Work was work, racing toward 4:00, and then sitting out the final 15 minutes in an endless stretch of voices and phone calls. I should be able to leave at 4:00, but this seldom happens. It took far too long to get to the car. By 5:15 I was finally pulling up in front of the barn. A south blowing breeze that had been gently pulsing all day flipped. The breeze became wind, gusting out of the north. Heavy dull clouds pushed southward, clinging to the Front Range of the Rockies like sludge in a gutter that catches in rough spots, forming masses in unlikely places. Not one of us could stem the force of the front. Not horses or people or dogs. The trees submitted, shifting above us. Barn doors shuddered. Stray wisps of dry grass hay danced along. The weather in Colorado is like a magic show. Now you see it, now you don’t. First you will and then you won’t.
I debated only a little. If it rains, it rains! I thought, I will be like the trees, standing my ground, but ready to bend to the will of Mother Nature. I ran out to the pasture to find Bear. He heard me calling and came to me – this is the first time. He is beginning to live in my world. He doesn’t run anymore. He recognizes my sounds. He moves with me, capturing my touches. There is no communication like the language of voiceless innocence, of unadulterated longing and appreciation. It’s like being in love.
I saddled him quickly, dispensing with the ritual of grooming beyond the bare basics. If it should rain, I thought, I want to be in the saddle so that I will not quit. He trotted alongside of me, out to the arena. His body is turning sleek with good grass hay and grain. I watched his muscles move under his golden hide as he walked. His breath blew warm, like the wind. Sitting on my horse, I felt a part of something indescribably wondrous, almost mythical. It would not have surprised me to feel wings unfolding behind my thighs. I felt him move and imagined us flying. Steady, smooth, pushing the thickly gathered clouds aside and mounting into the atmosphere. There is nothing in the world like the feeling of being one with a thousand pounds of horseflesh; moving effortlessly through space, forging a rhythmic connection into the earth.