Tribute to Mariah

6 10 2018

This post is specially for my friend Roy Garner, who grew up with his family in Disappointment Valley. He still visits a couple of times a year, to see the area and the mustangs. Roy is in his very fit 80s, and until recently, he was still trimming and shoeing horses. Love you, Roy!


Thursday in Durango, Colorado, Dave Stamey was the headline performer for the opening night of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, now in its 30th year (!).

Regular readers of this blog will know that every now and then, I quote Dave Stamey lyrics to go along with some photo of Spring Creek Basin and/or its mustangs.

Dave Stamey simply is the best cowboy singer/songwriter in the Western universe. That ain’t opinion, folks; that’s pure, simple fact. πŸ™‚ (The mustangs know it, too. I like to sing (poorly, I’m afraid, though they’ve never complained) Dave Stamey songs to them while sitting in the sunshine and breeze while they graze and nap, especially my favorite songs, “Sunrise” and “The Circle.”)

Thursday night, one of the first songs he performed was a “classic,” meaning, in part, that he hadn’t written it (he writes true-to-hard-gritty-dirty-(and-sometimes-romantic-and-sometimes-hilarious)-life cowboy songs as only someone who lives the life can write).

This is where the tribute to Mariah – and my friend Roy – comes in.

He sang “They Call the Wind Maria,”* which is the song behind Roy’s naming of Mariah when she was a bitty babe, seen first by Roy during one of his spring visits to Spring Creek Basin.

Later, between shows (friend and fellow advocate Kat Wilder paid for my tickets as my birthday present – thank you, Kat!), we talked to Dave, and I thanked him for singing “They Call the Wind Mariah,” telling him that we have a mustang named Mariah … named for that very song.

“They Call the Wind Maria”

Maria, Maria
They call the wind Maria

Way out here they got a name
For rain and wind and fire
The rain is Tess, the fire’s Joe
And they call the wind Maria

Maria blows the stars around
And sends the clouds a-flyin’
Miriam makes the mountain sound
Like folks were up there dyin’

Maria, Maria
They call the wind Maria

Before I knew Maria’s name
And heard her wail and whinin’
I had a gal and she had me
And the sun was always shinin’

Then one day I left my girl
I left her far behind me
And now I’m lost so cold and lost
Not even God can find me

Maria, Maria
They call the wind Maria

Out here they got a name
For rain, for wind and fire only
But when you’re lost and all alone
There ain’t no word but lonely

And I’m a lost and lonely man
Without a star to guide me
Miriam, blow my love to me
I need my girl beside me

Maria, Maria
They call the wind Maria
Maria, Maria
Love, my love, pull me

~ Lyrics by Alan Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe


Here, Dave Stamey sings/performs “They Call the Wind Maria” at the historic Henry Strater Theatre at the Strater Hotel on the opening night of the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Durango, Colorado.

If you appreciate the Western way of life exemplified by rich singing, perfect lyrics and masterful guitar playing, check out Dave Stamey. You won’t be disappointed.

*Note on pronunciation, from the above Wikipedia link: “In George Rippey Stewart’s 1941 novel Storm, he names the storm that is the protagonist of his story Maria.[19] In 1947, Stewart wrote a new introduction for a reprint of the book, and discussed the pronunciation of “Maria”: “The soft Spanish pronunciation is fine for some heroines, but our Maria here is too big for any man to embrace and much too boisterous.” He went on to say, “So put the accent on the second syllable, and pronounce it ‘rye’.”


28 04 2013

Mariah in divine light at the end of day.


Houdini and Alegre in the golden gorgeous light of the end of day.

Houdini and Alegre



Grey at the end of day. Love the gold that surrounds him. Magic light.





29 03 2013


Grey/Traveler, center, drinks from a pond with his band, from left: Alegre, Maia, Mariah and Houdini. Water is the most precious resource of all in this high desert region.

She’s a big star

24 03 2013

Mariah and Houdini

Our Mariah, with mama Houdini. She’s big and beautiful, and her first birthday is just a few weeks away.

Like all of Grey/Traveler’s and Houdini’s daughters, she stars as a gorgeous mustang girl!


6 03 2013

Maia and Mariah trotting back to mamas, end of the day.

Maia, in the lead, and Mariah trotting to mamas at the end of a gorgeous day. Note the little bit of snow still on the ground.

Maia and Mariah

In sync.

Mariah and Maia at sunset.

Everyone should end their days in the sun just like this: surrounded in wildness and beauty and the promise of nature.

Another three

2 03 2013

Grey, Houdini and Mariah.

These three are part of Grey/Traveler’s band, which also includes Alegre and Maia.

End-of-the-day gorgeousity. Is there a more beautiful place in the world? You can’t convince me!

22 01 2013

Grey, Mariah and Houdini

Grey/Traveler did his best to bring the girls to me, but wise Houdini wasn’t having any of it. Can you see Mariah’s face greying?

White snow, grey ponies

14 01 2013

A day full of snow would leave a basin full of snow, you’d think – and you’d be right! Such interesting climate zones in Disappointment Valley. Some snow in the lower, broader valley; lots of snow higher as the valley narrows to the east-southeast. It all means moisture for the horses and deer and elk and coyotes and bobcats and other critters that call the valley home.

Someone told me the other day that he saw “a big tom” (bobcat) on a newborn calf – bovine, not wapiti. I’m not sure what surprised me most: a calf born at this time of year (or that the cow still is here) or a bobcat! I’ve seen one in the basin, way too quick for photos, after a rabbit. I’m not sure about the rabbit, but the bobcat got away (from me)!

Mariah, Houdini, Alegre, Maia

Mariah, Houdini, Alegre and Maia.


Grey/Traveler. He could do with a little more fat on his old bones, but he looks pretty hearty.

The temperature ranged from 12 to 17 degrees, according to the Jeep, while I was in the basin. After snowing all day, it stopped for an hour or two, then picked up again around sunset.

Yes, they’re all grey. πŸ™‚

Growing, flowing with the wind

12 12 2012

The header for the blog features Mariah and Houdini,Β Gaia, Alegre, Aurora and Corona. I got to looking at it, and how tiny baby Mariah looks … and what a big girl she now is! Decided ya’ll would like to see a pic of the girl. It’s from a few weeks ago, an evening visit with stunning light.


Red girl going grey. Just like a Grey/Traveler daughter: bright, curious, bold. Perfection!

If the world ends today – 12/12/12! – I go happy to have wandered among such wild beauty. πŸ™‚

Grey’s grey girls

16 11 2012

Don’t let the babies’ shades fool you – they’re all grey!

Mariah reminds me a lot of Gemma (a big sister who was adopted last year). Beautiful and bold. Maia is much more shy. A lot of her daddy (Bounce) in her.

Lovely last light on lovely girls.