Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Change Is Gonna Come

The first hint of change came in mid-January, when the earth and sky wore the same grey cloak, and a strong north wind drove a light freezing rain across our pasture.  Our horses, Stormy (Stormy Monday) and Callie (Calliope) had grown tired of the rain and mud and hurried to their stalls as I walked across the pasture to meet them.

My horse, Stormy, a black and white paint, was covered with mud from nose to tail.  I went to work with a curry comb and a stiff brush while she munched on the flake of hay I had given her.  Nearly finished, I reached across her back to erase a spot of mud I'd missed and stepped back to admire my work.  I looked down and saw that my black barn coat was covered in white hair.  "She's shedding!" I said.  "That's why she's rolling so much."

Callie, born in Fisher Branch, Manitoba, has a winter coat that stands straight up and makes her look like a fuzzy, plush toy, while Stormy's coat lays flat against her body.  Callie's dark bay coat was just as muddy as Stormy's, but her clock was ticking more slowly; it would be two more weeks before she would begin to shed.

Now, in the first days of April when Spring has finally arrived, there are four or five clots of Stormy's white hair dotting the pasture.  Callie's shedding just as much, but her coat's color matches the pasture's bare spots and is not so noticeable.

I am always surprised by the subtle signs of things to come that our horses give us, and how we seldom notice them or their meaning.

In his poem, "Fog," the poet Carl Sandburg wrote, "The fog comes on little cat feet," and in this year, so did spring.


Copyright, April 10, 2012

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