Tomorrow’s forecast reads, “High of 56, and rain.” Severe weather outlooks have been posted.
Beware: Winter ahead.
But tonight, I can see the moon. She pours silver over the horses’ backs, and I can just make out the stamp of my saddle, still etched on Consolation’s coat.
I’ve ridden nearly every evening these past weeks, changing straight from skirts to breeches the moment I get home. It is not Indian summer, for our nights fall just shy of frost, but each day passes in a certain shade of bright. Like diamonds they glisten all around, deceptive, visibly warm yet sharp to touch.
Tonight, the air is crisper still, keen as a knife blade sheathed in the horizon ringed with clouds. Breeze clatters the aspen, shocking against ice-blue sky. Along the roadside, tawny stalks of corn beseech the rain that will come tomorrow and stain their leaves with gray.
Our rides have been slow, of late. We’ve been soaking autumn deep beneath our skins. But today, we fly. There isn’t speed like this, nor grace, in a thousand fish or swooping birds!
This ride, of course, is bittersweet. It feels like pulling tomato vines and basil in October, a heartbeat before they wither black with cold. Their scent is redolent of summer. It lingers on my hands, and I am loath to rinse it off come dark.
In just that way, I sense the final moments of sunlight on bare arms, of Consolation’s sweat on ungloved palms. Perhaps she feels it, too. She is so powerful, so eager, I cannot not bear to capture her by heel or rein. She flows smooth as water over stones; I am nothing to her glory.
We canter miles until, at last, the sun catches up her train of heat and plunges to earth. Consolation asks for her head. I give it gladly, and together we chase the final, golden drop of summer, borne on a gallop to the very edge of day.