Humans have a long history with horses. The beautiful creatures helped us travel long distances, offset the labor of heavy tasks, and served as friend with their gentle spirit and calm demeanor.
We relied on these animals to carry us to where we are today but I think they did more than just provide manual labor, they grounded our thinking and brought into focus something we’re now able to relegate to a long forgotten time and move on.
The inherent element in understanding is that life is what enables us to create this world.
As technology becomes more sophisticated we continue to become more and more removed from this fact as something we connect with on a personal level.
The problem with that is, the farther we move away from the source of understanding and focus our attention “out there” the more burden we place on something we forget needs love and acts as our inescapable “beast of burden”.
Side note: I really think this is why we have a real desire to take care of other smaller animals. These smaller more “helpless” creatures reflect this understanding of our reliance on living things, in an ever more “sterile” world.
This hapless and hurried forgetfulness of flesh, in my opinion, is the root of the obesity epidemic more than the fact that less labor leaves us with a surplus of calories. As we demonstrate to our bodies where our attention lies, it does what it can to “nudge” us with the elements it still commands.
Weight’s Role In My Life
I say these things because I’ve seen firsthand what loving my body as more than just a hindrance or something to avoid giving my attention to, turns into.
I struggled my whole life with obesity and it wasn’t until I slowed down and loved the “beast” did I understand how much love it affords me everyday.
I used the horse metaphor because, if you’ve ever been eye to eye and felt the experience of them experiencing you, you know the sheer presence they command. There’s a trust that goes so deep it’s possibly more than simply their size only that gives us a feeling of awe.
That said, I personally carry a bit of fear in that regard based a scene I came home to one day after school, a very long time ago.
History With Horses
As a child I lived on a four acre spot of land in northern Virginia about an hour south of DC.
It had three acres fenced off which we loaned to a neighboring farm to keep their solo male pony “Smackers” on, from time to time.
My mom loved that horse and the owners never had a problem with her putting him “through his paces”.
However, one day, he did what all male ponies do if you intend on studding them out, he “went stallion”.
This day Smackers was in a full testosterone fueled state of dominance that my mom, having not raised horses like this previously, was totally unaware of.
In this state of rage he took my mother’s neck in his mouth and reared back on his hind legs lifting her from the ground.
The way my mom tells it, and from what I can piece together, it wasn’t just a single toss, he lifted two or three times before releasing her.
I waited for him to gallop away and I ran up to see what I could do, and as she lay there not wanting to move (possibly unable to, from shock), all I could do was call for help.
She was totally fine….
My mom is by far the toughest person I’ve ever known; minus the mass abrasion on her neck at the point where he gripped her.
So, for me to be writing this about this feeling of loss we’ve all suffered from losing our reliance on these animals, may come as a shock.
I just have gotten a real sense since finding who I am, separately, but ever reliant on the “beast” that is my body I don’t think getting in my plastic and metal vehicle carries that sense out far enough for most to see it these days. (and don’t get me started on when we go self driving and no one even owns a car any more…).
This may all sound crazy counter-intuitive in terms that I 100% believe none of us “own” anything.
…All The Parts, As The Whole
It’s just, I’m growing to love all of who and what I am more more each day; and whether I call it “that which signifies low tide”, “my dark passenger”, or “the source of fear” or not, my ego is a part of me and he “identifies” with “things”.
So, when I find something he, and the part that he makes known, seem to somewhat agree on something it’s hard for me to not want to share it.
The point of all of this is simply to say that we should try to stay mindful, in a world that is ever decreasing our need to interact with anyone or any(other) living thing, we’re still unable to escape the “beast of burden” we’re born with.
Our beautiful, expressive, sensitive, wonderful bodies do so much that we take for granted and take advantage of it’d be a shame if they somehow just wind up being something we choose to “put on life support”, stick in a history book, and try to forget about as we can perfect “virtual reality” and sacrifice actual reality that avails itself in loving fashion each day, whether we love it back or not.
When we place our attention on, and be thankful for, the fact we’re still breathing, the thoughts about how, or the speed in which we’re dying feel like the afterthought they’re meant to be.
It’s natural to lose oneself in the brushstrokes, just never forget the resulting beauty is only made possible by the choice to paint, or observe any of it, in the first place.