The smells of oiled leather, the mustiness of a sweaty horse, and the fresh alfalfa hay bales stacked in the loft. The sounds of saddles being slapped on a horse’s back, hooves slowly plodding down a path, and birds and crickets with competing voices. The sights of pure, virgin land – weed-wild fields and untended forests, horses grazing in lush green pastures, and turkey vultures circling overhead, laying claim to some dead creature.
Unforgettable rides, tromping through spring mud, enjoying the shade of summer rides in the woods, crunching red and yellow leaves underfoot in fall, and being dazzled by a hundred million glittering sparkles during the magic of winter in the saddle.
All this and more were my spiritual and sensual experience of the barn, of riding my horse, of overcoming fears, of perfecting saddle-born skills, of being.
But now? We’re old. The barn is old. My horse is old, and though to say it makes me cringe, I, too, am old. My horse, Buzzy, is 30. I will not say how old I am. Buzzy is blind and my balance sucks, so our days together in the saddle are done. Still, I go out at least once a week and feed him a bag of carrots. He loves his carrots and I love feeding them to him. He licks my hand when we are done.
However, now as I drive out to the barn where Buzzy lives cozily, I am appalled at the raping of the beautiful fields and woods we used to ride through. They are gone, replaced by ugly half-finished monstrosities of buildings, and the monster machines that are making them. They call this progress.
I am glad I’m old.