Still Within

High in the saddle he sat.  His shoulders were relaxed and his hold on the reins was loose.  The dark chestnut had carried him upwards through the dense spruce fir forest, winding and panting around shadowed trees.  When they reached the ridgeline, the canopy parted and slivers of blue sky struck forth.  They rode until they reached the lush meadow of Big Bald, where they sat staring west across the fields and towards the backdrop of the soft, smoky mountains.  The gray outline of the distant peaks rolled gently across the landscape.

Deep within the muscles of his thighs burned with soreness from the journey.  The soft skin between the thumb and forefinger had been rubbed raw from the leather reins.  His shirt, wet with perspiration, stuck to his back and the hot August sun beamed against his sunburned neck.

A soft breeze blew from the south.  It was cool on his face and soothing to his cracked lips.  The wind twirled and danced upon his shoulders, sweeping across his neck.  The prickling sensation of the sunburn briefly subsided and a refreshing chill comforted his sun beaten skin.  The grass around the horse’s knees brushed from side to side, but the only audible sound was the wind rustling the leaves of the trees just downhill from where the horse stood.

He dismounted into the tall grass to a spot where he could lay on his back and stare at the sky.  He unbuttoned his shirt as he watched clouds passing overhead.   Puffs of white fabric dotted the vast canvas of the Tennessee sky.  As he lie on his back, the tall stalks of grass rose up from the ground to swallow him.  The wind parted the grass as it blew from different directions and the view of distant mountaintops shown.  The sound of shifting leaves could still be heard and a gust of air blew over his chest and across his face.

Once a year he made the trip to Big Bald, momentarily parting ways with the hurried pace of his life.  He rode for the entirety of two days, enduring chafed haunches and aching muscles to find the tranquility of Big Bald.  The wind swept past him powerfully and inside his soul was still.  Deep down there was an undisturbable  peace.  Neither man, nor nature could confront the serenity within.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by cole on March 26, 2010 at 12:04 am

    So Ben I’m reading through your blog and have read most of it now and am curious – why ‘High in the saddle he sat’? Why not ‘he sat high in the saddle’?

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