Sunday, June 20, 2010

Little Letter to Equus

Horse, you are haunting. Not because you are a conditioned idea of fantasy and romance; not because of your "soulful", big brown eyes and brushable, braidable hair; not even because of your running and jumping and rolling, that "step or two from freedom" thing. People don't know what they want freedom from and they expect you to tell them?

No. You are a freakish embodiment of paradox, of heaven and hell, of chaos and peace. This is nature; I suppose it is what draws everyone to you despite their lack of really knowing why: you express freely what they are, what they can be if they step out of their own way. So of course, of course they want you. But you scare them, too - being reality and all. It is hard to face you and play with you as you really are. 

So then most people spend some time blundering around in the dark with you. Facing you is too weird, so they do all sorts of weird things to make it seem like they are reaching you. They try to perfect you, mechanize you, play games with you, dress you up and sanitize you. And suddenly you're out of sorts - often in a way that closely embodies the very qualities the human likes least about themselves. Suddenly you are so frustrating to the human and they can't figure why. Why? You force them to look - whether they understand that or not. So frustrating. They wanted you to be this oasis. They wanted to parade their achievement of mastery over you to someone. They want to run away from the world on your back, which of course will never work because you are the very thing they try to run from. 

Now they must erase you. You are a memory of a lost time, a lost wisdom; you make them ill because you reflect their ugliness, which they believe can't be true. So they try to shatter the mirror. They hit you. Twitch you. Sore you. Confine you. Force you. Scare you. Break you. Tame you. Slice your tongue. Tie your mouth shut. Crank the noseband until your bones break. Tie your head up until you can't help but carry it low. Pull your head in until you stop breathing and behave. This is mastery. This is skill. This is art. This is love. 

If I did the same to their child, or their aging parent, or their beloved, or their friend, I would be sadistic, sick, a torturer, inhumane, criminally insane. What, it's different because you outweigh them? Because you don't speak English? Because you regularly kick and bite your herd mates? And supposedly they revere you? Maybe they should revere themselves a little bit...

If you live with someone who still possesses the gall and the snobbery and old-fashioned stupidity to treat you as an animal rather than an oversized, retarded, human infant, to be firmly realistic and ever more subtle, to treat you as a working partner with a mind, to develop your strengths and utterly forget your faults, to become more like you, to desire nothing you cannot provide, you most likely don't know what I'm talking about. Long may it stay that way. 

Otherwise, fate save you from love and reverence, as it is nowadays. 

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