This year has begun with a quiet day. The weather is unseasonably warm; the horses are out blanketless and taking advantage by rolling in the melting snow, smearing slush into their itchy winter coats.
I love the mornings in the barn. There are a pair of sparrows that chirp and flutter about as I go about feeding the boys, who pace and nicker in anticipation of breakfast. The barn is warm and smells of hay, grain, manure, and the unmistakable odor of horse. It is my favorite place to be.
I lingered today. Instead of rushing to get the stalls picked out and set up for the afternoon, I stood at the fence and simply watched them jostle for the best hay pile. The sun sent enough bright warmth on this mid-winter day, I swear I heard the snow melting.
As I sifted through the stall shavings, separating the dirty from the clean, the mindless rhythm of the work allowed my thoughts to wander. If only I had called a week ago to get winter shoes, I could ride today. I should sort through some of the many bins that await my sifting judgement. I need to write, make phone calls, clean the spare bedroom...
No. I should not get lost in the monotony of endless lists.
I cleaned the rest of the stalls, focusing on the pleasure of the act; enjoying the simple reality that allowed me to linger over the care of the animals I treasure. I slowed my pace. In the loft, I sat on a bale and breathed the sweet scent of baled summer grasses. I finished the chores, returned to the fence, and closed my eyes in the sun. Gil came over, gently sniffed my face, then turned away to get a drink. As he ambled back toward the others, I too, took my leave and strolled back to the house.
Happy New Year.