"I'm just going to write because I can't help it."- Charlotte Brontë

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Mist: The Ride

My sister and I went horse riding in Daylesford today, and I managed to stay in the saddle for both the morning and afternoon rides, which isn't bad given it's been 5 months since my last equine outing, and even before that, my track record was reluctantly sporadic due the past 18 months worth of hospital crap. It wasn't a hard all-dayer. Both times, it was just the two of us so we could set the pace according to what I was up for, which was not a lot compared with my derring-do of yore, but any attempt to move faster than a trot was also seriously thwarted by the weather.

The morning was wet and hazy enough - the rolling hills remained obscured by fog for the whole ride - but my sister and I crossed fingers that it would clear up by the afternoon.

Alas, it was not to be, not by a long shot.

When we headed out again after lunch, the mist was thicker and more saturated, and it grew increasingly more so until we were moving through a drizzly, surreal, Stephen King-created, vapour-shrouded landscape of limited vision, stands of spooky, leafless trees vaguely outlined by the white stuff, sky and air and land and lakes merging with each other into dreamlike scenes, and an intense silence broken only by the sounds of horse hooves clopping, wet things dripping, and the plaintive bleats of newborn lambs coming from the unseen fields beyond. It was the kind of thick mist from which tentacles suddenly reach out to pull poor, helpless riders from their horses and drag them back into the murky miasma.

And it was cold, bone chillingly cold - we were mightily glad for our drizzle-repelling drizzabones, with many layers of clothing and downy vests underneath - and the ground was wet and far too soggy for speedy riding unless one desired to take a chance on spending the next few months with various limbs in plaster casts.

But we had a good time, took it easy, made jokes, and enjoyed the unreal atmosphere and strange visual and aural effects created by the uncanny weather. Afterwards - and this is a very important part of the Winter horse riding experience - my sister and I warmed our boots and bums in front of a roaring log fire, drank cups of hot tea, ate steaming leak and potato soup with toast followed by berry strudel, and all was wonderful and well with the world.
*satisfied sigh*

But for sure I'll be sore tomorrow...


parlance said...

I guess there'll be a strange misty ride in one of your future stories.

Gitte Christensen said...


Our rides are often inspiring. A certain Licola ride (also misty, but not as misty as Sunday's ride) after the bushfires inspired 3 pages worth of a ghost story, but hasn't made it further. It's still nagging me though, and every now and then, I pull that story out and tinker with it. And stepping out of my tent one night to pee under the most vast and amazing starlit sky made me, then and there, want to use the scene, though I knew not for what. The only success story so far is actually 'The Snowy River Feral' which was inspired by talk of mustering on a King Valley Ride in the High Country a few years back, and then came together when, on a Daylesford ride, I saw a row of dead foxes hanging from a barb wire fence. 'What if vampires were an imported Aussie vermin' I thought, and that was that.