|Will it be like this?|
The barn where the kids ride horses is, like so much else around here, in the middle of a cornfield. And yet, for some reason, I always feel as though I'm leaving what's ordinary about this landscape every time I take them there. I think that it's the gravitational pull of the horses' world: the neighing and huffs across the stables corridor, the mouser cats primly avoiding the heavy hooves, kids leading horses in and out of the pastures, the calls of Candace and Lisa who keep this equine ecosystem moving and fed. The minute we're there, we're very far away from anywhere else. I watch my children ease into their fascination with the horses: thrill, control, dream. I give in completely to thinking of horses past, medieval palfreys - the deep dignity of this bridled animal who may be domesticated, but is not always entirely tamed; the force and courage of this fervent bulk that takes the hunter to his prey, somehow rides the warrior into battle. There is absolutely nothing there to stop me from the historical romance of the horses, even as I know that Apah would really just prefer a carrot thank you, that Indy will nudge you when you sing, and that mischievous Dukey just might canter unexpectedly again with my tiny Eleanor gleefully hanging on. So I watch the kids on the horses, and I always bring something to read that will let me daydream a little more. This time, it was Eric J Goldberg's article, "Louis the Pious and the Hunt" from the July issue of Speculum: a historical survey of the imperial status of the hunt long before I'm used to thinking about it. And in the midst of it, a most unexpected excerpt of Carolingian poetry by Walahfrid "On the Bone of a Little Doe," a relic of the fauna that now feeds the flora:
What once covered bone marrow now nurtures a tree.
A shinbone produces a seed - that must be a very good omen.
I am astonished that the bark is not damp and that it is
Tougher than the very wood: such is the strength of the bone.
All things exist to serve you, great emperor: you go hunting for deer
And a forest grows up from their bones! Hail!
|Artificial deer decoys are still legal in Indiana|
|It won't be like this!|