Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Horsing Around -- jcarolek

I have never lived with or had any experience with horses. I have had friends who owned horses all their lives and I have a sister who always dreamed of owning horses. But not me. I was content to admire them from the car as we drove by, or look at their pictures in the magazines or newspapers. But I was not drawn to them.

Tonight I was making my way through the photos my friends and I took whilst I was out in CA and came to those taken on April 16th. We were just driving through the countryside, seeing what we saw, stopping when we chose -- smelling the flowers, if you will. We happened down a dusty dirt road with some stunning trees, fences and other rustic appeal. We stopped and shot dozens of photos.

At one point, I was so engrossed in my own picture taking I accidentally crossed in front of my friend trying to take a picture. Realizing this and trying to back out of the way quickly, I lost my footing and ended up on my butt in the dirt road...laughing at my own clumsiness. My friend, always a "sharp shooter" snapped a photo before helping me to my feet.

And we laughed awhile. My jeans were covered in dirt, but no mind, we were on an adventure.

The next photo op we spied were the horses. There were two of them. We stopped and started our now familiar routine of capturing everything, not wanting to miss a thing. Thank goodness for digital cameras, or I would surely owe Kodak my right arm for film and developing! The horses were very sweet, and interested in us as much as we were interested in them. From every angle we photographed them. And I watched as my friend pet their muzzles and how they stretched their heads out for more, each nuzzling my friend when the attention was focused on the other. I had to laugh. I had always been a bit afraid of these big creatures. But after seeing their gentleness, I too felt compelled to pet them.

I wondered, as I did, how many people stop to spend a little time with these two fenced creatures. Were they used to passersby stopping and sharing a few minutes, or were we an oddity to them? They were very sweet with us and with each other. And I could see how very easy it would be to fall in love with these big lugs!

Across the street was a pasture of cows and bulls. Now, those guys were TOUGH looking, but as we approached them, they all got up and started away from us, not running, but certainly determined to distance themselves from us. And this too seemed odd to me. The horses who appeared more timid, were in fact more comfortable with us than those more aggressive looking beasts.

And again, I wondered what a "day in the life" of these cattle, fenced across a narrow country road from a couple of horses, was really like. I could think only of those Gary Larson cartoons, of the cows, all standing around on their back legs, talking like a group of teenagers, until a car was spied...."Car!" hollers one cow, and they all assume the "cow" position as the car passes by.....

So, for just an hour or so, we "communed" with the livestock on the two sides of that country road, and as we did, I was aware, I was enjoying just a little bit of heaven on earth. Horsing around...where that expression even came from, I have no idea. If I had to judge by these two, "horsing around" must mean being gentle and affectionate and standing by your friend lest they be left alone. I think I like horsing around.

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