Saturday, June 19, 2010

an apache moon night and the black mare's song

When the moon gets to the point that it looks like the moon on our painted pony's left flank, we say it's an Apache Moon... and we have one of those this evening. The moon is a bit over half full, and lying on its back, as Isak Dinesen wrote in her book Out of Africa:

If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?

November Hill's evening song today included pulling out spent squash plants to make room for new ones, being joined by two donkeys and a black mare who love to help weed, finding the toad prince in the barn aisle, and listening to Back Porch Music on NPR while the horses ate their dinner tubs.

The best part of tonight's song happened as my husband and I, along with Dickens E. Wickens, cowboy cat, walked the path from barn to back gate. My husband called out good night to the equines, and Salina whinnied in response: wait - something's not right.

So we turned and went back to the barn, realizing that Rafer Johnson had not been turned out with the herd. He was standing by the gate to the front field, and Salina was letting us know we needed to come let him out.

The black mare knows the song of being a mother, and we have learned to listen when she sings.

14 comments:

Kate said...

Lovely post - thanks!

Deborah Pipes said...

have you ever read "West with the Night"? one of the best YA books i have ever read....

good that the "boys" have more than one "gal" watching over them....

Grey Horse Matters said...

Salina is a wonderful mom always watching out for her boys.

The books Out of Africa and West With the Night were marvelous books. Your excerpt was very apt in describing Apache Moon. Great post.

billie said...

Thanks for stopping in, Kate - hope all is well your way!

billie said...

Deborah, I read it many years ago, but you have reminded me that it is time to read it again. I ordered it this morning. Thank you!

billie said...

Arlene, it never stops amazing me how absolutely wonderful Salina is, and how she serves night and day as my partner in keeping things organized here. The geldings have their own wonderful ways, but none of them even paid attention to the fact that Rafer wasn't with them out in front. She not only knew he wasn't, but sounded the fact, and in the exact tone she knows we know means something is amiss.

Valentino said...

Billie-

Just returned from a weekend at my trainer's farm, which was in every way wonderful excepting lack of internet which, on reflection was a good thing.

For instance, I got to catch up on several exquisite posts in one sitting :)

Cross species communication makes the world go round...

In addition to nourishment for the body, such a lovely sense of community available at farmer's markets...

And I think Keli Bay knows how special he is :)

Regarding spider webs: we have very large "writing spiders" here. Super strong webs with the white "scribbling " in the very middle. Last summer my tractor broke a web, inhabited at the time... the (thumb sized) spider fell out of view and I (shrieking) frantically searched for her (in my hair) and found she had landed on the back of my calf (more shrieking!). We both survived :)

billie said...

V, I hope your lesson weekend was good - will look forward to reading about it on your blog!

You are right about the Big Bay - without being a complete narcissist, he does seem to have a sense of entitlement - to good treatment and lots of attention. :)

The thing about him - he has been catered to his entire life, and yet he is the kind of horse you can trust with anyone. He's kind, and careful when it matters.

We have the same writing spiders - although I know how large and numerous they are in your part of the state.

Though I would never want one of those large spiders on my body, I love them. Probably the association with writing! But we get them on our front porch and I protect the egg sacs every year so we will keep having them.

Valentino said...

I love the writing spiders too - so glad neither of us were injured in the dreaded tractor incident. They are all over the garden now, but just the size of a rice grain.

Didn't realize we shared a state! :)

billie said...

I think so - based on some of what I've read in your blog... NC?

Valentino said...

Yes - I'm on the coast... are you mid-state perhaps?

Enjoy the solstice!!

billie said...

In that vicinity, yes - and thanks for the solstice wishes!

ponymaid said...

Billie, we have none of those writing spiders - tell me, what do they write? I am unfamiliar with this literary branch of arachnids. Salina is obviously the official "minder" and what Jack calls "Big Momma" at your place. Doc serves as ours but has a limited maternal side.

billie said...

Sheaffer, they write poetry in an alphabet all their own. I will take a picture when they come into my front beds a bit further into the season.

I love that Doc takes the Big Momma role at your place - completely turns my theory about mares and geldings on its ear! As it should!