Monday, July 13, 2009

Leapin' and Hoppin'

The other night, as it were, I had the opportunity, or perhaps obligation, to ride late at night. Never before had I taken advantage of the brightness of the full moon to enjoy the relative coolness of murky summer nights. The preparation was simple enough—I walked out through the pasture, found and captured a belligerent Brandy, bridled her, and scrambled up bareback. The lights from the house, barn, and telephone pole were distracting, so I turned the mare off towards the blackness of the woods.

And if I ever lose my mouth
All my teeth, north and south
Oh, if I ever lose my mouth
I won’t have to talk no more

She was understandably reluctant and less than thrilled about the midnight excursion, and I soon found that horses’ night vision is not all it’s cracked up to be. Brandy has slightly limited sight in one eye due to an old injury, but that surely couldn’t have accounted for all her stumbling, or the tree she very nearly collided with head-on before I averted disaster and pulled her off to the side. Still, it was a peaceful ride, with the nearly-full moon shining so brilliantly as to make the stars as faint as in the city.

And if I ever lose my eyes
All my colors all run dry
Oh, if I ever lose my eyes
I won’t have to cry no more

Riding back through the treeline, I noticed how once we were fully enclosed in the woods, we were immersed in utter blackness. Yet, looking through the upper limbs or around the bend, I could see the silver light playing on branches, bark, and the rustling grass. The striated ground beneath my horse’s hooves—my God!—moonshadows. And with that realization, the Cat Stevens song started running through my head.

And if I ever lose my hands
Lose my plow, lose my land
Oh, if I ever lose my hands
I won’t have to work no more

From time to time, I would hear the dull pounding of hooves on mud rapidly approaching. Sawyer. He couldn’t bear to let Brandy stray too far away, and whenever she disappeared from his view, he’d call frantically and charge up to make sure she hadn’t, say, fallen into a bottomless pit or been eaten by a rabid tiger. Thus reassured, he would show off by jumping the ditch, tossing his mane with its luxurious blond braids, loping circles, and behaving like a typical lovestruck teen.

And if I ever lose my legs
I won’t moan, and I won’t beg
Oh, if I ever lose my legs
I won’t have to walk no more

And I rode on—a few laps through the pasture, weaving persimmons in the woods, around the arena and roundpen…and that was it. I brushed the horse, turned her out, went inside to take a shower, and went to bed, whereupon I promptly forgot the exhilaration of living purely for the experientialist moment.

I’m being followed by a moonshadow
Moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin’ and hoppin’ on a moonshadow
Moonshadow, moonshadow

Did it take you long to find me?
I ask the faithful light
Oh, did it take you long to find me?
And are you going to stay the night?


secret agent woman said...

Cat Stevens really captured the wonder of just living in the moment, didn't he?

Mozart said...

I just today noticed your tribute to the song at the bottom of your blog. Great minds think alike, huh?