In response to Linda G Hill’s stream of consciousness prompt “ay”.
So many words with “ay” in the English language. This wasn’t as easy as I thought because a) there may be words that I could have chosen differently but used because of the “ay” b) I didn’t want to copy the wonderful idea of <a href=”http://“>Morpethroad.
So here goes my stream of consciousness Saturday. To be entirely honest it wasn’t so much a stream as a set of smaller rivulets. Because we had way too many things planned yesterday and today. So it’s not entirely smooth… it probably needs work.
And by the way, the new badge is lovely. Congrats and thank you to Hope Floats.
Ashley’s favourite month had always been June, the end of the June to be specific. When asked, she’d say it was because she could finally ride her horse. But her friends and even sometimes her family didn’t get it. After all, she could do so throughout the year at the riding club. They didn’t understand. At the end of April, her bay mare would travel from the riding club stables to her parents’ property. That was the deal; Ashley’s parents had too much work before summer, so Antares was housed at the club. It was their way or the highway. She’d agreed since she loved horse riding. And they did buy her a horse after all.
So why end of June? After all it was May when she could ride the mare whenever she wanted – as long as she wasn’t supposed to be in school. Because at the end of June started haymaking. And since her parents had a barn on their property, stacks of hay found their way to the mezzanine of the barn, underneath which Antares was stabled throughout the summer and early fall months. During her holidays, Ashley loved sleeping in the barn, nicely tucked in between stacks of hay.
She loved the smell of it, the fact that the first ray of the sun could find her face as she lay in the barn. She’d go down, grab her gear from the shelves and saddle Antares before riding out into the neighbouring forest. Sometimes she’d leave before sunrise and would enjoy the view of the skies change from grey and night blue to shades of pink and purple then watch the earth catch fire as the sun finally rose.
She loved the forest at dawn in the early days of summer; it felt fay somehow, sounds of the night mingling with the first chirps of the jay as it woke up. If she were quiet enough, she’d see does with their fawns. Being alone in the serene place was something she loved and she never shared this with anyone. Not that any sibling or friend had ever asked to ride with her.
One summer though, she met fate. Or so she believed, though some would say she met desire or love. She rarely met anyone at this time of day; apart from the farmers busy with the harvest, most people were still asleep. But that day, when she reached the lake, she saw someone. She stopped Antares. Much to her dismay, she’d stumbled upon another living soul, bathing no less. The water must still be chilled; it was after all not quite 6 in the morning. The man must be mad. It was a man for sure; the way his muscles were defined and his shape made this clear.
Antares stomped and neighed, somehow unsettled by the unexpected apparition. He must have heard it for he turned and she met his gaze. And was doomed. In his stormy eyes, darker than her bay’s mane, she found something she’d never imagined she was looking for. That gaze held sway over her soul for an entire summer season. He was older than her and hired here to help with the haymaking. In the barn, there was laughter and some games that little girls don’t usually play. She was 18 though that year and made her own decision. How could she know that for him it was just fun and her innocence his pay for that summer? He left her in the fall in disarray and confusion. But isn’t it what growing up is about? It took her some time to figure it out though.
She still enjoyed the ride at dawn and though a dapple grey stallion had replaced her bay mare, she still had her horse for only companion. Tonight, she’d get Kay to sleep with her in the barn and tomorrow she’d wake him up to ride with her. He wasn’t much of a morning person or the biggest fan of horses for that matter but she felt deeply that sharing this very personal part of her would probably not go astray. This place, this time of the year was a part of who she was.