He walked slowly up to his horse, thinking about each step he took, if they were normal steps, if he had woken up from a night of non-drinking would the steps look the same, would they be more crisp, what if some one jumped out of the wood work and tried him, wanted to fight, wanted to shoot him. He wasn’t a hundred percent. Most of all he thought about the sun, and the cactus and the rocks and wooden buildings that surrounded him. “where the hell did they get the wood” everything seemed bigger than it was. Where did the profit of this town come from? How did they make it, how do we make it… these are the things he thought walking to his horse. The horse he called shitgoose. It seemed lovely and affectionate at the time, like an old friend, later the horse became “shit” in all the tough guy bravado that a man calls the things he truly loves. Shit took him many places, shit was a girl, probably the best girl he had ever known. He had spent hours wondering about how such skinny legs could be so strong and move life forward. He thought things like, “shit, I love you but can you carry my ass three years from now?”
He thought about her being a nag, old and just needing a pasture, a view, some oats and water… these are the things he thought walking towards shit after a reckless night at stewards.
There was blood on his shirt that he couldn’t recall, and a wicked piss building up, it was surely a good time that he would walk away from with out all the discomfort of being told what a good time he had. It was important to move on, to take shit other places.
He wanted to take it in, the vistas around him, the heat of day, the mountains of snow, the rocks and lizards that stirred so, he wanted to suck it up and drink it. He couldn’t, he had to move. Not knowing where, he hopped upon shit imagining people watching him, judging him, thinking, “not to bad, that was the guy last night that caused all that ruckus, the guy that punched Tom McCarty in the head and knocked him out… he seems in charge of his facilities.
And he rode away
Thinking this, taking in the cactus, taking in the sun, whishing to hell he had more water or knew a good doc that could put his head to sleep.
The mountains rose and crawled out of the earth like turtles and tide. Slow. He respected slow because he understood it, he was afraid of fast and human because there were to many possibilities. Fire. That was easy, and finding water, or sleep, or setting a rock trap, this was easy. Nature was easy, man was different.
He found a gully, where a river once was, nothing now, maybe if lucky a few rocks that held shade, that kept snow, that melted into his blood.
A cave, on the rock wall and a fire would keep him going, shit, was shit out of luck, but the first night he paid extra attention and made sure to wake up every 40 mins to stir the fire and pet her…
The second night was different though, she kept walking up to the edge of the cavern and nudging him, waking him like a woman does when in need. He knew movement was tomorrow.
“just let me sleep”
And he slept hard like coma. She understood.
God he woke up, it must have been a million years. The sun was cracking the rocks the way it does wood in summer. There was all sorts of noise in the gully. Stretching, shaking, yelling, he walked over to shitgoose and gave her a few love taps on her shinny nostrils like a boxer…
“what’s up girl?”
He proclaimed. Rolling up his Pendleton wool into tight hip saddle bundle.
“are you ready?”
He shouted, echoing upon himself.
Shit was ready, she smiled he believed as he hopped upon her with all the new views to see as he marched forward.
Her steps were different, sort of lengthy and exaggerated like she was always stepping
over something unwanted… fast and un calculated, yet calculated. Forcing him to think
about her and how she precived the world.
“don’t worry baby, tomorrow we will be kings.” and he believed it.. The world around
him afforded nothing less. He kissed her sweaty nape and rode on. But she kept on
stepping upon the world like it was ice to melt .