The photo that inspired this drawing and the accompanying poem titled 'Reason To Persevere' was taken by my sister, Jaimie Robach, on the Bar S Ranch in Northwestern Arizona. The young child standing outside of the water trap gate is her daughter, Brooklynne, who is watching her father, Shane, working the wild cattle. When I saw this photograph it really touched a cord deep inside me. Here was a young cowgirl watching and waiting until the day she could work the cattle as her mother and father do and as her ancestors have done for many generations before her, but… will this way of life remain until the time her own children will be standing at the gate watching her?
The original photograph was taken in black and white and I wanted to give my rendition the feel of a cherished, time-worn family photograph that had been passed down through the generations and lovingly preserved and retouced by the family’s desire to persevere in their Western tradition. If you look at the young girl’s shadow you will see the image of a grown cowgirl tipping her hat; a reflection of what the little girl wishes to be.
A water trap can be a slow process: searching for a box canyon suitable for such a trap, hauling water to remote areas, hauling in scraps of wood and metal to slowly construct the fencing and getting the wild cattle used to more and more of human trappings as they come in for an easy source of water, then, waiting for more and more wild cattle to become accustomed to and use the new watering hole. And, many times, the hit and miss of finally catching them. I know the perseverance it takes, the small monetary payoff yet the uncountable rewards of finally succeeding as a family effort. To see the joy in the younger children’s faces as they play and pretend that they themselves are working the cattle is truly a reason for any western family to persevere.
Jennifer M. Ward copyright 2008