It’s been a long time since I last posted, so to anyone still reading this, I apologize. I’ve been busy! Full-time student now. The novel, Vulcan’s Kittens, I am hoping to have polished and ready to go by the end of November, and I have sold a couple of stories (happy dance!). I am taking a College Comp class, which is… interesting. I have to, no way out of it, so I might as well let you all read what I’m writing for that… Next week, snippets of work in progress, I promise. I will be back on track because I need to be. Tonight, you get an essay on a memory of when I was about seven years old.
Our animals are penned up today, while we hay, in the corral my father and “Uncle” Jim built to break mustangs in. I’m headed there. Salsa and Snakedancer are watching, heads over the corral fence and ears pricked toward me. Salsa’s still shaggy, she needs the last of her winter coat brushed out. My mother has been busy with the house construction and my sisters, so my guess is that Jim will do it when he comes to check on the horses. I’m too little to reach her back yet. Snakedancer’s off-center star is half-hidden under his black forelock, but his bay coat is shiny. He’s only a half hand too tall to be a pony, so I can reach all of him, at least when he lets me. I pick up a handful of hay off the windrow to feed them. It’s not crunchy brittle like it will be in a day or two when we bale it.
Salsa lips her hay delicately off my flat palm, and I pat her nose. It’s the softest spot on a horse, velvety compared to the coarse horse hair on the rest of her. Snake doesn’t like his face touched, and he lets most of his hay fall to the ground inside the corral after taking it politely from my hand. The baby goats have bounced over and gathered by the horses’ knees, and now they try out the hay. They are still bottle-fed, but they are starting to nibble on everything and anything. Snake puts his head back over the fence, and lets me lean my face against his cheek. I inhale his smell and close my eyes in pleasure at the combination of horse, fresh hay, and sunshine. Murphy comes and leans against my leg and I am safe and happy in the company of my horse and dog. The throb of the tractor and the bleats of the goats are good background music for my childhood hay day.