Tag Archives: barn

Dreamtime

Up earlier than dawn on a cool, crisp Autumn morning, I quickly pull on my breeches and a long sleeved ‘T’, eagerly anticipating a ride into the richness of another morning. I can hear Morgan whinnying in the barn — music to my ears. She knows I’m on my way. Always, at my first sighting of her, I feel a thrill at her beauty. Dark brown coat with a striking black mane and tail, well-toned muscles rippling at her slightest move, head held high, she is a perfect portrait of magnificence.

My first task is to brush her velvety smooth coat. It’s a way of silent connection and conversation between us. Morgan’s soft, brown eyes emanate kindness – unless, or course, someone takes her by surprise. Then the iris periscopes in and her look might start you thinking that it’s time to leave and quickly. We’ve been buddies for a quite a stretch of time and long ago I made the decision that I would set her free from harness and collar and ride bareback.

We exit the smell of hay in the stalwart old barn and start slowly down a steep, rocky hill to the forest path. A multi-colored collage of autumn leaves covers the trail and muffles the sound of rhythmic hooves. The smell of sweet earth rises as the day begins to warm and time dissolves into mist. As we trot along in silence, my body begins to respond synchronously with Morgan’s movements. I become conscious of a symphony of birdsong, of the silent rhythms of the forest surrounding us and of the wind whispering through the leaves. Everything in the forest seems to respond to our movement with song and sound at surprisingly appropriate and syncopated moments.

A horse is an amazing creature. Discipline along with freedom brings out their magnificence and their loyalty. I give her boundaries but don’t imprison her spirit. In such an environment, her unique and complex character has space to unfold at the same time that she learns to be responsive and dependable. That’s the reason I threw out her harness. It’s a sign of gut level cooperation between us. She is a faithful friend now, willing and happy to be a partner in any enterprise whether it be work or play.

We exit the forest into a softly rolling, flowered meadow. A sense of exhilaration begins the flow of adrenalin and Morgan’s pace quickens. I feel a cool river of wind flow over us as I braid my hands into her mane. I’m hunkered down on her back, legs gripping her sides, as if I were part of her skin and feel thrilled with the sense of both of us, now as one, flying effortlessly through the air. We rise together. Like Shamans riding the flying horse, Pegasus, Morgan and I enter into the mystery of worlds beyond worlds. I know where that myth comes from. I live it every morning.

Barn Phantoms

You can walk into the barn through the spaces between the weathered grey boards or you can walk in through the doorway. Either way, stepping onto the cool concrete floor you will be faced with stacks of hay bales in the room ahead and perhaps see a cow on the outside, gazing  complacently through the wide open barn window. There is just enough light coming in that shadow does not own the place, only a misty greyness, a sense of subtle expectancy. On the far wall, opposite the hay bales, dangles a row of solid iron hooks.

Once, not too long ago, a young, freshly killed deer, roped at the hind feet, hung from one of them. The owner took great pride in his first kill. He was not aware of the youth of the deer when he shot it, nor that he had broken taboo in taking it. For months, long after his departure, the deer hung there, a bloodless, gutted carcass. The coolness and solitude of the barn held the deer in quiet suspension.

Daily, the cows munched their way through the pasture, content in their meanderings. Just downhill from the barn, out in the fields, planting activities continued as usual. The market garden sprouted generously in spring rains and quickly filled the space between the rows then began to reach upward until the farmer could disappear into the vibrant lushness. Occasionally he would stop, suddenly feeling called by the whispers of spirits in the old barn looming up the hill. As time revolved through the days, the boy and the deer began to weigh heavily on his mind. The boy did not come back to clean and skin the deer. It was way past time.

There is a pile behind the barn in the shadows of the orchard. If you were to dig through that mass, not too far down you would find the bleached skull of a young deer. As a matter of fact, you would find an intact skeleton, the phantom of a young boys journey into a future he did not intend.