After a night’s sleep in a “beautiful bed room” at the Perry Ranch, Isabella is on the move again. It is still snowing. Fortunately, a wagon had just passed on the main road and she can ride in the wheel rut.
“Everything was buried under a glittering shroud of snow. The babble of the streams was bound by fetters of ice. No branches creaked in the still air. No birds sang. No one passed or met me. There were no cabins near or far. The only sound was the crunch of the snow under Birdie’s feet.”
Speaking of Birdie, she and Isabella came to a makeshift log bridge that crossed an icy cold river. “Birdie put one foot on this, then drew it back, then put another on, then smelt the bridge noisily. Persuasions were useless; she only smelt, snorted, held back, and turned her cunning head and looked at me. It was useless to argue the point with so sagacious a beast.”
Birdie crossed the river by walking through it. It was deep enough that Isabella’s feet got wet, too, which made her wonder why the horse chose this way. Later she learned that the bridge was dangerous.*
Regardless, Isabella is smitten with her horse. “She is the queen of ponies, and is very gentle, though she has not only wild horse blood, but is herself a wild horse. She is always cheerful and hungry,*** never tired, looks intelligently at everything, and her legs are like rocks. She is quite a companion, and bathing her back, sponging her nostrils, and seeing her fed after my day’s ride, is always my first care.”
My wish for you: may you have someone in your life with whom you share the same bond.
* I’m of two minds. Maybe Birdie sensed a real danger and opted to stay safe. Or, because I’ve spent some time around horses, she got the idea in her head that it was dangerous for no real reason** and opted to be stubborn.
** I knew a horse with an unshakeable fear of umbrellas, which had never caused him harm. I think he couldn’t quite understand how they could look like sticks or like giant kites of terror all at a moment’s notice.