Anticipation of seasons keeps us forever looking forward to the next. But how foolish we can be to forget the here and now! Today I saw patches of dirt beneath the shade of the Spruce trees, and I longed for Spring, for dry ground and riding horses along these same trails. And as I walked, snow started to fall, lightly at first, then stronger so that I could not see to the end of the woods. It began to gently dust the brown and green and grey with its silvery touch, a promise of the heavy white fresh coat I am certain that covers our mountain by this morning (it is still too dark to see), this new storm rolling in to remind us we have many months to go before we will be walking on dry dirt up here…
But subtle signs of spring still come to our mountain, even now. This is the time of year the Aspen shoot out their new growth, with glossy dark red tips popping out from the end of every grey stalk. Although the leaves will not open until about the first of June, now is the season their branches grow, a delicate but splendid development I wonder how many of us notice.
It is the time of year that I start itching to ride. Until we gather the junk/recycled materials needed to build that covered riding arena I’ve been hoping for, our winter conditions do not allow for riding. I see how hard it is for my horses to get around on their own; I know they don’t need me on their back. I can wait. Foaling season is right around the corner, and warmer afternoons will be here even sooner – the best time to spend on groundwork training.
In the meanwhile, we enjoy the interaction we are allowed with these remarkable animals. My kitchen window is my wide screen TV – the horses are finishing their breakfast as I do the dishes each morning. All day long, even on the coldest of days when we are unable to be out there with them longer than it takes to put out food and water, from one window or another, we are able to observe them at rest, play, feeding, sleeping, bickering, flirting, pestering…
One day last week at lunch, we watched as the two weanlings, always up to a little romp in the afternoons, decided the coyote who takes his stroll along the pasture same time every day, would be fair game. Mind you, one of these weanlings so enjoys the sport of chasing, that poor old Alan Shepherd no longer ventures out into the corrals, even when I go to feed. It is a job he has graciously bowed out from, tired as he is of being chased relentlessly by this filly.
Well, these two little rascals thought this coyote would be fun sport, and after him they ran, busting through the fresh powder, post holing in almost to their bellies, snow flying up behind them in dramatic rooster tails. Following closely was dear ol’ dad, the stallion, Flying Crow; and before too long, the mama mares all followed, slower for some than others, with their bellies full with this coming season’s foals.
That coyote had been passing the same time, same place for several weeks. For the most part, the horses ignore him. They rarely raise their head to look at him, and he walks by them, even through them, without conflict or interest on either side. I thought perhaps after having been chased by a herd of crazy beasts as he was that day, he would choose to steer clear for a while, but today I notice he passed by, again unnoticed and undisturbed.
The resilience of nature, forgiveness, or the sheer joy of play… what lesson am I allowed today?