By |Published On: April 16th, 2021|Categories: Zach Kincaid|

Dew covers the ground as the pre-dawn chill rolls in and the loneliest man in the nation stirs from his bed roll on the cold hard ground. A small fire and a cup of coffee begin his day; his horse and a dog are his only companions. His thoughts drift from the task at hand, rounding up strays and pushing the herd safely from the open range and wilderness, to his eventual return to his family and home after the cattle are sent off to market.

His survival is never in question, his self-reliance is like an instinct that drives him ever forward, and nature provides for him and his cattle. From the rolling hills and mountainsides his herd grazes, to the streams abounding with clean water and schools of fish, to the forests teeming with wildlife, the loneliest man utilizes the land’s vast and valuable resources, never questioning his right to do so. His stewardship of the land is on the same level as his commitment to the security and health of the herd he chases.

He does not need philosophical reason or deep pontification to understand that the sustainability of the land he uses is equally as crucial to his seemingly archaic lifestyle as the animals that compose his herd. His continued living hinges on the careful management of the land and wildlife around him, as well as the cattle from which he draws his income. Freedom is not an absent concept in his mind, however it is not necessary for him to worry about abstract concepts such as liberty. He knows instinctually that out here, miles from any society, he is the sole provider for his welfare as well as that of his surroundings.

There are no laws binding his conduct or behavior, as there is no authority to enforce such unnatural constructs. His morality is not shaped by legislators, but by the same creator providing his vast resources and from which he derives his right to live and provide for himself. The loneliest man in the nation digs through his saddlebag, finds a leather pouch filled with tobacco, and rolls himself a cigarette. The day is young and the work is never ending. A puff of smoke drifts from his lips towards the open skies as he saddles his horse. His liberty is derived from his life; both have no fences. He alone controls his destiny.

The freest man in the nation begins another day.


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