Sunday, December 16, 2007

Horse story

I feel like telling you a story tonight. It’s a horse story, and one of my favorites – one I’ve never shared with anybody, because it’s totally personal, and I didn’t think anybody would understand the depth of my feelings here. But you maybe will.

I had a favorite horse. We met when I was doing extras work in movies. I tracked her owner down – he owned a stable – and my horse and I would go riding most Sunday afternoons – lots of long and high ridges around Hollywood. You hear about them every once in awhile – some fool on a horse would fall down one, every once in awhile. “Don’t ride along the edge, idiot! Ride in the middle!” Anyway … sometimes I’d rent my horse for the weekend, and off we’d go in some direction. Now you have to appreciate the fact that in the Spring the desert is beautiful. Flowers and blooms are everywhere, as far as you can see. So that’s where we’d go. Strange thing about that horse – no matter how lost I got, she always knew the way home. And we both knew it. So we’d go riding among the flowers, no special direction, just out and out and out. Toward dusk I’d stake out a campsite, build a small fire, feed oats and apples to my horse. And there we were. I’d set up my hammock – contrary to what you see in the movies, when you are alone, you don’t normally sleep on the ground – too many creepy crawling things. So there we would be – horse and me. The campfire is embers now. If you look off to the west, way off, there’s a very soft glow in the sky that’s Los Angeles. But here – nothing. The Indians in the area believe that everything has a spirit – a Moniteau. And here that’s easy to believe. The land is at rest, contented. The silence is profound. You can hear horse softly breathing, and on rare occasion you can hear a coyote howling at the moon. And with good reason. The moon is so close you could reach out and touch it. And the sky … it’s huge! It goes on and on! The night sky takes your breath away with the sheer vastness of it. In the eastern United States you can never completely escape lights of the city, but in the western desert … the sky is so magnificent it makes your chest hurt. And you cry. You don’t know why, but you do. In the morning you break camp, and horse leads you back to civilization. With each few steps, the feeling of being a part of something larger than yourself starts to withdraw. More and more. You fight it with everything that’s in you, but it’s going and then gone. Even if you turned back – right now – it wouldn’t be the same. With the sight of the first car or house the protective shell goes up around you again, and you shrug – what was the big deal, anyway? That night you have claustrophobia, because your bedroom is closing in on you. The next night it’s easier, and the next night – easier yet. By mid week you’ve almost forgotten your night in the desert. But somewhere – deep deep deep, by Thursday you find yourself cleaning the sand out of the hammock without even thinking, and on Saturday you can’t drive to the stable fast enough.

That’s my story. Different from yours, but maybe not. Like it?

1 comment:

Julie Morrison said...

loved this story. Loved it. In fact, I'm glad you told me where your blog is early in the game because it is exactly the sort of addictive blog that I have to stop everything and read, each story dangling like a chocolate bar in front of a cocoa junkie. wow. Love the depth of it. Write more write more! I'm a word junkie!!