The girl sits on the bank of the creek watching the mare. She watches as the mare picks her way along the edge, step by step, tearing new spring grass and clover with her wide flat teeth. The girl is silent but the mare knows she is there.
The hooves slosh slowly through ankle-deep water, mud, algae and sand. Flies buzz the girl, the horse, the algae. A slight breeze whisks them away, but they return.
The girl is alone with the horse; this is how it is every day: the girl comes and sits by the creek to watch the horse and feel something that she only feels here. Sometimes she lies in the dirt and leaves and wishes she could be the horse.
Sometimes the horse lies in the sand to sun and the girl will lie close and smile because the horse groans under her own weight (or maybe with pleasure.)
Sometimes the mare and the girl play; they chase and rear and prance. They laugh, each in their own way.
More often than not, though, they are silent together; the girl watching the mare or the mare touching the girl with her long tickly whiskers.
The mare is wild and that is why the girl loves to watch her. The mare has not been "broken" which makes her different than the other horses on the ranch. The mare is wild and perfect, after all, why change her?
The girl does not ride the horse, there is no saddle, no bridle, no bit or reins. There is just girl and horse and the creek under the mesa. And there is the wide quiet land, as wild as the horse.
Sometimes, when the girl is lying next to the water (and the mare is nearby) she considers never getting up, never leaving. She considers just letting the earth have her back. She thinks the world of humans is no place for her. When she is thinking these things, she is lying in the sand next to the creek. Leaves and sticks are tangled in her hair, insects and dirt cling to her clothes and skin. She does not move. Sometimes she cries and the tears mix with the sand and mud and creek water.
The world of humans is loud and busy and confusing; watching the mare is quiet and slow and simple. Being in the dirt and near the water and looking up at the mesa seems natural. Maneuvering in the world of humans with TV and credit cards and ambition does not sit well with the girl.
The girl knows that she must always be able to watch the mare eat clover on the edge of the creek. She must lie on the earth and let the vines grow into her hair. She must drink from the same creek the mare drinks from.
She cannot forget these things or she will be just a shell of the girl she once was; her spirit left behind on the bank of the creek and in the eyes of the wild mare.