I’ve always been drawn to leather. In ranch life, so much important stuff is made of leather: boots, saddles, bags, belts, gloves, chaps, vests, coats. Along with sagebrush, cut hay, and horse sweat, leather is the dominant smell of my growing up years. Now, as pictured above, two of my most common daily use items are made of fine leather (along with the chair I wrote about in a recent essay).
The title track of the latest album from Texas artist (and now global country star) Cody Johnson is called “Leather”. Penned by the also superlatively talented Ian Munsick, the course contains this beautiful metaphor:
You can bend him, but you can't break him
It takes years of work and dirt and hurt to make him
When the whole world falls apart, he'll hold together
That's how you know that a cowboy's made of leather
(Be sure to watch the lyric video on YouTube)
As many of Cody’s (and Ian’s) songs do, this one touched me deeply and made me think and reflect. This metaphor of being like leather came at a perfect time. Life in the past couple of years has been both blissfully abundant and wildly unpredictable. I used to say that I’ve grown a lot from all of this. That’s true. But I’ve also become more pliable in some ways and stiffened in others.
This is a bit binary, but I believe that the heart should be soft and supple - think broken-in work gloves. And the mind should be tough and stiffened - think saddle leather.
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