The Horse

I rode along a rural blacktop in the dim light of the early morning passing farmers’ fields and flowing patches of forest green. The morning air was crisp and clean; the sun just beginning to rise over the horizon behind me; and I was soaking in the peaceful solitude and the melodious drone of the engine beneath me when ahead and to the right I glimpsed a large horse through the trees. He stood motionless in a field probably twenty-five yards off the road facing toward the blacktop, to the left as I viewed him. His head was held proudly high in the morning air. He was oddly colored; his head, neck, and forequarters a rust brown and his hindquarters white forming a diagonal line from the top and left down across his torso. I lost him behind the trees and then spied him again as I drew nearer. The almost haughty manner in which he held his head high was reminiscent of Bucephalos, the great ox headed war horse of Alexander the Great. He seemed to portray the very essence of strength, of freedom and I could almost see the tossing of heads and shaking of manes that cried out the lust for battle in the mighty mounts of ancient warriors. No doubt he counted royalty in his blood lines; perhaps the likes of Traveler, the tall white steed of Robert E. Lee or Comanche the hearty survivor of the battle at the Little Big Horn. I turned the throttle slightly in anticipation as we sped toward the place where I would be able to see this magnificent beast more clearly. As I neared the woods he remained unmoving in the cool morning breeze; seemingly the master of all he surveyed; the king of his own large meadow.

Suddenly I was there. As I passed the tree line I turned my head quickly to the right to drink in the beauty for which I had longed. There before me in the light of the rising sun, shadowed by the trees, alone in a meadow sprouting with fresh shoots of grain stood a long idle oil pump jack, its rusty head thrust to the sky and its aging shaft angled to the ground behind it. It showed the signs of many years of neglect, although with certainty it had once striven long and hard drawing that precious fuel and lubrication of the civilized world from its secluded hideaway in the depths beneath this prairie farmland. Though old and worn from the constant barrage of hostile elements it would surely stand for years to come a stark reminder of what once had been; a harbinger, perhaps, of what we will one day be.

I did not look back as I rode away. I did not turn for a parting glance, but as the meadow drifted beyond my shoulder and into my past and as the harmonious drone of the engine captured my hearing once more and the brush of the morning air caressed my face, I wondered, after I was gone did it become the horse again?

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