Friday, April 1, 2011

Septet for Arrows

When time
has smudged
our features away
let some other beauty
arc forward
and reveal us
in the slipstream.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...

Today, a break from the "Corporate Chronicles" series, because I am busy falling madly in love. How's a person supposed to think of anything else but the object of her obsession, under these circumstances? Stomach all fluttery; aching constantly for the moment I will see this girl again at last; sweet sweet image of her face on the insides of my lids every time I close my eyes.

I am in the complete destabilization stage. I feel dread just below the surface, knowing I could be wrecked beyond all repair if something goes wrong now. I am terrified of ever losing her. I've not yet discovered the maddening habits that could shift this new love into something a little more realistic. In other kinds of love, the little annoyances could have something to do with squeezing the toothpaste wrong, or eating up every last full-size tortilla chip in one sitting (leaving a few salty crumbs that only saliva-covered fingers could gather up), or the constant presence of background noise  --  when the damned TV and radio buttons just won't freaking stay off. You know, the stuff that makes other spouses  --  not me, of course  --  ask "for the love of god are you trying to drive me insane???" In this case, reality might set in if my horse has a tendency to spook at trees even though we live in the temperate deciduous forests of the Southern Appalachians. Perhaps I will have to fight her head constantly on the trail, because she wants so bad please-please-please to eat up every single tuft of new grass along the way. Maybe she will shatter the peace with abnormal gaseousness.

Who cares? I'm in love.

My family deserves an explanation for this unexpected turn in my affair. They deserve to know what's going on, what's so different about now when I've always loved all my pets, including the yearling filly that came into my life as just a wee babe. Her name is Salsa. This change in my love for her might be especially surprising to those who know me best, because I'm not silly about my pets. Heartless, you might say, depending on where you stand on the pet-love spectrum. No high-pitched "oh lookit the pretty baby, pretty pretty little babykins" will ever come out of my mouth. I don't give treats. I read the pet food label and feed the right amount by weight, no matter how cute they are. I am a disciplinarian, in that bad behavior will get them the ice cold shoulder from me.

I really, really hate it when my dogs whip themselves into a frenzy when I get home, whine and widdle and jump on my legs. (Sort of like the way I feel about everybody first thing in the morning  --  leave me the hell alone until I wake up.) My dogs frustrate me especially because it's the easiest thing in the world to teach dogs to be calm upon your arrival, without kicking them across the yard. You ignore them. Simply walk in wordlessly, do not make eye contact, hang up your purse, take off your shoes, make yourself a drink, sit down, and then call them over for some affection. As with all training the effort requires absolute consistency and the cooperation of every member of the family. Unfortunately, someone in mine just can't do it. Coming through the back gate without falling on the ground for a tickling match with the dogs is as unnatural to him as leaving a bag of tortilla chips unopened for a few days.

I do a little better with training animals, than people.

But back to the explanation, dear family. It is this: Salsa and I work together, and sometimes when you work very very closely with someone, well, things just happen.

A little goofier than usual ...
I've taken a week off from my job to devote to a little more intensive training than I could offer in normal weeks, seeking to advance her education quite a bit just before summer weather and all its expanding possibilities. Salsa has now been saddled three times and driven twice  --  with no weight on her whatsoever, of course, not for at least two more years, and with the driving reins attached to her halter, not a snaffle. I wish I could explain better for people who don't have working animals, but that's about it. She's not really a pet, she's a partner, and the magic of perfect partnership, of working like this together  --  it  feels like a beautifully choreographed dance that we are beginning to execute more effortlessly. It feels like the possibilities for our future are endless. It feels harmonic, the way music feels inside when the TV's not on, too.

And aw, you should see her sweet, pink, translucent hooves, still so babyish, with her trying so hard to put them down just so, trying so hard to please. "Here Mama? You want it here? Or here?" And you should see her little pink tongue that she sometimes sticks out like a puppy dog, because she's thinking so hard. Her goofy funny face with a few winter hairs making her jawline look all silly, and the way that she turns her slim head and tucks it under your arm, saying she thinks she deserves some extra loving. You should see ......

Oh lookit the pretty baby, pretty pretty little babykins. Sweet sweet little schnookums ......  Oops. Gotta go.