Watch the restless swallows come and go
on the power line to Tuscarora.
Some avian law explains the way
birds leave space between one another.
Instinct decrees distance between hawks
hunched on poles beside the Midas Road
and tells peregrine falcons to nest
at least two miles from other raptors.
What of the ranchers who inhabit
the range below? From an eagle’s view
above the plain, distance makes sense:
what the high desert land can sustain.
A question remains. Does distance breed
those disinclined to be near their kind?
The trails of truck dust on country roads
show the miles folks go to help each other.
Not everyone is meant for this place.
Generations who stay find solace
in silence, comfort in kindred souls,
God in the sunsets and the space.
Nancy Harris McLelland taught creative writing, composition, and literature for over twenty years and Conducted writing workshops for the Western Folklife Center, Great Basin College , and the Great Basin Writing Project . An Elko County native with a background in ranching. McLelland has presented her "Poems from Tuscarora" Both at daytime and evening events at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. Her essay, "Border Lands: Cowboy Poetry and the Literary Canon" is in the anthology Cowboy Poetry Matters .