There is no sound but the shuffling of hooves through leaves. No birds twitter, no frogs bleep. All the world seems to settle into waiting for winter to arrive.
Sight and smell overwhelm. The perfume of the wood, freshly fallen and turned leaves, releasing the last of their summer vitality in fresh bursts of woodsy essence surrounds us. I breathe it in. Mushrooms form a bottom note, enveloped by rich humus and the dense, sweet rot of fallen trees. The topnote, the crisp, cool breeze of autumn, floating woodsmoke and apples.
The mountains, nearby and in the far distance, are glazed with the vivid yellow-range of flaming fallen leaves. We step through them, horses walking with care, breathing softly. This is a slow walk and requires little effort.
I mark the moments with mindfulness, and note the crystal clarity that comes with the solitary hack. Of course, I am not alone, Mille is there. . The two of us are not alone, either. I think of the history that has passed here, and imagine my ancestors, the native Americans, running silent and barefoot through these hills, and the Rebel soldiers marching to battle and then the lucky ones, in defeat, back home. In comparison to the land my friend White Horse Pilgrim inhabits, recorded human history here is a blip on the screen. But as we stride through its valleys, carpeted by centuries of leaves, we feel it.
I recently read a post by White Horse Pilgrim, Simplicity, in which the author expounds flawlessly on the subject of the solitary hack.
I like the way in which I can concentrate on my relationship with Doru in a natural environment, out in the countryside where the wind blows through our hair beneath a great wide sky. Looking where to put his feet whilst negotiating a variety of terrain keeps the big roan stallion alert and fit. The sunlight buoys the spirits of each of us.
Visit White Horse Pilgrim for stunning writing and fascinating history lessons.