I spent all last week out of town on business.
I don't mind traveling. It's nice to run on other cities' greenbelts, explore new sights, listen in to homogenized conversations over the roar of espresso machines at Starbucks. I enjoy the quiet of a hotel room in the evening, where I can be alone with a book and a glass of wine and no worries about what my greyhounds might be chewing up in the next room.
But, I do miss the horses. Mornings are incomplete without their wickers in the dark, evenings lonesome without fuzzy muzzles wreathed in steam. I am always glad to return to my farm, cast off high heels in favor of muck boots and jeans and a baseball cap, breathe in the hay and sweat and mud.
This time, I brought home a nasty flu that held me captive all night in the throes of a headache, sore throat, chills, aches, and fever such as I can't remember experiencing in years. I wasted a Saturday of perfectly decent weather huddled on the couch with a mug of my Magic Tea (2 Tbs lemon juice, 2 tsp honey, 2 slices fresh ginger, a dash of cayenne, and hot water -- try it next time you're sick), a novel, and two snoozing hounds.
By evening, I couldn't bear it any longer. I pulled on boots and a coat, grabbed a carrot, and met Aaruba at his paddock gate. I led him to the round corral with a hand on his jaw, released him to trot the perimeter.
For twenty minutes he trotted around me. I stood with hands in pockets, turning him occasionally with tiny step and tilt of shoulder. Dusk crept over us like fog, obscuring the valley where a farmer tilled sable swaths across his golden field. Bats swirled overhead. Cold settled like a moist blanket tucked into the edges of night.
At last I turned my back and moved to the rail, drawing Aaruba with me as though by a spell. We walked then, side by side as his breathing slowed, and I felt truly home.
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