Once upon a time, there were horses in my backyard. And on a hot summer night in the east Everglades, when the moon was full (and yes, I could read a newspaper by it -- I tried it once), I would go outside and slide onto Tia's back, and lie back with my head on her croup while listening to her graze, and look at the sky.
Don't create too pastoral and nostalgic a frame, here. I felt a bullet whiz by, once, on this horse's back, in this very pasture. (Who knows what the idiot neighbors were up to. I didn't speak enough Spanish to find out.) This same mare was perfectly capable of humiliating me on any windy day (tigers hang out in trees on windy days, did you know?) And my first dog, Candy, was attacked, torn up, by the same neighbor's "pit bull" cross (I was out of town; I forget why), and eventually had to be euthanized.
But this is my hope, the place I've been to once and want to return to, through the fear and the distrust and the out-of-control perfectionism that causes me to need to work alone, out of sight of -- not people who will critique me, necessarily, but people whose criticism I fear. To build a relationship with a horse, another species, an alien, that will leave room to share the fits of whimsy that have me outside naked at 1am, looking at the Milky Way.