Greeting me as soon as she sees me, her breath puffs around her face in the chill of the early morning. She sways from foot to foot, tapping a hoof on the ground, a kind of greeting tattoo. If at first I don't see her standing there cloaked by the mist, she'll tap harder, willing my attention.
I can't recall exactly when our friendship started. Was it the day I was in my yard clearing some fallen leaves? I stood up, pausing to rest and catch my breath, and there she was off in the distance. I waved and called out to her. She looked up, saw me, and the next thing I knew she was walking over to my fence where she stood, watching my work, inspecting and silently approving its results. Was it the time I locked my front door one morning and left to go to work for the day, and she just happened to be waiting at the fence between our properties? I greeted her, pleased she would trust me and honor me with her presence. She greeted me back.
Most people wouldn't have heard her greeting back. Most people would have simply heard her whinnying. Most people would have simply heard the sound a horse makes when it's excited. But I heard her greeting me back. I heard her distinctly saying "Good morning ranch dude. Got any carrots?".
It's not often a horse comes over for a friendly chat, at least until then it wasn't, not in my life anyway. It's even less often a horse can be heard asking for carrots. She asked "Got any carrots?" as ordinarily and as uninflected and as blandly as the advertisement asks "Got milk?". I looked at her. She looked at me. I realized we were in communication, even though I didn't know how.
"Wait here" I said, and she nodded in response. From the Cowboy Cottage I retrieved some peeled baby carrots I keep in a tupperware container in my refrigerator, ingredients for a salad yet to be made.
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