With the rain we had in the night I knew it was useless to go up around the meadows. They have been a mess as it were, trails covered with mud. I had hoped the colder weather might dry things up a bit, solidify the dirt as it were. This seemed to be the case the other day when I walked up the wagon trail along the first meadow. The sludge had begun to grow harder. My feet weren't sinking in, although once up on the meadow path itself a mud pit waited, which I barely got through without a disastrous fall into the weeds bordering it. I like to get back along the last meadow where the deer generally hang out, but that path was still to yucky for me and I went down to the paved path to make my return back to the parking lot. I looked up though at the second mead and there were some deer upon the hill in the high weeds. One was a beautiful well-racked buck.
But there would be no deer this morning in this rain and chill. Even the horse corrals were deserted, except for one. There was a single horse, in a green blanket, huddled against the outer fence. At first I though it was tethered there, but what I took as a hitch was simply a diagonal crossbar on the fence. The horse was just standing there, a lone figure in the morning rain. Well, not entirely alone. I placed down and there was a gray fox standing staring the horse's way.
The fox sensed me, turned and looked at me for a moment. We peered at each other, then the fox run beneath the corral fence in with the lone horse. These two stood together getting wet, as I became more concerned with the horse. Why was it the only horse in all the corrals? Had it done something wrong deserving punishment? Had it simply been overlooked. It was such a dreary, miserable morning. I had to know, so I turned around and humbled my way back to the stables.
When I got back I saw a woman cross the back paddock and enter a door in the rear. I followed her path and went thought that door. It led into a kind of hallway and to my right was a door. It looked like an office behind the door, so I pushed down the latch and opened it a crack. No one was in there. I called "hello" a couple time and from a door to the office rear bounded a large, barking black dog, who felt I shouldn't be there.
Around a corner, from upon a shelf, peeked a black and white cat. I wonder if it was Hemingway.
At this point a young woman came through that other door. She put the dog back there so he would stop barking. I explained about the horse, saying I was just curious why it was along out there in the rain. There was no accusation in my tone or demeanor.
"He lives outside," she said. There's a shed back there and there is another horse."
"Oh, is there a shed? I didn't see the other horse."
We walked outside together and I could see the shed to the back of that corral. The horse still stood where it had been. I did not see the fox anymore.
"Thank you," I said. "I just wondered. I just get concerned with the animals." It isn't just animals, of course, I question anything which seems unusual, a lifelong habit, I fear. Better to speak up and be thought a silly old man or a fool than ignore everything and maybe not be a help where help is needed.
As I departed the stables to continue my soggy walk, I saw the second horse come out of the shed and go over aside that first one. They were ready for Christmas. The original horse wore a green horse blanket; this one wore a red one. On a day like this morning we could use a little Christmas.