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The Ten
Commandments
Of Creativity
Treescape
Treescape
by Elizabeth Lyle

The predawn silence is broken lightly by the jingle of bit and leather I've tossed over my shoulder. I make my way over patches of ice-encrusted snow to the barn door, listen to the familiar creak and shudder of wood as I slide it open.

Inside, I reach for a switch, drown the darkness with light, hear the scurry of mice seeking shelter from my intrusion. A head appears over a stall door, a note of curiosity in the set of the ears, the finely chiseled muzzle searching the air.

I enter his stall, let my hands feel the soft warmth of him, watch as his breath rides out on tendrils which soften and disappear. I lay the blanket over his back and linger there, releasing the warmth now caught between his body and the wool, then follow with the saddle.

He stands quietly, braced against the energy I know runs through him. I hold the bit between my hands, warming it before I ask that he take it into his mouth. Then, with quickness and familiarity, I slip it between his teeth, fold the leather softly over his ears. I know him now. I know the fervency, the strength that burns behind us in those huge haunches, and he swings them away, just to shed the fire that's built there.

We move out to the morning. He greets the cold with great strong strides and I follow from above, knowing our pact. Then we dance. Much of the snow is gone now, but every few feet he strikes upon a patch and we listen as it crackles beneath his splendid hooves. The morning is slow and like all winter mornings, it is muted in pinks and subtle shades of lavender. The meadows stretch before us and I nod to his eagerness, to the fragile tie which is his knowledge of me. His hooves quicken to a trot, his head bows to his backbone and suddenly, we are the morning.

I love this horse. I know him to be of the earth and the sky and I am privileged to sit here in the midst of all that he is. His breath billows and he tosses his head, resisting and joining me simultaneously. We are like dancers haunting the morning, alone in their revelry, silhouettes of a day yet to come. His great haunches fill with energy, plead for release. His body swings sideways, he crosses his hooves, one in front of the other.

I know him now. I know that if I move just right, turn my hand in a subtle twist, he will straighten and we will fly. Like ground birds we will cover the meadow, and the morning will drown us in color and light and laughter. He will be everything he was ever born to be and I will be his shadow. And who will know us here?

The storm within him builds; I ride its edges. The meadows can betray us as winter forces hares to burrow out large holes that can rob us of our dreams. Instead, we move to the clearing. We gallop in slow, long circles as the energy trails behind him, releasing itself to the morning, fading on the day. His hooves meet the ground and it offers back a rhythmic echo, a song for the morning. I am lost in this sound, moving with it like a dancer to the cadence of a drum.

The cold begins to fill me and to blind me, and I ask him now to hear of me, to come down from the mountain he surely wants to climb. He softens and slows though I know he does not have to. I know his strength, and it is only because I respect it that he allows me to guide. We turn toward the barn, his muscles moving like sleek lions beneath his warmed skin.

We travel now beneath a morning gone sky, white and plain, its colors put away. I watch his ears as they regard the path before and behind us, like guardians. The barn rises up to view, and his mind is now full of hay dreams and the sweet cut of molasses in his grain. I feel the contentment shift beneath me, and I thank him for his greatness, for the simple grace he is, creating a morning made of dreams and dancers.

Bonnie Jennings has been writing for years, but has only recently sought avenues for publication. She owns a large farm in Missouri where she divides her time between raising horses and dogs, writing, and running a business.

Also in Song and Story:
A Perfect Day in an Upside Down Universe
Too Good to be True    The Roster   
Bones    By the Sword

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