It's that time of year again when I start to realize that yes, summer is really gone. For one thing my allergies go nuts as every plant in the northern hemisphere starts throwing off whatever it is that they throw off as they die or go dormant for the winter.
Whatever it is, my sinuses hate it.
For another, the grass goes brown and dry, starting to sound more papery underfoot than lush and swishy. The sunshine and air take on a different quality, too. I don't ever feel like I'm really warm all through from the first frost until the clover starts to sprout, even when I'm working up a sweat. Fall and winter have their charms, but it's just not the same as baking in the summer sun.
I'll readily admit that I'm a summertime girl. In the summer the days are long and there are more hours to hang out with my large four legged children, of whom I suddenly realize I don't have nearly enough pictures.
I've been talking quite a bit lately about the three pasture ornaments, thanks to the nice folks who were running through our fence, necessitating me leading them back in, so I found some pictures of them, and summertime, because dagummit I miss the sun!
Here you can clearly see how wild they are. On the right is Muffin, my beautiful, built-like-a-brick-shithouse girl. Looking at this picture, most horse people would be thinking "Why is she not broke to ride?!?" Well folks the answer to that is: When Muffin was just a bitty foal, she ran through a barb wire fence, and cut up her right fore. She healed up and did great in pasture, but when we tried to have her saddle broke we discovered that the damage had made her lame with the added weight of a rider. I'm going to get her bred, though, because I want her baby! In the middle is Roanie, who you can't see very well, but who has lived a very long, contented life, throwing a few colts and generally bossing everyone else around. On the left is Dusty, my beautiful blue eyed boy. Like so many blue-eyed animals, he's developed cataracts and doesn't see very well anymore, but in his pasture, with the girls to help him, he gets around just fine.
Well enough to find my car and see if the paint job is tasty, anyway.
I know I've mentioned that Muffin is shy. She's just not a pet me kind of horse, but we've come to a working understanding. As you can see in the first picture, I pour the grain on the ground and don't hover over her head, and she comes close enough for me to look into those beautiful brown eyes. We're still working on the touching part, mostly because every time I'm out there with them my fingers itch to stroke that velvet coat.
But really, who wouldn't want to spend a couple of hours out in the pasture with this? Whether they let me love on them or not, they always come to say hi and see if I have a treat for them. Roanie accepts her wither and neck scratches regally, or stands blissfully under the curry comb in the spring when I help her shed out of that sweaty winter coat. Dusty sniffs at my fingers and my pant legs, or just stands hipshot near by with those lovely eyes half lidded in the sun, soaking up its warmth. And Muffin? Well she gets in on the action too, occasionally sneaking up behind me to see if I've stuck some extra special treats in my back pockets or down the waistband of my pants.
To me, that's summer. A couple of hours in a pasture, getting grass stains on my knees and horse slobber on my shirt, all for the sake of the briefest of moments, that brush of contact from a whiskery muzzle on my skin.
The contact may last an instant, but the contentment and joy that I feel thanks to these wonderful creatures that have no reason to love me, beyond that I am kind to them and respect them in turn. They're not trained, they don't work. They've never developed that age-old partnership between man and horse. But every time I step out of the pickup, they come running, without fail happy to see me.
And that thought, friends, warms my heart as sure as the summer sun that I won't see again for months warms my skin.