Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Barn Chores, Scout Chores
I had PM feed/clean chores tonight, so I went out early to pace myself in the ridiculous cold. I like it that I can manage the bitter cold despite its insistent edges. In the end, it doesn't matter. I can still settle in to do the chores, appreciating the beginning, middle and endness of the task. I love to take care of the horses.
They were way out in the north pasture, snug in their blankets. After getting set up to clean the stalls, I went out to check the water troughs. In the absolutely flat stillness that only dry, bitter cold can create, the horses heard the grinding squeak of the sliding door. They came running, hoofbeats dulled against the snow. I always pause in my very being to watch them; I can't help it.
Scout and Keely led everybody into the lot next to the barn. They passed me as I was walking back from the trough in Lot 2. Idly, I extended a gloved hand and dragged it along Scout's neck on my way back to the barn. She turned her head to meet my fingers, so I stopped beside her. She lifted her muzzle level with my nose, offering it. I knew what she wanted because she taught me last night. Icicles form on her whiskers, and apparently she loves how it feels when I pull them off. Using my index finger and thumb, I peeled the icicles off one whisker at a time. She made minor adjustments to her position so I could keep sliding the bits of ice free. When her whiskers were clean, I cupped her muzzle in my hands. There she stood, sighing, motionless. There we stood.
There's no picture of this, no lens to capture the silliness of it, but charms like this made the horse standing before me in that moment the most wonderful horse in the world.