I had the strangest sense of distance from the horses. Last week I went to Philly with H.G. for a few days. We visited friends, the kind of friends it always seems wrong to be separated from, so easily do we come back together. Naturally, given time, conversation inevitably turns to us moving there or them moving here or all of us moving to some Switzerland of our own making. Neutrality offered in the face of the enemies of our dreams, or something like that. Money enough, time enough, space enough, vision enough. Guts enough, too.
Travel like this makes it easy to imagine that other life. Led by the hand through a captivating city, food, drink and shelter provided, all seems easy, all seems possible. I got really drawn into the sales pitch this time, I did. But for a carriage horse here and there, the horses fell away. It's like I imagined my life without them. Not "like." I did. In fact, I imagined my life without my life. No bills, no work, no stresses, because none of that pertains when we are guests in others' lives.
Back we came and on Wednesday I went out to do the P.M. chores. Winter is skulking away, but its tail is long this year and drags in my way. I stepped from one semi-frozen muddy hillock to another, making my way across the dry lots, noting the horses as I went. Bay, dark seal brown, chestnut, light grey, dark bay, black.
I had to tip, scrub and refill the water tanks. I started with the one shared between lots 2 and 3. While I worked, Dark Bay stepped up behind me, lipping at my jacket. Black whirled away from him in impatience. Chestnut and Grey watched me through sleepy eyelids. The tap at tank 2 is slow running. I pumped the handle and settled in to wait. It was peaceful. They were just horses. I knew them, but I wasn't connected to them. Strange. Like I went too far away and returned trapped on another side.
But the environment began to take over. Horses in their world cast a spell on watchers like me. My, my, someone has grown rather portly this winter:
She stood whiffling at me, Scout, content in her swaddling, slack-lipped and patient, not as mud-encrusted as she could have been, calling me back.