Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In the darkness before dawn

It’s been some time since I was out and about at 5am. A mid-September 5am is dark; very dark. The sky remains devoid of those comforting first streaks of brightness, those tentative fingers fumbling for the light switch. Much of the world is asleep, including many of the horses as I walk through the fields.

As my eyes become adjusted to the darkness and my night vision kicks in, I can see that they’re not all asleep. Some are lying down, dozing, but there are always sentries on guard. A few are snoozing on duty, their heads hanging low. Others are cropping grass.

Overhead, an unknown bird lets out a warning cry. The horses take no notice. When I reach the Grey Mare’s field, I fear I won’t be able to find her. But I’ve forgotten one of the beauties of grey horses: they shine like little beacons of brightness in the dark. Indeed, she’s easy to spot: a snoozer on the hill.

She seems surprised to see me, but bribed with a carrot, she follows me slowly, a child shaken from sleep. “I know how you feel,” I tell her, “but it’s your own fault.” My early morning jaunt is due to her refusal to be caught by my sister for the farrier the day before. Today, I’m taking no chances and am catching her myself before I leave for work. Sometimes her devotion to me is endearing; sometimes it can be galling.

I lead her into the stable and she nudges me for carrots. I studiously avoid looking down the row; a pony died there yesterday and I do not want to see a head looking over a stable door where none should be. I have seen horses that weren’t there before, but I don’t want to today: the loss is still raw.

I fetch the Grey Mare some haylage, and suddenly she’s awake and tucking into her out-of-season treat. Outside, the sky is brightening. The new day is here.


Stay at home dad said...

I must try carrots on a school day!

A fantastic, yet unwelcome time of day. Still, will be worse in a couple of months time.

Gill said...

fantastic writing and your horse must be a faery horse because she is so delicate and beautifully fine! She has such a wise and knowing face- unlike the people on the ghost site you linked to who look weirdly scary.

Mopsa said...

That looks like one sleepy grey mare.

Hannah Velten said...

Your blog prompted a memory of my first pony...he was grey, and we could always see him moving about - etheral...Funnily enough, we called him 'Blue' - can't remember why now - perhaps he started life as a dappled/bluey grey...?

Natural Blonde said...


A lovely post...fantastic writing..I was there with you!


mutterings and meanderings said...

SAHD, carrots are the equine equivalent (along with Polos) of chocolate buttons ..

Gill, thankyou and thankyou. They do rather, don't they!

Mopsa, she has a very expressive face.

hannah, I have heard of a lot of grey horses called Blue, starngely enough!

NB, thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

The grey mare looks gorgeous in the picture. 5am is a little too early for me. Our little pony seems to be getting slightly lethargic these days. I hope it's just old age. She still loves carrots and apples of course and a damp helping of hay but we are cautious about letting her eat too much grass.

Crystal xx

Omega Mum said...

I think your entirely field is filled with fellow bloggers drawn in by your atmospheric writing - just as well it's only in a virtual sense or it would all be getting a bit crowded in there. And not really very atmospheric, either.

@themill said...

Lovely M&M. 'Shining like a good deed in a naughty world' also comes to mind.
It looks as though you solved the blue bag problem. What did you use in the end?

ziggi said...

oh *sniff* how sad :(

lady macleod said...

It would appear the devotion is reciprocal. I am sorry to hear of your loss. I remember when my pony died, I was inconsolable. If there is a dog heaven, there must certainly be heavenly pastures yes?

Dr. James P. Holdren said...

Nice to take us through that. It was quite atmospheric.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I had a very bizarre dream last night whereby I had to catch the grey mare for you. I ended up catching the wrong one. My horsey skills are dismal.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Unfortunately, the Grey Mare's tail remains grubby... the rest of her is no bother to keep clean though ..

Pig, my mum, who is not horsy, once went to catch one of my sister's horses and came in with one which was the right colour but the wrong sex! "It came when I called," she said. :)