I first mounted you with fear and nervousness, knowing several others had come before me. Would you read me as just another careless rider? I wanted to bond with you and erase any absence of love for the horse. You are not a slave, but a beautiful beast. And despite my desperate desire to know you, it took me four days to acclimate upon your back, gain confidence, come across a situation that enabled us some freedom—the cattle drive.
Dear Stetson, I love you. I came by the corral after lunch when our riding was done for good, called out to you. Gazed into your left eye, exposed from the others – you did not come forth. And I wish I could hear you – your thoughts of not liking your job, anticipating your next life. Oh, how I wished you pushed your way through those horses, close enough to allow me to stroke your muzzle, whisper to you how much I relished the sound of your hooves clashing with the stones, steadying the reins as you nodded, swatting the flies.
Remember how we trotted toward the three scattered cows and encouraged them back into the herd? Oh, how I loved being on your back, watching them, feeling a genuine part of the wildflowers and mountains and big sky! Remember I turned to the young wrangler named Frog and said, ‘hey, I moved three cows’ and the dear child answered, ‘you moved 500 of ‘em.’
Stetson, I know your home is with your herd. But please know for a short while, my home was with you. You have made me fly.
I shall talk to you, send you my love when my head hits the pillow tonight and tomorrow when I leave this country in which I’ve longed to return for twenty-three years. [END]
This itty bitty essay was picked up by Wanderlust Journal on 10/15/18.