The woman doesn’t make a good first impression.
Her hair is dry as straw under a ball cap from
Tractor Supply. Wearing a stiff barn coat and
men’s muck boots that make a hollow flap as
she walks with a limping rhythm, the full bucket
bumping her knee each stride. Her hand is thick,
nails dirty, her little finger frozen in a dainty curve
as if holding a porcelain teacup instead of twenty-
five pounds of alfalfa mush. She knows she should
wear gloves to ease the load, to protect from rusty
nails and rope burn. She knows better, but for the
moment the black bay mare nickers so deep and low
that her boots must stop their shuffle. No choice, the
woman’s hand reaches for the warm place under the
elder mare’s mane, raw fingers resting a moment on
smooth hair. Still majestic, if only in each other’s eye.
Anna Blake for Relaxed & Forward
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