Horse, of Course


Days 26, 27, 28, 29. This writer’s creative license to catch up on the series. The collective may be found here. Or by clicking the 31 Days 2012 tab at the top of this home page.

Joining Amber and others for her abstract writing on a concrete word. She is here, at
The Run a Muck. Today is HORSE.

It is like a full head on train wreck of the senses.

Down in the deep it lays dormant but when it is given some air, water, fertilizer and freedom it bursts on the scene like a herd of wild horses.

There is power in a word. And we don’t always know how much.

Or we don’t know how much to give it, or allow it. Or release to it.

There is power in words and there is memory there too. You can let it out to graze and give it roaming privileges in the pasture, unharness the power, unleash it.

Let it rip, unbridled.

Loosen the girth. Loosen the grip.

I am young and leaning in the saddle, feeling the first passion of my youth. The challenges there in the ring, on the trail, in the stirrups, over the jumps.

Brushing the back and combing the mane, smelling the hay.

Learning to post and blistering up, bearing the pain on the boney knee, as a dancer on pointe feels it on the toes, and on balls, and in the ballet slipper. The pain of struggle. The passion mixed with pleasure.

The smells mingle in the air and they say that it is  the longest memory or is it the strongest memory. The smells , they linger in the heart.

The smells of childhood and all the senses’ memories, mixed in a toxic remembering of joy and loss. Blended in a batch of story, the narrative of your living. Rooted in early youth. A launching pointing, a jumping off.

The dirt and dust and leather. The blends of animal and barn. The grasses and hays and helmet, black velvet hard a smell like no other with sweat of brow blended in and staying.

We take all the pieces of a life. Don’t we.

And ride off into the grasses greener, grasses leaner and carry them in the saddle with us. The horse that was an elusive dream. The one I never owned. A longing of my childhood. Spending  hours at the barn. Longing for ownership. To name an animal, train it up. Call it mine.

And when my knight in shining armor rode in and swept me up, they came back again, the horses.

And later too, in a mid-stream season of intersecting with the hooved loves of my life.

And even just a few nights ago, they came racing back, trotting back in.

A blaze of happy memory. The wild ponies on the coast of my youth. The stories. A thread between the life of an old salty captain who crossed my path and smiled his toothless grin as he shared with me a co-mingling of memory. Captain Froggy, the Shrimp Boat Captain and I. And the horses.

(Captain Froggy and his guitar)

The wild ponies of the banks were a piece of me and a piece of him.

And these threads that run through a life, they can keep running if you watch carefully.

This thread of memory, the horse, of course.

The earliest memory of passion for getting on the back and being free, happy, brave and scared all together. Of breathing smells and waving manes. Of feeling strong and feeling the hearts beating in tandem, human and horse. Horse and human. Rocking in the leather, galloping through at break neck speed, taking a jump.

The rocking in the saddle, like a baby in the sea of uterine waves. Rocking. Like the baby in the cradle lulled to sleep by the slow pitch to and fro.

The holding on, steering the bit, to the left to the right in the ring and beyond. Guiding in love. And it was always the eyes. The deep piercing orbs that pierce the heart and poke into the soul.

A word can wield a lot of power.

And we take all the parts and pieces and they are living metaphors. Or are they life itself. Following the thread, woven and weaved. Seeing the messy and the missed, the beauty and the treasure. In the all.

And the horse is not through with me yet.

Joining Laura for Play Dates at The Wellspring

14 thoughts on “Horse, of Course

  1. I love your words galloping free, friend. Having only ridden horses a few times myself, I delighted in reading your memories of smell that so closely match those of my mama’s. Your words, these memories — pieces, threads weaving their way through, showing up in different trails of thought, words on a page, dreams coming closer to fruition. This is the stuff of sleep and days long forgotten.

    1. I agree with Ashley – the smells and sensory journey you take us on is wonderful. Loving my class mates in Amber’s writing class!

      1. Yes it is a great group and its been a wonderful ride. Hope she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I am still coming your way to read your Horse post. Please don’t think I have forgotten. elizabeth

  2. what an amazing job you do with these word prompts…and I love what you did with the picture…ride free my friend~blessings~

  3. I am so curious about the way you release your words. Is it a trot, canter, gallop? Because when I read them it feels wild and free, yet still peppered with clean, artfully landed jumps, someone spirited at the reigns.

  4. When I saw this title, it made me smile so wide :). And these photos are so sweet. Are you at the outer banks? We’ve seen the ponies there a couple times…a favorite vacation destination. I am so enjoying Amber’s prompts. Your response to this one really shines.

    1. I am on the South Carolina coast but grew up in North Carolina where there were Shackelford Banks wild ponies off of the coast. And my mother read me the books about the wild ponies of other coasts. I believe they were on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Thanks for your presence here. And yes, the outer banks of NC are a big part of my childhood. We used to go to Ocracoke island too. Amber’s prompts are a fun challenge and a treasure in the week.

  5. Ahhh, the smells of the barn. I love the smell of horses and there is nothing but fond memories of that smell. You are so right how smells are linked to the heart. I love this post so much. I felt like I was riding as I was reading and it made me love it all the more. Thank you!

  6. This passage is by far my favorite of the month. I love: “I am young and leaning in the saddle, feeling the first passion of my youth. The challenges there in the ring, on the trail, in the stirrups, over the jumps.” Oh, I wish you could have had your horse. How many wasted dollars–house upon house, refurbishment and redecoration–could have bought you that horse and kept you in that happy saddle?

  7. I am riding the slow horse with my reading this week, but am so excited with the horse journey Amber introduced us to! Your post has at the same time a feeling of nostalgia as well as pregnant expectation. Thank you for sharing a part of your heart with us.
    Bless you

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