We laid old Tom ‘Bones’ to rest.
Taber came with his excavator and dug out a grave next to Jason and Luke. Buried with the rest of his family -save for Tinkerbell- the last in a line of Clydesdales. We stood in a circle and told stories about Tom, how he was a leader and a loner. Strong wiled; even in his passing, he laid down near Tinker and Victor and quietly exhaled. Did it his way.
A big, red gala apple was broken up and buried. Oats were tossed across the mound. Courtenay read the lyrics to Jethro Tull’s ‘Heavy Horses’ song. Memories were shared. Whiskey was passed around. Even though we’ve known Tom’s health has been slowly fading it still comes as a shock. There’s a hollow below my sternum.
The night before Jamie and I were watching him eat the apples around the back of the bathhouse and pondering how in his crippled state he managed to outlive his herd, how he still got around so well. He shot up the hillside to the higher apple branches where the fruit was sweeter.
We will always miss you, Bones.
Sunny and Jack are at Adam’s. Spike and Frenchie have new homes. Victor and Tinkerbell are pastured in the dry corral. Endo in the Timber Barn field. I’m still grieving Jason’s death this past winter and Luke the fall before. Tom is the only horse free grazing. Grass is thigh high everywhere. I’ve been using the scythes but yesterday was so hot while I was cutting down waist deep grass I have blisters all over my hands. Only one has broke so far.
A hatch of frogs are living in one of the showers.
The day off we met Liv and Jesse in town for espresso. Liv asked how my week had been, how rehearsals were going. I said it’s all good but I’ve been mostly by myself cutting trails. She looked pensively above my head and asked if ‘cutting trails’ was a theatre term? We laughed and I replied I literally mean cutting backstage paths in the woods so the actors can make entrances along the hillside. Our theatre is the forest and every show is site specific. Along with my stage management gear; I pack my carpentry tool belt, gloves, boots for working with horses, gum boots, a head lamp, high powered flashlight, rope, a small axe, a fold-able pruning saw and a sharp pair of hand shears.
Spending afternoons in the shaded woods was a sweet reprieve from the blazing sun, ten degrees hotter than average. Though we are a bit shielded with the haze of smoke from 194 forest fires currently burning in the province, yesterday everyone got sun beaten. Dinner on the porch was sweaty and lazy. Jamie said everything seemed funnier than usual. Jason and I had claimed the only two chairs with backs. Cars were being organized and bathing suits gathered for a swim in the river but I said I wasn’t going despite being covered in grime. Jenn said she’s never seen me come along to the waterwheel. I said I don’t really like water and sitting on a beach isn’t my ideal activity. I’d rather be in the woods hiking towards cooler air. Jimbo standing on the porch, perpetually smiling and swaying said ‘That’s because you’re a lone wolf’ and he walked off to the paint room.
We start rehearsing the second act today.