This note begins at the end. It has been many months, hot sunlight, winds and cold rushes of leaves spiraling, howling wolves and moons of varying color and size. The place is far but not too far for my eyes to see as I look from the top of the windmill standing in the field of grey brown grass and last fruit of the old cherry tree next to the wind mill, standing below. I can see the white bones from up here atop of the windmill, they are so vivid in the distance where the cliff rises from the Spring Garden Creek. They are so perfect and so revealing. There is something which I cannot restrain myself from being drawn to. It is this spot, this place only I can see and know of. I tell it to no one. I am not at all inclined to share this secret. But of late, it has been haunting me. So, I tell it now. I tell it and maybe there is a ray of something here which I am unable to ever forget.
It was early summer when I heard of a horse, a white horse that belonged to the local town Sheriff, Angelo Scalise, an old Italian wine drinker who shared many a green bottle with my step father, Marvin. Marvin was always getting in trouble with Angelo, but never did Angelo take him to any jail. This sheriff was a man of true honor in the realm of Law Enforcement. He knew the families in this small town and he knew them by heart. That is why my step father was a wild and quite free man. But, there is this one thing I knew, and I always remember how it was and what happened. The white horse, belonging to Angelo, she had died and Angelo called my step father and offered him a little much needed work, to bury the old horse.
No one knew where he buried her but I. I spotted this beauty in death, tossed over the cliff which was a spot I could see from the big yellow school bus as it would wind down the dirt road spiraling in and out like a snake, steep and shaded, in deep shaded forest on a dirt road that was narrow and oft times muddy and slippery, three winding turns, each one more bent and constricted the previous. One summer Marvin stopped the car on this road, jumped out and grabbed a big rock, and in front of the station wagon, bludgeoned a rattle snake in the head with one piercing aim…crushing in it’s head. It was so long it’s tail was hanging over the cliff edge. The head was almost to the ditch where the hard rains flowed and snow fell in winters. That snake never had a chance with Marv. No, he was a master rattlesnake killer. Thirteen years of shedding skins left that most dazzling rattle, 13 shakers… they rub against each other as the snake is in fear and vibrating. This is the same spot he threw the dead white horse into the ravine.
At first, the horse looked much like a rag that had been tossed and the red blood was flowing from the holes the wolves or coyotes left in her side as they ate … at the beginning when she was fresh. Later, I would strain to look down over the cliff, and blackened areas with some bone were showing through, and the horse was being swallowed by the earth. As the summer passed into the winds of All Hallowed Eve, the horse was half dissolving flesh, half bone. I wondered, why didn’t he just at least put some dirt over her, why did he leave her exposed like that? Why didn’t he at least do his job? It was a half ass job. That was what he used to accuse me of many times while growing up. But I was certain he truly was a half ass sort of guy a lot of the time.
I went up to the top of the windmill to stare across the canyon whenever I felt the need to escape the insanity of my very large, loud and constantly fighting family. I just wanted to see what was happening to her. Her bones, finally after winter passed and the next summer heated up, her bones were white and gleaming. She was still there, and there was not a doubt in my mind, she was not alone. I had been watching. I knew that she was being cared for and she would always be with me. So, my advice, which isn’t given oft in a way that ever matters what so ever, to anyone I really want to understand it …. watch. Don’t ever kick a dead horse, just watch as the time goes by. What do you see when you watch time go by? I know what. There is no music in this. There is no rhythm or dancing. Just is.