June 19, 2008

Horses Only

Anach smiled at the moon shadows. The angle of the brilliant ball above made he and pony both appear to have better confirmation. He grinned at the name “Pony”, given to his big paint by a settler. He muttered a phrase in his birth tongue that translates “Pale people need names.”

The lights of the town behind him descended out of sight as he traversed the rise, but Anach did not look back. He had served his tribe and now returned to the bosom of his people. His glee was not a result of leaving the artificial nature of the town… nor was it the familiar social protocol of his village.

He glanced back only long enough to make sure there was no human about… with an enthusiastic whoop he gave the reins to Pony and began unfastening his buckskins. Pony galloped with familiarity and resolve up the slope. The moonlit valley on the other side began to reveal itself as they topped the hill.

Anach inhaled what would have been a tear. Pony slowed to a walk as the full splendor of the moon and meadow shone ahead of them. Laughter again split the night as Anach recalled the name the settlers had given this valley. One of the reasons he felt secure here was the fear of the area that even touched his own people.

The settlers dubbed the area “Magic” meadow… simply because the native name for it sounded like the word “magic” in english. All their fears insured his privacy. He laughed aloud again remembering that the original name meant “Horses Only”.

The terrain created a thick growth of wood and underbrush bordering mostly swamp on the edge of a large stream. No one has ever successfully ridden through it on a horse… but riderless horses seem to find their way to the stream on the other side. Hence the name “Horses Only”. The dense swamp was named “Forbidden Forest” by the settlers, simply because it was in the middle of Magic Meadow. The area was unfriendly to traverse, so the main trail went around the hill out of sight.

The full moon was a rare treat, in that it did not always cooperate with Anach’s lot in town duties. He took it as agreement to his productive labors for his people.
The people were not on his mind, however, as he stripped out of the buckskins the town required, and rolled them into his bedroll with the leather loincloth he would wear to his family village. Pony stood still while the hackamore was removed, rolled into the bundle and secured on the tall horses shoulders. A light slap on the hindquarters was simply a signal, and Pony wandered casually away, sniffing for graze.

Anach beamed with joy as he melded into the undergrowth of the forest. The oneness of his experience constantly reinforced by his primal joining with the anarchy of nature. The wilderness accepted him and his passage… only those who follow his path can understand why he emerged from the wood ready to accept any challenge offered by town or family. Opponent to none, but formidable if chosen.

The piercing howl split the night as Anach released the joy that threatened to explode inside him. A quick plunge in the stream washed the swamp off his body and back whence it came. The snort and hot breath at his back told him Pony recognized his cue.

The moon shadows danced on the meadow as the black silhouette of a figure on horseback sailed out of the valley. Two lost travelers watched from the opposite hill. When the apparition disappeared… they looked at each other and fled in the opposite direction, toward town.

Anach had sensed the travelers. He had not stooped so low as to fabricate stories of horror that spread about the area… but his grin belied the pleasure he felt at the opportunity to encourage that misconception. Perhaps his power spot nestled in the feared valley would continue to resist intrusion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

enjoyed your words and wisdom you have walked a good path i have enjoyed our talks and hope it never ends take care my friend and brother.happy trails!