Friday, January 11, 2008

Foxhunt Friday: Hilltopping from the Turnpike

The photo above doesn't have anything to do with yesterday's hunting, but I've always really loved the lived-in look of that barn on the corner.

Yesterday was colder than Tuesday and Wednesday were, so I was a little worried about how Joshua would behave. A cold snap sometimes makes a horse crazy or excited. But he was a perfect gentleman for the whole meet. We met at 10 am (gotta love those later meets) at a farm on the Snickersville Turnpike past Sam Fred Road. The country really opens out down there, with large, more manicured farms and more stone walls than you find over our way.

The field was a good Thursday size, about 4 in the first flight and maybe 10 hilltoppers. The two old men on chestnuts were there with their flasks, constantly asking, "have the ladies (point with opened flask here) up front been adequately served?" They do this on Thursdays instead of golf, and one of them has a wife who is honestly named "Queenie". She is very nice.

All this is to say that there was the usual constant chatter from one saddle to another. But there was also a moment when we came up a hill and checked on the top and everything seemed so very clear and still. Almost transcendent. Then an airplane passed high over head and we looked up to trace its path and then almost immediately back down as we heard hound music in the woods below us.

The pack chased two foxes at once, moving in the same direction. Then one fox split off and ran right beside us in the woods below a dam. We heard him (bigger than a squirrel, smaller than a deer) but didn't see him or know it was him until the pack doubled back in our direction and we ran that fox for a good long while. A run like that is joy on the wing.

Those are the two moments that I hope to remember from yesterday: the still, clear one followed by the free, winging one. I think those are the types of moments that I seek in my life as a whole, too. Moments when I'm myself, in focus, immersed in a world fully realized.

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