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At last, we have entered the month where Spring officially begins as we look forward to crocuses and snowdrops tentatively breaking through cold soil, advertisements for hopeful show seasons, the thrilling birth of foals, and green grass rejuvenating into new growth. Yet Spring may also bring ice, snow, muddy conditions, and the fierce slap of seasonal winds. 

I thought about this transitional time as I made my way out to the barn early one morning as the moon set, spreading light across a shining crust atop deep snow. The temperatures were low in the teens, the wind whipped at my chapped face, and the horses nickered in anticipation of breakfast after a long night, cold and dark. 

Snow glistened, glassy and golden like a magical pathway to the moon above. Cirrus clouds, the ones that are highest in the earth’s atmosphere, bid farewell to the moon, reflecting gold and rose in preparation to welcome the sun rising. Though invisible, I know that winds high above me like waves spread moisture and turbulence throughout the cloudy sea above, yet, from earth, the sky seems the very opposite; still, serene in its quiet beauty. 

I will not see that watery glow upon the snow again that transports me to otherworldly imaginations until next winter. Soon, I will turn out my horses and be left in the barn with my musings. The sound of hooves breaking through the crust reminds me of the delicate strength of horses and their relationship to the land. They will not wonder at the moon, the sky, nor the snow. They will plod right through, searching for grass or settling for the hay I have put out for them, oblivious to the changes, thinking only of survival, a thought primal and wild. Yet their manure will feed the very soil that with yield them grass and hay on which to feed, as the cycle spins like the planets, the atmosphere, and the oceans of which we are all a part. 

Just before sunrise, the sky lightens enough for the eye to see across the fields to the east where soon, more changes will occur. The horses will keep grazing, I will continue my chores in the chilly barn, and the pathway to the sky will become a cherished memory, dreamlike, but sustaining.

Katharine MacCornack
Published on 09-03-2021
I started riding as a child and have always loved everything equine. I've been involved in training, breeding, and several disciplines over the years. I live on a small farm with my horses. I am a teacher and a writer.