I ventured along the back roads on my way home. It would take a bit longer, but I was in no rush and that road-less-traveled, in both a literal and metaphorical sense moreover, always takes one by a number of places with so much more scope. Although I knew I would enjoy the slow ride past familiar spots, I didn’t think there would be anything of much photographic interest. It was raining a bit, and the folks at the weather service had already posted flash-flood watches for the afternoon and evening. I left the good camera at home and had the HX9V in the glove box. I passed freshly planted fields of corn and soy bean and recently cultivated fields of both. I drove along the gently rolling ground of a sod farm not far from Jacob’s place along the river. Before I turned for home I passed Mr. B’s just before the Silver Bridge. I knew that he kept horses and was delighted to see a small group of minis pastured by the road. I stopped and grabbed the camera. They were relaxed, well behaved, and very handsome. We have a horse here at the farm and used to have three when the girls were small and had interests in riding. Although I have never ridden, I do appreciate horses for their beauty and, believe it or not, their smell. Contrary to what I believe to be a popular misconception, farm smells are memorable, pleasing, and very few are otherwise. In much the same way that I appreciate the perfumed aroma of freshly baled hay, I like the smell of a horse. It’s too bad that technology has not yet progressed to a point where odors can be expressed across the internet, for if I could I would post the aromas of a horse, mowed grass, a sheared fleece, and silage. Then you would come to know for yourself that each of these complex smells is unique, and pleasant. Each has a bouquet which, if inhaled with the eyes closed, is capable of stimulating visual memory in a way which can only be experienced and not described. As a biologist I can also appreciate horses for their interesting history. Did you know that the genealogical line of Equus reaches back over fifty million years? Horses originated, diversified, and flourished in North America and by the end of the Pleistocene glaciation they had become extinct on this continent while thriving in parts of Europe and Asia. It is believed that domestication was achieved in Asia about 6000 years ago and that horses then returned to this continent within the last 500 years. They are, like all beasts, fascinating and a pleasure to know.


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