The Church of Awe

If you can look at a spider mite, or a cumulonimbus cloud, or the ring around a full moon and not be simply knocked out by the wonder of it, I can't imagine what it would take to impress you. This day-to-day awe forms the core of my religious experience -- best described as the deepest imaginable appreciation and gratitude.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Horse-kissing and a Happy Dawn

I began my morning being kissed by a horse. A perfect, snow-laden dawn, barely light and eveything the color of doves and smoke, four horses pressed against my neighbor's fence, steaming and stamping, their coats covered by a light rime of snow. The broad brown one pushed his big face over the ice-coated wires and flared his nostrils, seeking more information about this blue-coated stranger at the fence-line. Bob Dog bounced through the new-fallen snow, part rabbit, part puppy, blissfully unaware that he is old and blind and not expected to be so zippy.

I was in a hurry, sure to be late for work if I lingered. But the horse whickered and tossed his furry chin in my direction, horse for "Come over here so I can get to know you," and once again, I was a goner. For certain parts of life, I have no resistance, regardless of how many clocks might be ticking in the background. Beautiful, snowy, horse-filled dawns count.

As I sidled up to the fence and began scratching the big boy's ears, he put his surprisingly downy mouth on my cheek and gently brushed back and forth, a horse kiss if ever I've felt one. I blew gently in his nostrils, happy to know he didn't much mind the coffee breath. He inhaled deeply and pressed against the fence, nuzzling my face again with that great, fuzzy nose.

The other three horses crowded around behind him, wanting their turn, but he placed himself sideways between them and me, leaning his head down this time, horse for "These ears are made for scratching, you know," and I obliged, laughing at his audaciousness.

By this time the farm dog had come to take her place, nose stuck through the rectangles in the wire fence, also ready for a good-day greeting. Bob bounced around, inviting her to come through the fence and frolic with him.

I could have stayed all day, letting the horses whisper, the dogs scamper and the snow drift silently down. But the neighborhood was starting to stir around me -- cars idling in the distance and my toes turning to ice. So I gave the big boy a final scratch under the chin, and got another quick kiss nuzzle in return. "You might bring carrots sometime," I think he said as he snorted and nodded in my direction.

I backed away from the fence, reluctant to let go of the sight. The horses leaned against each other, watching me with huge, calm eyes. Breathing deeply of horse smell and dawn, I turned for home, blessed and beloved, hearing, faintly, the ticking of the clock.


Blogger Brian said...

It's such a nice break - to be transported where you are/were.

Took me a while to find this one as I didn't get the usual email "notice". Another one I shall print off for sharing with my Grandmother.

Thanks, KC.


11:30 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

I didn't know this was here. LOVE the writing as always! Sounds like you might have moved. Wondering where.

3:09 PM  
Blogger KC_Compton said...

Thanks for the comments. No, I didn't send out an announcement. I guess I worry that I'm imposing when I send out a trumpet call about my latest piece of prose. But I'll gulp and do it, because I know there's no way for people to know anything new has happened if I don't. Particularly since I"m such an intermittent correspondent.

And, no, Nancy -- this place is a block from my house. It's a little farm that has slowly been completely surrounded by town. It must have been grandfathered in. They have a huge garden and anywhere from one to four horses and a couple of hound dogs. I've considered seeing if they'd let me keep some chickens over there, but I imagine I'd just be feeding the neighborhood dogs some fresh chicken sushi. --KC

4:00 PM  
Blogger KC_Compton said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:30 PM  

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