The White Sands

The White Sands of August Rising, Tio Roping

The retreat of an ancient sea left a great layer of pure white sand across a vast stretch from the Laguna Madre to the Rio Grande. The closer to the coast, the whiter the sand. The cloak of white sand rising up from the boiling herd indicates August, when windmills are still and the heat relentless. As I recall this day, my ears ring with the deafening sound of the herd. Cows calling their calves, shoving one another in a sea of red hides under the white dust.

This is an image of Tio roping on “Tacho San,” a gelding by Mr. San Peppy, out of a Rey del Rancho mare from Laureles. We called him “Big Wheels,” he could read a cow, had a long stride, a smooth stop and enough strength that Tio could easily drag the full grown cows to have their horns trimmed. The healers caught her hind feet in one swift motion. Young cowboys leapt to hold her head and saw her horns to free her skull from being pierced.

As a finale to the day, they rode her back into the herd to the “gritos” of the elder stockmen as the brilliant summer sun dropped over the distant sand dunes.