|harnessphoto||Jul. 26th, 2007 08:48 pm Semi-fiction|
This is a story I wrote ages ago. It's inspired by a combination of horses I've ridden... mostly Di and our rides in the reserve. Parts of it are memories of Rapphappy before his untimely death.1 comment - Leave a comment
I found myself walking across the flatlands late one night. The sky was the most spectacular shade of purple. It was lighter at the edges and deeper near the top, but it was purple from start to finish. The ground was covered in a glittering blanket of snow. Clean and unmarred, it was the first of the season. At long last it was beginning to feel like winter. The loosely packed flakes caught every detail and magnified it. Sounds that would otherwise remain unheard echoed softly around me. I could hear animals deep inside the trunks of trees shifting in their winter sleep. The color of the sky was reflected in those endless sheets of white; varying prisms of purple light, glowing in shrouds around me.
A purple sky with purple stars over snow-covered purple landscapes below.
The whole scenario made me miss the mountains I called home. They too would be purple in this midnight, moonlight glow. My mountains were purple year round if you knew how to look beyond the trees.
I missed their rolling ridges, their plateaus, their endless porcelain views.
I missed riding unchecked over the mountains’ hidden paths, with my horse’s muscles rippling between my legs as his hooves beat a staccato on the solid, dried-out ground and his long thick mane whipped back into my face, making my eyes and cheeks sting.
My horse never asked where we were going, only flicked his ears back to listen to my excited whispers. I often held my breath when we galloped, entirely too focused on the rhythm of the run to think about anything else. We never took a bad step, and our stride never fell out of place. We had the wilderness memorized and his hoof prints told the tales of rides long past. They crisscrossed the terrain and we sometimes passed them on the way to whatever place we were always running towards.
I don’t know that we ever reached it, but there was nothing out there that could have stopped us.
We forged rivers and swam across lakes. My horse learned to hold his head high and bear my weight against the current.
We jumped river banks and climbed slopes steep enough to make others flinch and turn back.
We set out at daybreak and cut an uninterrupted path. Hawks trailed us, circling slowly and swooping near our heads as we rode through fields with grass high enough to tickle my stallion’s withers. We spent the hottest afternoons in the shade of trees tall enough to tell legends about and we cooled our feet in trickling mountain springs. Many an afternoon found us lying side by side in the pasture grass reading the tales of heroes in the clouds.
The seasons changed before us, but only briefly altered our paths. We watched autumn roll quickly over the mountains, turning the leaves and clearing our views, allowing us to survey our progress. We rode the crisp October nights, picking our way by memory and startling as one at the unfamiliar rustlings around us.
I always valued returning at dusk, with my horse’s rich dark coat turning red in the fiery beams of the setting sun. His eyes glowed with a soft, warm light, and he relaxed his step to cradle me in the dip of his back as our breathing came in slow, sleepy bursts.
The defeat of another day tainted the clouds purple so that they rolled like reflections of distant mountains in the sky.