A workation’s symbol of freedom

horses back yard

The view out the back window of my camper.

Horses have been something of a theme on this workation I’ve been experiencing since mid-June.

Yes, I’ve been traveling, thus the spotty schedule of blog posts which I hope you’ll forgive. Our camper has made a cozy home in six different locations the past three weeks which means three laundromats and six sewer hose hook-ups (lest you think a workation is all fun and games, though it’s been that, too, what with a Fourth of July parade (how much fun is a parade!) and a Twins baseball game in Kaufman Stadium (when they say “not a bad seat in the house,” they’re not kidding)).

The trip began in Kentucky, and what’s Kentucky known for? Bourbon, fried chicken and the Kentucky Derby, right? Miles of white fencing line the pastures of Kentucky’s rolling landscape, and behind those fences beautiful horses graze on what I can only imagine is Kentucky bluegrass.

Then, quite by chance, we had the opportunity to witness a horse finding a home in a new Iowa pasture when we arrived a bit early at a colleague’s house for a dinner party. His son’s girlfriend trucked her new thoroughbred to his house to be stabled with his 22-year-old horse who, our colleague insisted, still mourned her stablemate who died five years ago.

horses free

Though you can barely see the equine beasts in this shot, their appreciation of the meadow at sunset was breathtaking.

We expected fireworks of the snorting and whinnying variety, hoping there wouldn’t be biting and kicking (I had, heretofore, been unaware that horses can be mean biters). Instead, the two horses took to each other like best friends. After a few hours of get-to-know-you sniffing and nickering, the horses were freed into the pasture together. To see those beautiful animals galloping after each other in the meadow was a beautiful sight.

During one of our stops in Minnesota, I had the opportunity to run (twice!) on trails marked as “shared use,” where I was instructed to announce my presence upon encountering riders on horseback. I only imagined giving such a beast a wide berth, not actually seeing any on my early morning jaunts.

Arriving in Wisconsin, we made camp at a site only 30 yards from a pasture where two chestnut beauties spend their days munching on grass made lush by lots of rain. My 8-pound miniature schnauzer spends her days on the back of the couch growling warnings through the camper window.

And the book I’m reading now? Well, among the characters in Jonathan Kirsch’s The History of the End of the World are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

What meaning should I draw from this strange repeating coincidence?

Well, based on a quick Google search (what better place to find meaning nowadays than Google, right?), horses symbolize power, grace, beauty, nobility, strength and freedom (WhatsYourSign.com). My journeys have taken me through the heart of the Midwest, so perhaps I should draw on the beliefs of the original residents: “The horse has long been honored as helper, messenger and harbinger of spirit knowledge to the Native American.”

Beauty? Nobility? Freedom? Harbinger of knowledge? Sounds like a message to which I ought to be listening.

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