clothes, and all of the other superficial competitions she’d wrapped herself in during her previous life.
She was free now. And sincerely enjoying her job. Cooking had always been her passion. Now she had dozens of men complimenting her, thanking her for her efforts. No one had ever thanked her for doing their accounting or saving them money on their taxes. Clients had hired her firm and moved on once the accounting activities were finished, she was paid a salary, and as far as her supervisors had been concerned, that was all the recognition she needed.
These days, after just about every meal, at least one of the ranch hands politely thanked her for her cooking. And every one of them tipped their hats or nodded their heads when she walked by…simply out of respect! It was so different here! Montana was…happiness!
There was that word again. Happiness. Such a strange word. So startling. So…foreign!
Yes, she realized, she was finally happy. It was a staggering thought!
Stepping further outdoors, she lifted her face up to the glorious sunshine. It was an amazing spring morning and she had a full hour before she needed to start preparing for the lunch rush. Taking a deep breath, she nodded her head. Yes, it was time to live a little.
Getting into her car, she turned right instead of left at the entrance to the DeBron Ranch. She had no idea how big this operation was, but she knew she wanted to get away from her job and relax.
She drove for fifteen minutes, looking at all the land, the open spaces, and the beautiful mountains in the distance. Montana was one of those gorgeous states that never failed to make her soul sing with happiness and wonder.
After driving several miles, she carefully pulled off the road, spotting at a group of trees about fifty yards away. From this distance, it looked like the perfect place. A pretty creek was running down from the mountains, surrounded by birch trees and evergreen bushes. There was a rock right there, perched above the water. Stepping out of her car, she looked around, worried that this might be someone’s land and she was trespassing. But as her eyes surveyed the horizon, there didn’t appear to be another soul for miles! It was exhilarating and a touch intimidating to be this alone in the world. Having come from Washington, D.C., she’d never known that a place this isolated existed except in storybooks.
There wasn’t even a plane flying overhead!
Silence. No traffic, no horns, no cell phones, no boss yelling from her office demanding a report or the status on a deadline. Just the faint sound of the wind blowing through the tall grass and leaves.
It was almost as if she could hear the sun shining!
Samantha simply stood there beside her car for several minutes, not thinking, not feeling, and not caring. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on absorbing the silence, the warmth of the sunshine, and the amazing feeling of just…being.
With a deep breath, she carefully picked her way through the tall grass, walking towards her chosen oasis. The birch trees seemed to be clapping at her approach, the leaves dancing in the sunlight, and the sound of the water rushing through the creek bed made her smile with anticipation.
When she stood by the creek, the rock she’d spotted from her car turned out to be larger, flatter, than she’d originally anticipated. Sitting down, she found the sun had warmed the stone and she curled her legs up while her eyes took in the beauty around her.
This was the kind of scene that people craved, but rarely ever found.
Lying back, she rested her head against the flat rock and stared up at the sky. The sun was warming up the air, slowly eliminating the chill from the previous night while the warmth from the flat rock finished thawing the last, tiny piece of frozen anger and resentment from her past.
The small town of Jefferson, Montana was slowly easing the cold that had arrested her soul for too long. The warmth of the townspeople, the compliments from the men who devoured her meals, and the gentle heat of the Montana sunshine all helped to push her miserable, hurtful past out of her mind.
Her alarm beeped, indicating that she needed to get back to the ranch, to her kitchen, so she could start getting ready for lunch. Samantha’s body protested, but she promised herself that she’d return to this spot. This had felt good, Samantha thought. Liberating. Cleansing.
Grabbing her keys from the ground where she’d tossed them before sitting down, she was just about to get up when she spotted the horse and rider galloping in the distance. The image was so startling that she stopped in her tracks, her body frozen, her mind taking in the enormous man and his horse. Staring at him, she was struck by the power in which he rode his horse, the confidence in his shoulders, and the gentle way he controlled the animal.