Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Archaeologist in the Interval

I'm one of the people who returned to horses after a long time away. It wasn't even a One day I'll have my life in hand, be steady and settled, and then I'll get another horse kind of thing. Life just carried me off and, one by one, the four horses I owned in my twenties fell away. Then, I always missed them. I missed it, that indescribable thing of having a horse in my life, right there in my life. It was an absence I experienced as an ache, a mostly silent but real longing that would pull me into myself. Sometimes I forgot the cause; often I didn't even think of the cause. I could call it melancholy, call it phases of life. And those things could be true, but I missed horses.

You know, you turn quickly at the sound of hoof beats, glance and then glance again at riders on the road, hunch toward the screen whenever horses move through the frame. That kind of absence. They were something my being recognized, auto-alerted to, before my mind got involved. Like a kind of training just in case, keeping me adding a teaspoon of fuel to the tank, storing up a bit in anticipation of that one-day drive. There were horses at the festival and familiar pastured horses I could look for during my daily commute. Like many who've put horses aside but can't forget the life, I even watched the few annual televised horse races, until the death of Eight Belles ended that for me.

No more Derbys for me after her.

Somewhere in the past year, though, I've come to realize that I never really did put horses away during that long interval. Not really. I collected things emblematic of them all the while. A framed print, an old lithograph, a statue, a notebook horse-themed in broken Korean English. Once I bought a brand-new double bridle for who knows why, and later a fine leather halter and lead. I had a ridiculous, trendy pair of haute couture "jodphurs" from Gianni Versace that I never had the nerve to wear, but that's not why I bought them in the first place. An ashtray, a horseshoe, a worn riding crop; artifacts piled up, findings, evidence of the thing that I missed. It's like I was an archaeologist, discovering horses over and over again through the years.

Some of my indeliberate excavations unearthed items that speak, I think, to and of the evolution of the horse/human interaction, a subject of enduring fascination to me and one I will revisit in this journal.


Mona Sterling said...

It's funny how those of us that love horses, that are connected horses, never really let go. I don't think I've ever taken a road trip where I haven't checked every single field to see if there are ponies, or gone to a fair and not spent the majority of the time in the horse barns. Horse people are horse people, no matter if they have horses or not.

June said...

Everywhere I go, I look longingly at dirt roads and paths and tracks, wishing I was riding along them.

samihob said...

Great equestrian blog! Why not come and post this among other equine blogs at Haynet - Equine Social Blogging Network. Hope to see you there! http://hay-net.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

Hi, just came across your blog,
you sound like a wonderful horse person.
One with a kind heart.