Fingers in the worn glove curve to meet the shape of the wooden handle in my palm. Muck boots shuffle, pulling the cart while a group of resting horses follow me with soft eyes. Not an intruder or visitor, as ordinary as a barn cat. I work the gate, announcing myself, "Housekeeping." Come to clean, check legs, make things right. Cool my thoughts. A gelding may wander over to share a breath but more likely, to contribute to the wealth of spent-hay piled on the ground. I rake the droppings, leaving tine marks in the soil, topping it with bits of my own emotion. My fork slides under the pile, lobs it the distance. The horses continue napping, nibbling hay remnants, swishing flies. More tine marks collecting manure, doubt, and fresh grudges ready to become fertilizer. Another fork load tossed in an arc through the air, so grains of dirt can separate, before it lands, mostly in the cart. No urgency, just a rhythm to slow my own beating. Compost the hurt evenly. Using the fork to arrange thoughts between parallel tine marks, fresh inspiration rises from night soil. Tugging the load out the gate, looking back with gratitude for the meditation of tine trails and hoofprints and imperfect lines in the sand of a dry-lot Zen garden.
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro