Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fractured Compass

I dislike flying. Perhaps if I were zooming around in a Piper Cub for fun, it would be different, but flying to a destination robs me of all sense of place. I arrive, and am startled to see the license plates. The air is heavy with humidity, hurricane-ruined abandoned buildings line the freeway, and great tangled up expanses of kudzu vine overtake the forest undergrowth. Where am I? Florida? Mississippi? Texas? I have missed out on the gradual change of seasons, the moisture that rises, the subtle turn of brown to yellow to green. I am in Texas, but it is nameless, undifferentiated from the rest of the south, brutally robbed of identity by a cold flight through grey skies filled with white noise.

Monday, February 22, 2010


The horses have been whinnying at me every time I step out the door. I reassure them, "relax, my loves, vacation is nearly here." They watch me intently and follow me along the pasture fence as I do my daily chores. They crowd the gate as they hear the trailer approach. They crane their necks so I don't even have to enter the catch pen to halter them-- I just hold out the rope, and they drop their noses right in. They know what the trailer means.

When we pull off the side of the road, they nicker from inside the trailer. Their nostrils fill and flare with the smell of grass, and they shift back and forth, eager, skin itching to roll in the dry dirt, legs yearning to run through fields knee-high in heaven. Untying their halters, Levi and I watch our toes.

Turned loose, they buck and lope and nip at one another, teasing and daring. The smell of green settles them quickly though; temptation is too strong and they snuffle their noses in thick timothy and marsh grass. They hardly notice when the trailer rumbles away; they deserve their rest.