Abandonment


   Writing with abandon after days of neglect. The neglect is due to uncertainty as to whether to continue with the present report, for which I must sign in as Sizzyphus. I no longer feel condemned, no longer a variation on Sisyphus because that name was taken. I am sure of one thing, I am abandoning my disorder.

   This morning I fed nine horses so the farm owners would have one less thing to worry about as they prepared to take their daughter and her pony to Quentin horse show.

   The low water line in the pasture tub told me it needed to be refilled and as I stretched the hose closer, I realized the tub needed to be emptied and scrubbed. It’s Sunday.

   Sunday is the day to change the sheets at home, too, and put them in the laundry. And Saturday? Well, Saturday Rick brought me two heron feathers at writer’s group and said it is unlawful to be caught holding them. This effectively dampened my enthusiasm and creatively changed my gratitude into a modicum of guilt. Not just for holding – for not having brought something for him.

    “Illegal? Like heroin, without the I,” said the heroine of the novel, returning to her story.

    Recognition that something needs to be done and the willingness to do it removes any sense it is a chore. It is a pleasure. That the day is perfect in temperature, humidity and clarity doesn’t hurt, either. We like when all conditions are conducive. So fine! So fine!

   I have to bail out the remaining brackish water, black walnut leaves, nuts, hulls and so forth with a bucket. A spider drops into the tub and I have to bail that out too, imagining how would be to be caught up in this toss, landing wherever, like Dorothy or Toto. I’m afraid I did not take as much care with it as I could have, figuring it was enough to bail it out quickly. Now I worry I have harmed one of life’s creatures, who constructed the webs on the paddock gate.

    I notice the black yearling filly keeps alongside the little four-stall barn in the adjacent pasture, up a hill from where I am, as if the barn is its mother, to shield and protect. The other three horses in that area are old and somewhat decrepit – they are out grazing in the open.

    Where I am, across a strip of a stream at the neighboring second barn and its pasture, the Brumby horse grazes for grass in the territory on the other side of the fence. The hull of the tub fills by my side. Brumby eventually comes to me through an open gate, gets a carrot and some lovin’ and affection, and heads out to find his four pasture buddies.

   Brumby is eight and sprightly. Ten months ago when he left his racing days behind him, he arrived as the lamest one of all. This morning I felt his front legs. They were cold as ice, which is the way they should be.

    While I wait for the tub to fill, that flash of bay that is Brumby races around the copse of trees at the end of the tree line extending up the hill away from both barns. He had gone to one part of the pasture, only to find the rest of the herd was not there. Having eliminated that as a possibility, he expects them on top of the hill, from which you and a horse can see for miles and miles. His gallop looks healthy and his whinny is stout. The sun shines while I focus on the stream of water, the screw threads of the hose and the toggle that halts or  releases the flow.

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