Thursday, November 6, 2014

the wild mare

Here's a bit of writing from about a month ago. I was feeling a little suffocated, by my schedule, problems with a friend, general craziness, etc. And this is what came out of the pointy end of my pencil.

Ah, the benefits of keeping a notebook on one's nightstand.

After re-reading this piece, I feel like I need to explain why I wrote it, more than what I said above. This piece of writing is a metaphor. If you are a horse person, you will see flaws in my writing. A normal horse would not behave like this. A cowboy wouldn't either. But what I wrote was how I was feeling. The different horses, the cowboy, the fence, the other two-leggeds - they all represent some character, obstacle, or experience in my life right now. This writing, is fiction - fake. That's what fictional writers do - they take stuff that they know, or have imagined, and clothe their stories in those things.

I must say, this is probably my best piece of creative short fiction. Here 'tis....Enjoy!

Coming soon: October -- a collection of memories... :)


the wild mare - 

She snorts and stomps and strikes. Other mares follow their stallions, but this one is different. No horse or two-legged owns her. 

The field in which she is kept is large. Other stallions nicker gently to their herds, keeping them together, persuading the mares that they must be loyal. But this mare is not loyal to any of them. 

Her mane is knotted and ragged from wind, water, and sun. It blends in with her coat - a dusty white with tinges of red. She tosses her head defiantly, snorting out her challenge. 

A stud starts towards her, wanting to claim her. He tries flirting. He tries pursuing her, showing off and protect thing her from other stallions, but she ignores him, nibbling at blades of grass in the shade of the apple tree. The stud loses his patience. Trying force, he nips at her rump and gets her rear hooves in his chest. 

She squeales and charges him with bared teeth. He balks, not wanting to be chased off by a mare, but then the squeal deepens to an aggressive growl, and he takes his leave at an indignant trot. 

A mare knickers gently from a nearby herd, beckoning the sandy-colored rogue to join her. The new mare's herd is near the water hole. The stud treats his mares well. 

But the mare - the one with still bared teeth, a threat to any who come near - stays beneath her apple tree. 

She is not completely alone: a squirrel chatters from the limb above her in a language all its own. The horse answers in her own tongue, creating an untranslated conversation. The meadowlark pecking at an apple is a quiet comfort. A yearling fawn nibbles at the grass and gazes at the watering hole, wishing for a drink but not getting it. Watering time will come soon enough.

Another set of eyes watches from a short distance. A two-legged pulls a hat over sky-blue eyes: calculating, wondering judging, wishing. Then he moves. 

With a quick jerk he pulls the metal off his heels and lets them clank to the ground next to his leather seat. Leaving his rope, his water canteen, everything, he walks over to the mare under the apple tree. 

He is slow but confident, yet still gentle. He doesn't see a horse that needs to be changed. 

He mutters in his own language too, staring into the mare's golden eyes, flecked with azure. 

Can I trust you? he seems to ask. 

Can you handle my wild strength? She inquires back. 

But he doesn't answer. 

He bends and runs careful hands down the mare's legs. Confident hands. Curious hands. 

He woos the mare, not with a show, but with himself. And finally, a permission inquiry. 

The mare doesn't refuse, but she warns him: 

I  am wild. 
I am free. 
The wind is my friend and the rivers and rains know my form. 
The sun is my watcher by day, the moon by night. 
They bleach my coat white like the sand; 
they use my tears to cleanse the grit from my eyes. 
I am wild. 

And the man answers: 

I am not afraid. I am cautious and wary; I am careful...but not afraid. 
Test me. 

He sees a horse with a love for apple tree shade. He sees not the tangled mane but the wind that blew it into tangles. He sees not a horse for breaking, but for healing. 

Before the mare can think to bare her teeth or lift her head in defiance, the two-legged has placed a hand on her face. Another hand goes to her neck, then shoulder. 

And with a snort of unbelief from each, the two-legged grips the mare's mane and swings up onto her back. She raises her head into the wind. Questioningly, the two-legged takes his hands from her mane and instead runs them underneath the strands, down her neck and shoulders. 

The mare turns and walks out from under the shade. 
She is wondering what the two-legged wants from her. 

There is a barrier around the field, after all. But the two-legged taps her neck, asking her to go towards the break in the barrier.

 Other two-leggeds gather here. One seems particularly upset to see the mare's two-legged riding her, but the latter man tosses the upset one a jingling pouch, saying something. The mare skitters one step sideways at the noise from the pouch, and feels his legs tighten around her girth. He speaks again, calming her. 

Once they get through the opening, the mare begins to trot, then lope, then gallop. 

She pushes herself as hard as she can go. 

The two-legged presses his body against her back, his hands pressed against the bottom of her neck. 

He can feel her muscles contract and relax with the pounding, continuous thud of her hooves on the drying grass. The wind whips her mane, then his, until the hat on his head finally flies off, and their different strands mingle together.

Then it is just their two souls and the wind and sky and prairie. 

The mare tosses her head: 

Do you not see? I am WILD. This is my freedom. 

The two-legged presses his face on her neck. I see now. 

When the two-legged turns the mare back towards the pen, she almost doesn't go, but reluctantly walks back to the enclosure. 

He slides off before they enter, pressing a hand on her nose, uttering a plea. 

The mare stands, not moving, outside the fence.

The two-legged walks back into the enclosure and picks up his belongings. The others - two-leggeds and horses - watch in disbelief as the mare allows herself to be saddled and the bit placed in her mouth. 

She was, after all, a wild animal. Did she not need to be broken and trained? Doesn't she need someone to show her that they own her - who is boss? 

But no - with a small smile the mare's two-legged - dirty jeans, shirt, and hat, grimy hands, dusty boots - mounts his horse. 

She isn't one to be conquered, but rather allied with. 

There is no reason to break her, because she is stronger when she is unbroken, wild and free. 

Some are stronger when they stay as themselves.

Spanish dance: Photo by Photographer Wojtek Kwiatkowski -

1 comment:

  1. Yup, I like it, I like it a lot… can't wait for more!