Bosque County, Texas, USA
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Editor’s Pick
JULY 13, 2011 12:30PM

Star's Colt

Rate: 40 Flag


     The neighbor offered his pasture as the time approached for the mare to foal. His place had lush grass and a water tank next to the fence. He said he would check on her every day, give her extra oats each morning, and let us know.
     We missed her presence in the yard, but we had other things to do, other escapes of imagination. Our days were laid out so that morning chores were followed by adventures, a quick lunch when the bell rang, reading during the heat of the day, then get a couple more hours of play before suppertime. We had started a fort in the back yard under some trees, a sorry low thing that required ducking down to move through. Besides getting to saw and hammer some scraps of wood, the best thing about that fort was defending it from Indian attack.
     We'd been dividing up sides during breakfast, and I was hoping to play something other than the captured prisoner for a change, when we heard a knock at the screen door. It was our neighbor, and that meant something! He never came by in the morning, mostly just waved or spoke over the fence if he was nearby.
     "Star's had her foal," he said calmly, but there was a crinkling at the corner of his eyes that told more than his words. We jumped to our feet like we'd received simultaneous electric jolts, looked at Mama for permission, and saw her nod.
     What happened next is still a blur. Although I know it happened, I don't know _how_ it happened. We must have burst past the neighbor through the door, in what kind of order, I cannot say. I am clearly aware that we were in a tight pack, running hard through the front yard.

     We had two choices on the route we would take:

1) Logical First Step, Illogical Follow-Up Steps

• cross the cattle guard at the gate
• cross a 2-lane paved road
• cross a tricky fence with barbed wire and briar bushes
• cross a fence into yard and dog and debris and another fence
• cross another road
• arrive at the final fence to Star's pasture.

2) Illogical First Step, Logical Follow-Up Steps

• cross our own creek (down a 10 foot ravine, broad jump the creek landing in sandy mud, and up a 10 foot ravine)
• cross a clear fence
• cross a 2-lane paved road
• cross a pasture
• cross another clear fence
• cross another road
• arrive at the final fence to Star's pasture.

     No words had been exchanged, we were almost blind and mute with purpose. Like stampeding cattle, we simultaneously chose the illogical first step, knowing the rest of the route would be smoother, and therefore quicker.

     There was a  moment there, when we reached the edge of the creek's ravine, when we might have faltered to scramble down, to leap, and to go back up again. But that is not what happened. Instead, we flew across the entire 20 foot obstacle, without pause. Maybe our legs continued to pump in the air, but I swear our feet did not touch the earth.

     Our arrival at the fence to Star's pasture was like the lighting of birds, gentle and quiet, calm and reassuring for the new mother and her little one. Knock-kneed and wobbly, shiny and black, the colt stood bravely. He was marked on his forehead by a white blaze, and one fetlock was socked. Star gazed at us with liquid eye before fondly drinking in the sight of the little colt. Morning mist still hung over the wet grass, and no other day had ever been so grand.

     That night, at suppertime, after Daddy had paid his respects to the little one and his mother, we discussed and decided to name him, "Coronado." It seemed fitting that such a black colt would share his name with a Spanish conquistador who had explored Texas for fame and fortune.

     We didn't speak of that moment at the creek, my brothers and I. Maybe we worried it could be taken back from us if spoken aloud. I think if you ask them now, the corners of their eyes will crinkle, and with that, you'll just have to take my word for it.


images © diana ani stokely 2011

(click on the photo to enlarge)


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I was rewarded with a long, long wait for this to load. Diana, if there was nothing else I knew you by than these words you've shared in this story it would be enough for a commitment of friendship. It's so beautiful, with tangents flying of like a July sparkler. The smell of a horse, the family united, the magic of flight, the joy of life and in celebrating a new life, and indeed a life lived well and simply before what our current obsessions require...it's all just so lovely.
Family , new life and beautiful words and photos by me lovely friend .
"Morning mist still hung over the wet grass, and no other day had ever been so grand." I picture you and your brothers, galloping like excited colts yourselves, to the pasture. You capture the sheer joy of being a kid so wonderfully; I echo what bbd says: it's all just so lovely.
This is without a doubt my favorite of your posts. It is so very beautiful. ~r
If you have ever run across my blog you will know how I feel about horses...they are special creatures and this was a very special story seen through the eyes of a child. Congrats on the EP.
Hey Barry, you are welcome to come by any time, old friend. It's been 3-4 months since my last EP, I think you brought me some luck *wink*. I took the photos of the new foals last week, and it just brought back that memory so clearly, I had to write it down.

Thanks kindly, Linda. New life is so pretty, eh?

Hey Margaret, thanks for saying that, "capture the sheer joy of being a kid" is almost funny, because I am just me in the memory, not a kid in my mind at all, but yeah, I guess I was then.

Well, Joan, this being your favorite is kinda special to me. I appreciate you, you know.

Torman, I remember reading how your Mrs. hurt her leg something to do with horses. We haven't had horses since Star and Coronado, but I do so love to see them well cared for. I have every intention of writing a scathing expose about the over-crowding of some horses near my home. But that will be a post that hurts to see and to read.
The anticipation of childhood and being driven to experience something so wonderful. The joy of seeing new life, always a miracle we recognize and need to see. Thank you for sharing it so beautifully.

Rated earlier and comment sent to cyberspace.
Sometimes the bold way is the best way. Certainly was this time. Marvelous story. Your visuals were so vivid and the emotions so real I seemed to be sailing over that creek with you guys.
L'Heure, thank you for returning through the slog to re-comment, I appreciate you.

Matt, we did indeed sail over that creek. I have never had that experience again, but I am not complaining. I am glad I was able to bring you along with my words.
I'll definitely take your word for it. I'll echo what others have said too. You capture the child's/children's experience of "simultaneous electric jolts" followed by the gentle observation of Star, her colt and the quiet interlude with each other.
Now that's magical thinking in practice. Great piece!
This tugged at my heart, so good. I'm so glad you added pictures too.r
I am horse-crazy and crazy about this wonderful story. It really uplifted me.
I always knew you could fly.
Scarlett, Thank You! It seemed almost incongruous that such a mad dash could be followed by such quiet reverence. It really was a perfect day.

Bell, it was magical, and naturally occurring at that! Thanks.

hugs, me - the photos were taken last week near here. Our neighbors about 3 miles away have a wonderful herd of mares and foals. I looked at the little ones, and had to tell you the story.

Miguela, I am happy to see any animal who is cared for and loved, as these horses so obviously are. Thanks for reading.

Well, Linnnn, you knew something _I_ didn't. But that's rather cool.
This was so great. I can picture the two of you, in concert, running. Great Post!
Thanks, scanner, although we were 5 in total. You remind me I should have illuminated that better, and I thank you. It is really great when the reader can feel right in the scene, so I feel pretty good about that, thanks.
A friend just had a calf born on her farm. Two litters of kittens is about the extent of my experience. There's a Robert Frost poem about the birth of a calf, with the mother licking it so hard (or the young so weak as it stands up) that the calf wobbles in the field with the force of its mother's tongue.

A grand beginning beautifully told. A fine choice in names for this magnificent beasts.
Whose eyes would not crinkle when there's a colt?
That's a sweet image you shared of Frost's, Con, thanks. Somewhere in my old photos (pre-digital) I have a photo of a cow licking a cat. Okay, not the same. But there is that strong tongue in evidence. I felt real proprietary when my cat had her kittens, it counts!

Dr. Spudman, thanks! My dad gets the credit for suggesting the fine name for the colt. It did fit him, admirably. Since you mention this being "a fine start" it suggests that I continue the story, huh. I will put some thought into it, thank you.
greenheron, oh yes. you got that right.

I have almost no basis, from my own childhood, on which to relate to this... which makes this, for me, like some sort of beautiful fable, or fantasy...

...perhaps my own childhood memories of sailing on an old fashioned, thirty-foot, gaff rigged, wooden iceboat... thundering across the frozen solid surface of an inland sea, in winter, under a cloud of sail, would do the same for you... create wonder...

What we do for each other... what you did for me, thanks dianaani!
Interrobang, we definitely need a face-to-face. I looked up 30 ft gaff rig ice boat, and found hardwater sailing sites. It looked like a skiff on skis. No, I cannot really imagine being in a place so cold that you invent such sport. So, this means you need to write all about it please, especially the thundering over an inland sea. Is this an image from your childhood?

I am pleased beyond measure that you liked my story, and that it seemed fantastic to you. Thank you kindly.
Beautiful. The name and the memory. Crinkle at the corner of the eyes here.
Thank goodness for the EP! Well deserved, Di.
Excellent in all respects Di....
A luminous and moving reminiscence.
Hey rita, it's been long since my last notice by the editors, but I am thankful they saw this one. I appreciate your coming by.

Oh Mission, I saw your own photo essay this morning, rated it, and fell asleep again before commenting, I will do that now. Thanks for reading.

Monsieur Chariot, your kind words are stored away within my heart.
How wonderful. The foal, the kids, the pure enthusiasm. And the peace of the photo whispch says so much
What a beautifully told magical moment. I love that you all could contain yourself so much that you looked to your mother for permission, the detailed route options, the magnificent paragraph that begins "There was a moment there," the frank acknowledgment that "no other day had ever been so grand," and the closing crinkle. This was just lovely.
happy to see this on the cover, though it was too long delayed to get there. at least it will be up on the weekend, and perhaps longer, so that more people will see your beautiful talents as an artist and a storyteller. This is one of the best examples on OS of a writer being able to transport a reader through time and space to live and see through the author's eyes. I've said to Ashley/WTTS that some of her pieces should be read on KERA (well, some of the more profound of her declarations would have to be slightly edited) and this is also a perfect example of a narrative vignette that ought to be read there as well. It's simply that good, as are you.
Dan, thanks man! It is that time of year to see all the new little ones.

Spike, I appreciate that you come by to read and comment. The photo is what drives me to write. Otherwise, I would just be an old lady with a slide projector, I guess.

Pilgrim - You make me smile, that you love the story so much. I worried about the details of our choices of route, but you wouldn't have gotten the impact of our turn to the creek without those details. Thank you for being so kind.

Barry - Well! If you hadn't said the post was displayed on the cover today, I might have missed it entirely! I am unusually happy about it. Your idea of reading aloud makes me think. My drawl is pretty fierce, which might make people feel sorry for me, *snigger*. You must introduce me to the person you call "Ashley/WTTS" so that I can read her stuff too. You are so nice to support and encourage me. I've been writing here over a year, and never had such a response before. Maybe I am learning some skills. Thank you dearly.
Barry, I figured out that "Ashley/WTTS" is the OS user known as "Writer to the Stars" by looking through your favorites until I found her. I remember reading her stuff a year ago or so, and will do so again. Thanks for the plug.
I'm thinking you already know Ashley/Writer to the Stars. She has a voice that is true through her toes down deep into the soil of her East Dallas neighborhood and beyond. If you don't know her/of her, go on over and see for yourself, any of her stories would do to get you hooked.


There's a fellow whose name escapes me at the moment. He has a guest spot once in a while on KERA and hails from Waxahachie or thereabouts. His voice is that quintessential west Texas drawl you hear when someone actually speaks out of the side of their mouth without much lip movement going on, so I'm thinking that the radio patois has a precedent.
I see we cross posted. I was waiting a bit to hit the Post this comment button because I was hoping the name of the fellow from Waxahachie would come to me, but even a Googling couldn't spark the neurons and the KERA website is atrocious in it's general lack of accessible information. But I think your voice is as good as his (writing/vocal both I'm sure).
Yup. EP. Thanks.
I followed bbd.
I never lurk.

My daughter always loved horses.
I was sad when She was later wooed.
The Shetland Pony was `Polka Dot.
The Tennessee Walker was`Pegasus.
Then She has had poodles, beagles,
Names: Lilac, Tomorrow, Ring-o,
Cute cat, Goat People's Barn Cat,
and I wish She still rode a horse-
drawn Amish Buggy or Plow Ox.
I Love her the way she always is.
I showed her your gourd blog.
People can see your website.
My daughter wants to plant:`
Gourds, Rye, Pumpkin Squash,
Turban winter squash, Zinnias,
Sunflowers, and make beet soup.
Barry, maybe John Henry Faulk?

Art! I think of you as a poet in your office, and now I find you grow beets, had all manner of horses, a daughter with a garden, and all manner of dogs. Thanks for showing her the gourds, too. I am glad you come read, and not just lurk!
Oh, what a gorgeous mom and baby! I grew up with horses and will always love them. Great post, thanks for sharing!
Thank _you_ Christina. Who doesn't love horses? There are quiet a few where I live, but not all are well cared for, and it hurts to see their suffering. At least there is this wonderful ranch nearby, I counted 7 foals yesterday afternoon.
Good God Almighty, Diana, I have been trying to catch up and just now picked up on this entry you posted, an Editor's Pick and rightly so. This is pure Texas, and I loved it.
You captured this magical event through your childhood prism so expertly, and the lists of logical and illogical routes are the perfect details that a child would do, esp. one who is tired of having to play captured prisoner and longs to be a strategist.
Welcome back, Brassawe, I missed you. I am surprisingly pleased at your, "pure Texas" comment. The EP was a nice gift, eh?

Seer, I am just glad I ever had that experience that one time. I am content. Thank you for sharing the experience with me.
Oh dirndl, you noticed! I thought that - even though I had said I wanted to play any role but captured prisoner again - that maybe now it would have been heard. But, like that day, the new foal overtook our day, our fates. But not you! Thanks for that.

And the choice of path to start our race was so sudden, unquestioned, but startling. If we had been forced to clamber down and up again, it would have taken too long, so we didn't!
20 feet...lovely image of you and your brother leaping. I've had the sensation and dreamscapes of flying.

I'm clueless as to horses, but you gave me enough of your world and our common world of childhood that I could stay with the whole story. Lovely lines, and pictures.

Looking forward to reading more.
Back to rate...silly me, should have done it the first time
Welcome here, mango sherbet! I am glad you came along for the ride, thanks.

Dan, I appreciate you, with or without ratings.
Simple wings on the feet of the children of the gods, rushing to do a welcome errand.
Yes, as I mentioned earlier dianaani, I think the closest I come to empathy with your narrative, would be having read All Things Great and Small, by James Herriot, when I too was young(er).

Respecting your "thread", but since you asked... here's a shot:


I think it was a sister ship, and at that age, the frozen river did, indeed, seem like an inland sea; youthful imagination ;

something that you are still full of dianaani!

Felicitaciónes ~
sheila, it is a fable! (is that where "fabulous" comes from?) thank you.

Interrobang. I am learning more about ice boats. If you were in a sister ship of the Rocket, you were in a behemoth class vessel! I definitely want to hear the story. Please do tell. They race these boats and post results at North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club .
Absolutely beautiful! Words and photo. I am so envious of you, what wonderful memories to have.
A wonderful tribute to new life. A new beginning always brings an explosion of hope, which you've captured gorgeously, Diana.
Thanks, shutterbug, but don't be envious, get even! :o)

Leon! I'm grateful for your comment, 'explosion of hope." I hope to keep remembering some good stuff.
Beautiful story. Your description lead me along with you. Isn't horrible when you get stuck always being the one tied up. My brother always tried to make me the bad guys. Grrr.

Your colt sounds absolutely beautiful.

Be well and write on!
Took awhile to get here but I just had to as your description of youth of how they think, how you thought and then sailed across the ravine is absolutely perfect and I needed to share that with you. I enjoyed this so much and how cool to get an EP for it!!
i'm so late getting here, what with the servers so slow i gave up several times, couldn't get a rate to stick even with restarts, blahblah - that all the commenters have said all the perfect words. it's a beautiful, wonderful piece, diana, that puts the reader *right* there, running the shortcut with you all. yay on the EP. and i love the little colt's name, an island (an isthmus, really) right here where i live, a word that rolls off the tongue.
auntynae, hello and welcome! you and i know the indignity of being prisoners to brothers. since I was the only girl with those 4 brothers, i really had no vote. however, since I ran as fast as the rest of them that day, they didn't take the time to prevent my coming.

Hey lunchlady! I am glad you liked the story. We did sail across that creek, it was such a magical feeling.

Candice! I am pleased that you have extraordinary patience and that you wanted to comment and rate so badly. Thank you for that. I didn't know about the Coronado Island/Isthmus, but the name has power. That colt was exceptional. Also, your coming along with us, right *there* on the shortcut, just made it even better.
After reading this I remember how it was, living and feeling the way I did as a kid. Thank you for that.
Magnificent. I was avoiding this because I feared a bad ending. You capture childhood with such amazing clarity...every detail is perfect, and led me to the time when our feet did not touch the ground.
nana, thanks. I read so many good posts on this site, and so many blow me away with the thought and research and wit. But, when I sit down to write, this is what comes, unbidden. I accept it, fitfully. I am glad it does something, like remind you of childhood days, hopefully happy ones.

I appreciate your coming by to read, OcularNervosa, thanks.

aim! I miss your impish face. I am glad you overcame your fear of unhappy endings to read this. I am planning to write about some horses who are in overcrowded conditions, but will try to warn you away with a sad title. Did your feet not touch the ground, too? It was such an amaaaaaazing feeling, wasn't it?
This is lovely, Diana. I see and remember so much of my own childhood in this.
Thank you, Angelkisses, for coming by to read. If this helps you remember your own childhood, then I am happy.