a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
After consoling him through several bouts of timidity, a correspondent for the Manchester Sporting Chronicle, having decided against the other way round, brought an oculist to his horse.
The problem was found quick enough, and the two men set about constructing a solution.
At first, the horse was a little surprised, backing up, staring straight ahead, very slowly swiveling his muzzle left and right, stopping at intervals between. After a pause, the sound he emitted was as close to a gasp as a horse has ever come. The concave spectacles fitted over the eyes allowed him to see anything and everything, short-sightedness corrected and all the world alight.
For the rest of the day, the horse cantered and jumped, traversing previously troublesome spaces with ease, each blink of the eye evaporating his timidity until it was gone, replaced with a bold adventurousness, yearning to explore.
That night, when the spectacles were removed and placed in a special box for safe-keeping, lest they get bent out of shape while the horse rested — horses only nap when standing up, deep sleep requires lying down — the horse dreamt about his day in sharp focus. No longer a blur of faded colors and frightening shapes, shifting and melding into slashing claws and gnashing teeth, it became a knowable place, every flower, blade of grass, criss-crossed slice of hay separate and unique, its own identifiable entity.
In his dream, the horse’s jaw worked back and forth as he nibbled on stalks of alfalfa, now distinguishable from the clover that often made his belly hurt, the sun a fiery thing in a deep endless blue of sky. Soon he saw the ghostly image of stampeding horses over great waves of white in the cumulonimbus clouds warning of incoming rain and thunder. He was back to the stable before any of the people, the fire of the sun snuffed out, blue sky blackened, and stood for hours, following the heartbeats of rain as they dropped, lub-dub lub-dub into forming puddles,rippling like stars exploded.
In the morning, the horse opened his eyes, stretched his knobby legs and stood, after a long moment remembering all the boundless beauty he’d witnessed, both inside and outside his head. Looking over the half-door of the stable, he gave a soft, sad whinny at the world, reverted back to blurs and shadows, holding phantoms and monsters and danger and now, a moving thing, shifting closer and closer, the sink of boots over squelches of mud. Suddenly, a hand slides through his forelock, a whisper drifts past his ear, a pleasant tightness closes around his eyes and his master is there, mouth upended in a smile. The horse’s whinny transforms into a snort of joy as he brings his feet up and down – one-two-three-four – one-two-three-four – and the master’s voice is laughing and a fresh batch of hay is in front of him and all is right and good again.
That morning and every morning from then on, when it was time for pasturing, five, ten, twenty minutes after their first daily greeting, the correspondent for the Manchester Sporting Chronicle would find his horse, fixed in a state of unhurried happiness, gazing out at the whole wide world, never tiring of the sight.