T-shirt, jeans, socks...it's all going in the wash. My hair is sweaty, and my sports bra is sopping. Fog is leaning his head into the stall as if he's tickled by the reverse in perspective.
"Go ahead, laugh it up. We're still going out after this," I admonish him, but he knows I'm not serious. Fog's an old man now, and I know his knees don't like jumping anymore. We'll probably only do a few exercises and a light run through the back pastures. He pricked his ears forward when I spoke, waiting for me to do something more interesting than shovel manure. I roll my eyes and get back to work.
Mucking stalls is dirty work, I won't lie, but it's also kind of wonderful. Sunlight and sawdust, nickers and snorts like the music of love around me, and the smell. Maybe it does smell bad...but after enough time, the earthy, warm, rich scent is pure comfort. It's the smell of the earth and horses all at the same time. After enough time, mucking out stalls is more meditation. A calm, quiet work for another living creature.
I'm not saying it's my favorite. It's nothing like the joy of grooming, when we're both tired and finally unwinding after a testing practice. Head tossing and tail swishing express contentment for both of us. The joy of rubbing him down with my own tired arms, the physical connection of love. Mucking out is different. It's the time I work for him, the physical space of love.
What We Found in the Divorce: Part V — Time
2 years ago