Farm Boy

Farm Boy | Ellensburg, WA | 2013

To my eye, he had all the markings of a rough-cut country teen: worn jeans, faded western shirt, scuffed work boots. But his hat didn’t fit the stereotype. It was narrow-brimmed, quite stylish, with a fresh red rose tucked in the band. He’d left his girl in the cheap seats at the Ellensburg Rodeo and was headed to the concession stand as evening sun ricocheted off a nearby metal building. The farm boy flinched, surprised by the reflected blast, and immediately doffed his hat to stir the air. He looked intently at the rose , then recited — yes, he recited — a short poem:

“She walks in beauty, like the night / All that’s best of dark and bright.”

Huh? Backlit by reflected radiance, a farm boy blurts lines from Lord Byron? Not your typical rodeo event.