I was driving along not long ago, spinning around inside my head the way one does, pondering bills and responsibilities and necessities and obligations. This errand run, that errand still to do, animals to feed at a certain time which was my essential deadline for the expedition.
Peripherally I was aware that it was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting, with mountains and desert and sky. But mostly I was caught up in the grimly mundane.
Then I glanced at a horse pasture as I was going past, and caught a glimpse of two women leading horses up to the barn. The horses were striding along freely, coats gleaming and long tails rippling.
It brought me up short. I live in an outrageously beautiful place. I’m told so quite often by guests and out-of-town friends and colleagues. My farm is beautiful and peaceful and magical. My horses are dream horses.
But living with it all, all day, every day, wears the edges off. There’s little enough fantasy in the morning manure shoveling, the weekly horse grocery list, the endless round of work that goes into keeping it all together. I lose track of the magic because I’m so busy balancing the checkbook.
Mundanity is important. Horses need feed, water, shelter, shoeing and veterinary care, and all the other daily necessities that keep them alive and healthy. The problem is that if I get too caught up in the mundane, I forget why I’m actually doing it. I’m so busy hauling hay bales and mending fences that I don’t stop to enjoy the reason for it all. I can’t see the beauty; I just see coats that need bathing and grooming, hooves that need trimming, manners that need training. Riding isn’t a pleasure, it’s a job: got to keep them trained, keep them exercised, keep their minds engaged.
When I was an eager little horsegirl in a city apartment miles from the nearest stable, I dreamed of having a horse. I envied the boarders at the stable where I went for my weekly lesson, because they had their own horses and could ride whenever they wanted.
And the horses! The school horses I rode were sturdy and often elderly troupers. One or two were pretty–the pinto with the notoriously mean disposition, the retired show horse–but mostly they were pretty ordinary. Whereas the boarders were glossy and lovely and many were purebreds. Morgans, Arabians, Quarter Horses mostly in that barn–Thoroughbreds later and elsewhere. Once, magically, a snow-white Andalusian who spent his summers in Spain.
When I grew up and grew into my own farm and my own horses, I found myself with a growing herd of Lipizzans: dancing white horses of rare and wonderful pedigree.
And a whole lot of feed to haul and manure to shovel and fences to mend and coats to groom and…
Which is important. But so is the part where it’s beautiful. And magical. And worth the work because of the pleasure it gives me and the people who visit and the ones who follow the stories online and in fiction.
I have to remind myself to stop and see the past the mundane. To look at my cranky queenly mares or my beloved PITA of a stallion and remember how beautiful each one is (with or without special bonus flowering shrub). To smell the roses–literally–or the citrus tree in blossom. To take time for a sunset or a moonrise.
(fence needs mending horses need feeding dog needs fishing out of horse corral house needs cleaning yard needs raking…) (but oh! sky afire!)