on the five gaits

She crouched in the grasslands adjacent to the steep slope.  A carpet of brown toned to soft reds against sharp blue.  Trumpeting and snorting, a snake weaving. The din of horse hoof pounded the dirt. A woman among riders.

I join the farmers and their Icelandic horses. Ergo, a Viking import, is pure, permitted so by isolation. She puffs her chest with assured exclusivity. No diseases. No predators. If she leaves, there is no going back. I puzzled. Freedom to roam. A forager. She whinnies gently, her beautiful eyes dig deep. I see her. A wild sure-footedness and quick thinking lets Ergo survive a harsh climate. I smiled as she spoke of the land she loved. I asked about breed and purity. I acknowledged this was a rare thing. Farmers frolic with four-handed creatures, sometimes two legged ones. Ergo shrugged. She said it is all in the five gaits. In the Tölt and the Flying Pace. Tölting is a brisk walk, delicately clicking into a a four-beat dance step, one foot touching the ground, a spill-free kind of bounce. A flying gait is two beats, hooves on one side simultaneously touching the ground. A hundred or so free spirited horses dance down from summer pasture to be rounded up.  Once upon a time, that is. I witness a re-enactment for romantic traditionalists.  Fog disperses into blue, wet baubles on grasses dry. The swilling of turps, the swelling of hearts. I felt a surge of gathering folk. I was close to the heart of this land.

Artists disperse to nocturnal treats. Body falls into rhythm with elemental forces. I canter steadily. A puppet of the wind, propelled forward with a gait that defines a practice, drunk with fistfuls of surrealist wilderness. Bones freeze to skin. Limbless, I hail to hitch a red van, the last stretch, for a full cup of hot cranberry tea.

 

 

2018-10-10T15:32:04+00:00