We never kept any horses, even though our daughter fell seriously in love with them at the Lazy L&B Ranch here, many years ago. You simply can’t keep a horse in the tiny back garden of a Brooklyn townhouse.
Plenty of people in Dubois do keep horses, however. Some of them are my neighbors. Therefore, luckily, some of my neighbors are now horses.
It’s always a treat to look out our window and see the four horses that graze in the meadow across the fence. It’s even more of a treat when they all decide to run. I get to follow their trails through the aspen grove and to see where they have slept. They have a pretty nice life back there.
We generally stay out of each other’s way, but not last week.
I was outside planting iris bulbs when the phone in my pocket rang. It was a friend from Philadelphia.
“Well, look at that,” I said (although of course she couldn’t). “There are cowboys rounding up cattle into the corral, not 100 yards from our back fence.”
“Real cowboy, yes. On horseback.”
“That’s amazing,” she said. “I’m seeing exactly the same thing out my window.” That Cindy. She always was a joker.
Later, I walked over to the fence to take a picture of the corral in the valley, to text on over to my Philadelphia friend. One of my neighbors trotted up and poked her nose at me over the fence.
I almost dropped the phone. They’ve never come that close before.
The black one quickly loped up alongside her. I guess they wanted their picture taken too. Happy to oblige.
That same evening, I took the dog for a walk on the back road across the highway. He wandered over to sniff at something near Billy’s barn door, and leaped aside when it began to open.
Billy walked out with a harness and lead draped over his arm.
“My three horses got out,” he said with a resigned smile. “Don’t know how they did that. Now I gotta go find them.”
So he and his dogs joined me and mine and we walked over the little bridge. There they were, all three of his horses, grazing on someone else’s lawn.
A few deer stood watching nearby. They didn’t seem at all bothered about these domestic animals on their turf.
“If I get this one, the others will follow,” Billy said, walking toward one of the three.
She ran him in a small circle first, but he soon got the harness on and turned her around.
The other two lifted their heads and came along.
One of them kept nipping at my ears as he clopped up behind.
“Just clip him on the nose if he gets fresh,” Billy said.
© Lois Wingerson, 2016
You can see new entries of Living Dubois every week if you sign up at the top of the right column at www.livingdubois.com.
2 thoughts on “Visits With My Neigh-bors”
I know we may not end up in this sort of situation, but holy hell if the whole Dubois lifestyle isn’t exactly what we’re looking for when we move. Love reading your posts, thanks for letting everyone know it’s possible to go from big city to small community and fit in. Or at least ease our minds a bit lol.
Thanks, Jay. You’ve discerned the reason I was moved to begin writing Living Dubois: I hope to help those people who are looking for a place like Dubois to know that it exists.
I have realized over the past few years that Dubois is what has been called a naturally organizing retirement community. In this case, not all of the retirement-age residents are choosing to stay in their original home town. Some people gravitate here for retirement because the community (not only the extraordinary landscape and way of life) is just what they had been looking for.
I also hope that other telecommuters (as I was for the 8 years before my retirement) discover Dubois because, in addition to all that, the quality of Internet service here is beyond comparison. The town needs to grow a little — but just a little — in order to thrive and definitively overcome the loss of the forestry industry that it sustained due to a change in US Forest Service policy in the 1970s. Some of that modest growth needs to include young families.
I was inspired by an analysis carried out but never published by an economics professor who retired here as the sawmill was closing. He felt that Dubois would survive not by attracting another small industry (which it can’t; it’s too remote) but by attracting people who want to be here and bring their own source of income.
He presciently foresaw the rise of the Internet and telecommuting. There is no reason today for a tech worker with a family and a love of the outdoors to be resigned to life in a dense urban environment. The information economy has been quietly moving into Dubois for some time now; I wasn’t the first to bring it here. Our next export, appropriately, is intelligence.
Thanks again for your comment.