I like it when the clouds do this.
It makes me feel like I am not so small after all, like I could reach up and pluck one out of the sky, put it on an ice cream cone and go walking through the pastures, taking licks and bites of the sweet fluff as I make my way to the hilltops.
Under clouds like this the horses get sleepy and relaxed, their ears twitching the flies away, four feet taking turns resting while the breeze blows through their manes and the sky provides intermittent sunlight and shade.
It’s a good day to be a horse and I’d like to imagine they are happy to see me as I come marching their way. They nuzzle my hand for a snack, check my pockets and sniff my hair as I bend down to take their picture.
I also imagine they think I’m strange, but they’re used to it. The woman in the plaid shirt always pointing and clicking and leaning across their backs.
But they humor me.
Between biting the tops off of new wildflowers and munching on the new green grass they lift their heads up and lean in close to pose.
To check out the camera.
And fight over the spotlight.
I like this time spent with horses. The time where I catch them in their element, but I don’t need to catch them. We don’t have work to do. I don’t have an agenda or a plan to bring them in and saddle them up. I just want to see what they’re up to scattered across the rolling landscape in their favorite grazing spot east of the corrals.
I like the way they look up there against the green and gold grass, the blue and white sky. They add something special to the painting I sometimes picture when I look out my kitchen window or through the windshield of the pickup as I come into the drive.
Is it wistfulness?
or just beauty…
I try to decide the words to describe what the sight of a horse has always done to my spirit as I scratch under the buckskin’s chin and he leans in a little closer.
But when I rub my hands down the sorrel’s back, brush the flies from under the mare’s belly and breathe in the familiar smell of dust and sunshine and grass and sky that our herd of horses keep under their skin I decide…
I may not be the best cowgirl and these might not be the best horses. We might not win buckles or keep the burs out of our manes. We might limp a bit or sport an attitude.
We may over-indulge, roll in the mud, stomp at the dogs and find holes in the fences so we can escape to the fields…so we might get away for a bit.
But we always come home.
Our home is the same.
And if I could I could be a horse I would wish for wild black hair and sound feet, a slick coat and pastures of sweet clover under blue skies filled with clouds.
If I were a horse I would want to run with these guys.