yourdeer: (pull)

Sometimes, horse is comfortable. There is respite, relaxed head angled towards the ground with eyelashes drooping close to one another, and there is high-spirited energy and determination, and there is strength for another’s need. But frequently, horse is irritated, angry, tired, panicked, overworked; it is an intolerant nag with thick legs, a heavy nose, and a poor temper. When I am horse, I am a huge animal – a creature that belongs in front of a plow or cart with straining legs or heavy clattering hooves, rather than one of flowing mane and gracefully bent trotting legs. I am not frequently a fun horse to be around; I am fussy and likely to kick, and will only grudgingly enjoy the pleasure of the curry-comb or carrot. But when I do, I will sigh heavily, close my eyes, and lean into it, grateful.

Anger, irritation, overwork, panic, and yet determination and pleasure to serve: I am horse in these states because other animals don’t fit the way I feel these things.

My anger does not have sharp teeth or claws or an agile, twisting body. It has flat, mean teeth, blunt hoofs, and weight, and sudden, unexpectedness. It is not predatory – it simply desires to rid itself all that is in its way. It will not rip or tear or devour; instead, it will bludgeon, and it will crush.

My irritation is the sharp slam of hoof on stall wall. It is the likelihood of lashing out with a swift and bruising kick or flat-toothed bite. Don’t come near me, don’t touch me, don’t make me do. It mistrusts. It has flattened-back ears and locked thick knees and obstinacy.

Horse is the foul mood of overwork, of being overburdened. It is the difficulty to relax after being demanded to do what benefits others. Though I need to feel useful and take great pleasure in it, there is that point where I balk, resistant to being useful for a moment longer. It is the indignant squeal, the little tricks to make it harder – puffing up to sabotage the tightening of the girth, keeping my head out of reach of the bridle, nearly squashing your foot without a thought. There is the bitter anger at those who should be working alongside me, but aren’t, and the open rage at the lazy thing pulling in the traces beside me.

There is panic, too, at being too crowded or faced with those unthreatening threatening things that come as sudden changes. It is a rearing, bucking sort that nearly topples itself and will damage others as much as it will break me. Though my body remains still, internally I rise and plunge, wild and sweating with white-rimmed, rolling eyes. It breaks when the crowd is gone and I am in the fresh air or home, or when I am spent, legs shaking, head down and done.

In these times, when I am the horse that is nag, it is comforting to remember that I am human, though somewhere inside there is an unpleasant and unhappy equine. I remember, when I am one human body packed tightly among many on the commute home, that I can will myself to stand still; picturing what I would be if I were the kicking, rearing horse reminds me that in my human body, I can remain as I am without hurting myself or those around me. I can quell my panic and wait to get home. The horse that I am would kill without qualms or intention, and most likely end up with broken legs myself – as a human, I can grit my teeth until “Next Stop: Washington Square” and then rush through the crosswalk and home.

 

            But besides all this there is determination and hard work. There is the big, hearty energy to give to another, to take directions and leap forward with them, to pull with all my strength with the result of joy and satisfaction, shared. There is the plodding work, the steady, persevering, low-headed forward movement towards the end goal of rest or praise. When I return home, it is the comfort of cozy stall or pasture, of my own space where I can do as I like, whether it is to roll without dignity or to sleep or to frolic. There is the feeling that horse was first remembered from, when deer pulling carts didn’t make sense, but horse, yes – heavier hooves and a more purposeful movement forward, carrying the purpose of others besides myself. It is, too, the rollicking carrying of big love, the wealth of my heart in the wagon on which perch the people I love.


epsilon_pegasi: (giraffe: to the dark)

What giraffe sees is far away.

Giraffe belongs to the open spaces. Wide and lacking coverage, the giraffe feels safe only where all is visible. Above it, and breathing it in. Aware, vigilant seer who is always seen. There is no hiding when you’re a giraffe. Always seeking threats, never relaxing the aerial visions. The giraffe fears only what it cannot see, too many lions to focus on, what unknowns lurk in shadows and bushes. A giraffe must know. But the threats, when found, are either far away or close enough to kick. Cautious of the world though it may be, the giraffe is above-it-all in more than a literal sense, feeling almost otherworldly in its consciousness. Detached.

Eyes wide on the horizon, stilts walk without feeling the ground, giraffe lives in the treetops while the hooves remain earthbound. But for the tickle of grass against the ankles, the world of under-foot is too far to know, or care. Giraffe moves as if levitating, drifting through life without attachments. The giraffe does not form lasting bonds, groups being loose and ever-changing. A giraffe may make company of zebras, or birds even, but isn’t prone to kinship.

Neck is more than height. It is for touching, a way to communicate desire or competition. A strong appendage that will take beatings of bones and poundings of flesh. Feel the air blowing around it, catching scents from above, and hearing the distance. Blood rushes through it, pounding, for war, for love, for food. It is the life-giver to a giraffe. The tongue extends onwards towards leaves, wrapping around rough branches, taking even the thorns, which the mouth is hard enough to devour without feeling their pricks. Many things to the giraffe are without feeling.

The Egyptians made the hieroglyphic of “prophecy” in the shape of a giraffe, and depicted them in tombs as a means to foretell danger, because its keen vision saw beyond the horizons of others. In The Book of Going Forth by Day, the giraffe is said to be a demon that guards travelers in the underworld. They were kept as pets by many cultures, and the giraffe, though wild, can take captivity in stride, not being a creature willful for wildness.

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Radiant Obscurities

May 2013

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