Yeah, I know. I’m writing another blog about horses and my stay here in Indiana rather than writing about—well…writing. I should be enticing you with excerpts from works in progress and deleted scenes from already published novels. Instead, I’m yammering on about my American version of a walkabout. I guess, indirectly I am writing about writing. As authors, our life experiences tend to play out in our work. Sometimes in subtle ways. Maybe we have a friend who is good at knife throwing, so we round out a character by giving her that hobby. A brief, one-line mention, but there it is. Now the reader has a vivid image of a woman thwacking knives into a tree at twenty paces.
What in tarnation, you ask, does this have to do with horses and being? *Drum roll, please.* My current lay-over is on a horse breeding farm, and I want to share with you what happened during my walk home from doing barn chores one night.
The moon was two-thirds full, and cast a silver sheen upon everything. Clouds obscured the stars, so the moon sat like a constricted pupil in the ring of a silver iris. Anyone know the legend that tells of the ring around the moon?
Anyway, the night forced me to pay attention to it regardless of my knowledge in such lore. Was it the pending rain? The ring around the moon? Or forces beyond our comprehension, where the primitive part of us sits up and takes notice? The cats, dogs, and horses certainly seemed affected. They were quiet, yet sought contact. It mattered not what species, so long as there was touch or sharing of breathing space.
This camaraderie continued as I headed for home—a half-mile walk down a long dirt road, where horse pastures bank either side. This night, my walk was accompanied by the horses, who followed along the fence until halting to hang their sage heads over the wooden rail, as though asking me in the silent way of horses, to stop, too.
Anyone who has ever had the privilege to stand near these creatures understands one thing: they are elemental.
So I listened. I stopped to share my breath as they in turn did theirs, their muzzles velvety warm. The cats and dogs remained, laying around together, the cats dragging shepherd-crook tails under the noses of the dogs.
It was a moment of Being. It was just us. A small group—eleven in all. One human, two cats, three dogs, and five horses. Yet the moment felt huge, beyond me, although utterly me. Where I was in that crucible of time was exactly where I was supposed to be. That feeling was paradoxically humbling yet empowering. It fed my heart to continue this trek across America, to push on through my walkabout across an unknown country.
I have no clue where I’ll end up. All I know is that I will wind up somewhere, and when I do I will be where I should be and who I am to be.
Thanks to dogs, cats, and horses. And the moon.