Friday, December 11, 2020

A Spot of Morning Chaos

 Half an hour ago I took my second cup of coffee into my office and sat down at my desk. My dog hopped into my lap and curled herself around me as she usually does (and as she is again now), butt on my left leg, head on the right arm of my chair. I'd started up the computer and was happily contemplating my morning's work--I got some particularly good news yesterday, which, while I'm not ready to make it public, certainly made the morning and the idea of work quite pleasant--when I heard a soft but definite thunk thunk.

I decanted the dog, leapt to my feet, looked out the window, and, my daughter later told me, squawked loud enough that she heard it upstairs.

My large grey mare, Sarah, looked back at me. Through my office window. Across a very large front lawn from anywhere she was supposed to be. 

Pal, our very ancient Quarter horse, stood beside her.

Boots on, jacket, hat, dog leash stuffed in pocket, out I went. Pal was now standing under the birch tree in the side yard, looking mournful. He's like a kid who can't bear to be left behind, but he regrets the consequences. I looped the leash around his neck. "C'mon, old man, where's Sarah?"

I could see the barn now. I could see the wide-open gate beside it--snow, my fault then, I went through it last and clearly didn't properly latch it. Sarah was all the way back to the barn--she must have run. My daughter's horse Merlin was milling around near the parked truck and trailer. T, my rental horse, was standing in the field in front of the open gate, looking scandalized. T is Lawful Good and doesn't break rules. (My daughter thinks he's a vampire: can only cross thresholds if specifically invited.)

Pal puffed and huffed and dragged his feet. This was a lot of work for him, something he should have considered before he followed Sarah.

Merlin looked up, saw us, and dashed back into the field. It's not because he cares about breaking rules. It's because he's greedy for his breakfast, and wants to be the first into the barn. He went to stand by his stall door.

I got everyone into the field. Gate properly latched. Portioned out the breakfasts, dumped them into the feed bins in each stall. Went through the end stall, Pal's, into the field, letting it swing shut behind me. Opened Merlin's stall, let him in. Turned around to see that Sarah had flung Pal's unlatched door open and gone in to eat Pal's food. Happily she was still wearing her grazing muzzle. She pounded it into the feed bucket in frustration.

I grabbed her, took her out. T stood outside, looking appalled and slightly petulant. I opened his stall door with one hand and kept hold of Sarah with the other. "Good morning, T, here you go," I said. Properly invited, he stepped inside.

I took Sarah into her stall and removed her muzzle. Shut her in and went back outside, where Pal was very slowly making his way to his stall, because, by crikey, it's already been quite a day.

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