Wednesday, January 12, 2011


There are many names for snow, if you speak Inuit. This morning, it was just snow. White flakes falling fast from a gray sky, and nearly a foot of those sparkly motes on the ground.

At the barn, I was the only human moving. Just me and the horses, who nickered for their breakfast, which I obligingly provided. The next few moments were filled with their contented munching and the rustle of nylon sliding across clipped fur. Tucker turned and nuzzled my shoulder as I changed his nightime blanket for his daytime turtleneck.

I ventured out into winter and spread out the hay on the unbroken snow, returning to the shelter of the barn. The boys greeted me again, heads over the stall doors, with ears pricked and expectant eyes. Weather is no impediment to their desire to be outside.

One by one, I led them out, reveling in their antics. Horses are like kids on a snow day. Tucker ran out, pawed the snow, and made horsey snow-angels. Gil sauntered, like the cool kid, unimpressed with the white stuff. Cosmo snorted, and despite being the senior citizen, rolled and cavorted like a youngster.

From the barn door I drank in the pixilated sight and sounds of the snowbound farm. Again, the feeling of being the lone human in an arctic landscape struck. It was a world made for me and the horses.

I went about my chores, enjoying the muffled thud and soft crinkle of hooves combined with the purring snuffle of their breaths filtering in from outside.
My solitude was broken by the rumble and scrape of a plow going by on the road. Then, an unexpected revelation, the same ominous trembling right outside as the caretaker resumed plowing. He had been in his office, perhaps with the same sense of singularity-of being the only person in this wintry world.

My illusion shattered, I finished my chores and ventured out. The ponies were covered in a rimy crust, looking a bit guilty, and perhaps wishing for a bit more hay, which I provided, before heading out to join my fellow man shoveling snow.

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