Most days now you can find me (or maybe you can't) hidin' behind my fly mask, tucked into my favorite spot in the brush where the flies can't smell me to bite me and the pasture mates can't find me to rub against me. They nearly knock me over sometimes. Even my people couldn't find me at first; now they know my secret hidin' place. It stays much cooler there, down by the tricklin' (since we've had NO rain) cool creek, next to the treehouse. The low shrubs are perfect to hide my legs in and rub my belly against, the higher ones to get my back and sides. These tall northern trees make good shade. It's close enough to the creek to get a convenient drink any time I wanna. That summer sun sure makes it sizzle; it got to 105 degrees more than once; unusual for these parts. Just like it was back in good ol' Texas where I'd take a dunk in the tank (that'd be a pond, for y'all Yankees).
It's HOT. The sun's beatin' down on my back and it's hot enough to fry a corn fritter. The chatter of them locusts startin' and stoppin' sounds like a hot horseshoe bein' dipped in a bucketa water. Feels just as steamy too. These Yankee summers can be as brutal as some of those ol' Texas summer days. I don't know which is worse - 100 degrees and humid or 110 degrees with zero humidity.
Summer in Texas; now that brings back memories. How I miss that Colorado river. Not too far below the dam there was a soft, sandy beach. This beach was little, made from the sand and silt bein' washed outa the runoff gully from the local softball fields. Picture this - that gully was man-made, up to twelve feet deep at parts with pretty straight sides most of the way. Wide as a road at spots, narrower at others. Sand floor for soft footin' (and fallin', said our riders who preferred ridin' bareback), some tree trunks and concrete trash here and there to steer around at high speed or jump over, tufts of grass and weeds along the sides for snacks, steep paths to get in and out once in a while. The most direct path to the river was down through this gully, so we used it a lot.
At the river, there were wild berries for the people to eat and river flora for the horses. That was my favorite. Sea greens of the fresh water kind. I can almost taste that soft and stringy, mushy green, delicious slime, as the people called it. They made fun of me eatin' it, but I loved it. I knew the best spots to find it too, like just on the upriver side of the beach where the water didn't gush through.
When the dam was closed, the river was only a foot deep; when it was open, the river gushed and was over my head. There were times when we would head down river for a long ride through the foot-deep water, lopin' and splashin' along happily, then on the way back find the river risin', fast. It was always a guess as to whether we would make it back to the little beach before the river got too deep and strong. There were a few spots between shrubs and trees along the way to get out, to a certain point. After that there were no places to exit and it was do or die. We learned to be pretty good swimmers knowin' if we didn't get to the beach quick we might not get there at all. Of course, we could always swim back down river, with the current, to a spot to get out; it just wasn't as thrillin' that way.
I remember one time I saved this fella's life. He was new to ridin' and pretty good in spite of it, but he hadn't ridden bareback in the river before. Y'all know how slippery a sweaty horse is between bare legs, like a bar o' soap. Especially just as I was gettin' wet and the sweat hadn't rinsed out yet. Well, we headed down river, and didn't that dam open at the worst time - when we were halfway in between exits. We decided to turn back to the beach. I didn't stay close to the shore because the footin' was higher and better in the middle; I could move faster there. The only drawback was havin' to cross over through the deeper water and stronger current when we got to the beach.
Well, havin' to cross over the river and actually swim through that current was easy for me, but it was a little too tricky for this new rider; the current pulled him off my submerged back and he couldn't stay on. Lucky for us both he didn't latch onto the reins. He wrapped his arms 'round my loins and held on but had to let go 'cause he was mostly underwater. I swished my tail over to him under the water, and it was like he read my mental messages to him; he grabbed onto it. I pulled him to shore with my handy tail, makin' sure I didn't kick him. Saved him a lotta hard swimmin', I did! He woulda had a long walk back up river through some rough brush, IF he ever got out! I got lotsa extra carrots that day, and all the seaweed I wanted to slurp up.
I sure do miss swimmin' in that river with all my ol' buddies. It was the best way to cool off on a hot summer day like today. Wish I was there right now. But I ain't there, and it's hot here, so I'll do the next best thing: head to the creek! I like hidin' out there in the bushes where it's cool and nobody can find me, not even the #!$%^&*#! flies. (sssssnorrtttt) And if they do, I can rub them off on the leaves and branches. Maybe I'll just close my eyes and stand in the deepest water and pretend the dam is closed.
P-pot, Rescue Squad