Thursday, January 26, 2012

to help me remember

Today is one of those days I'd like to ride my horse through the countryside and just think about landscapes.

I don't get the urge to ride horses very often in the wintertime -- often it seems like a cold, unpleasant chore. A long drive, treacherous roads, numb toes and icy fingers. I've gone almost two months without the motivation to go see my equine friend. He has grown fat and his winter coat has grown long. On really cold days I think about frost on his whiskers and on the ends of the beard he grows to keep warm.

I saw him on Tuesday. I met one of my best friends at the barn to clip his winter fur so that I could ride him inside without dealing with an overheated, sweaty mess of a horse. It was like old times, standing around in barn aisles, laughing together, talking about horses and our lives. It brought me back to the place I loved -- a place I'm not sure we'll ever get back.

After he was snug in his winter blankets and I drove home on the dark highway, I once again felt wistful. And sad.

Now I want to go back and feel the soft velvet of his nose on my hands and take him on long rides alone (I wish they could be there to accompany me, like old times -- but they won't; they haven't been for a long time).

The difference between now and then is that I have other priorities. I can't go out to the barn -- I have to work. I have deadlines looming and dozens of emails to reply to. Back then, going out to ride was the one rigid aspect of my schedule that everything else had to revolve around. Now it's just something to fit in now and again.

Sometimes I think the only reason I still own him is to help me remember.

To have something to show for it all.

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