So it’s Thursday afternoon and we stop working on the new snowplow blade to bring the horse trough into the house by the fire and get water heating on the wood stove.
It’s bath night.
Think of the folks working their tails off to afford a fancy bathroom with a shiny bathtub that’s easy to fill with water that you probably don’t know where it came from anyway, but that tub is quick to fill and simple to drain and it has to be easy because you’ve been working all day at a job you don’t like just to pay for all this and don’t have time to mess around. Long hours, big debt, no time for a bath anyway – just jump in the shower and get to bed because tomorrow you’re back at it.
Or, a hundred buck investment, an old garden hose, and all we have to worry about on this chilly afternoon is heating water.
No, I don’t have a car, a cell phone, TV, a hairdresser, a hairdryer, or fancy clothes. But I got a tub, and my husband has time to fill it.
Now it’s seven below zero and dropping and we’re sweating in the horse trough inside by the woodstove.
I step out with bare feet (and bare butt) dripping onto the snowy deck to let the dog out for one last bark and still I’m warm to the bones from my bath.
Maybe, just maybe, the heyday of consumerism is passé.
Another morning of fifteen below.
(nothing compared to what Forrest is dealing with down there)
He loves it.
And really, so do I.
brings out the wildness
chills your lungs as you howl as the sliver of moon reflecting on the flat white surface of a snowy pasture.
weeds out the weak
sends them south
and to lower ground
then again, most everyone I know
lives at lower ground.
Cold reminds me
of the fragile threat
When I can see it
at each exhale
Steaming forth like a dragon’s fiery breathe
or so it seems
delicate like hoarfrost
as my eyelashes freeze closed
for just a moment and
I remember to blink
after every mouthful of air
But for our four leggeds
my beloved horses
out there in the cold
seeking relief of the sheds
the promise of more hay
the sun coming over the mountain
and hitting flat across their
solid brown sides
winter is too long
too harsh and white
and makes them too irritable
with frost on their muzzles
icicles dangling from their manes
and snow gathering on their back.
Three were given.
Three were born into my arms.
(Fragile life upon this hard harsh land
that through too many untimely deaths
this is no place to be born.)
And two have more than paid for themselves
through their offspring
not to mention their years
of carrying us
caring for us
and letting me care
being there with us
when really maybe
like on days like this
I’m pretty sure
They’d rather be somewhere else
Some days I think
they are the luckiest of horses
with a balance between time to work and time to play
point and purpose, and spoiled rotten
wild and free, and my little ponies.
Other days, like today, I think
they think living in some stall on the outskirts of a city sounds pretty darned nice…
They don’t hate me
though at times I wonder why not
for it is only because of me they are here
And if resentment within them builds
(though I think a horse is beyond such things)
they forgive me fast when they see me
trudging through the snow three times a day
with the wildly barking dog
to feed them.
Carlos and Indi, please don’t write home now. These guys don’t need to know how nice it is for you in Hawaii!
3 thoughts on “Enduring and endearing.”
I read your post yesterday evening and last night dreamed of snow. A lot of snow. Your images have found a home within my unconscious.
Thinking of your bath night, years ago over here when it was the custom for railway locomotives to be named, Great Western Railway nr. 4014 was called “Knight of the Bath” after the chivalric order. Of course it came to be nicknamed amongst the drivers “Friday Night”. So you were a day early to bathe on Thursday:)
Your tub story reminds me of a quote that I pulled from a book called The Presence Process. “The more automated our experience becomes, the less involved we are in the art of living.” That’s why I shovel manure after work, while everyone else goes to the gym or to yoga classes.
I don’t know how I missed your bath story .When I was a kid on the ranch my mother would bring in the big wash tub on Friday night and set it up in the kitchen block it off with a blanket and start heating water on the wood stove .Everyone had a bath for church on Saturday .To heat the water and change it three times took all evening .Now on SS and little money we sometimes think we have it hard .I sometimes forget not eating with my mother so the little ones had food .Our father was in the VA hospital a lot .My wife forgets washing clothes on the rocks by the water in the Phillippines and sleeping on woven mats on the floor even when she went back to visit in the mid 2000s .We wish you a Happy New Year and a better new year .Just remember your son is on his way to a better life than we had thanks to your upbringing . Good Job .