Whether real or imaginary, these obstacles keep us in and others out
Yesterday, I had a surreal experience. This afternoon, I had a bitter one. And fences figured into both.
Yesterday evening, a friend and I were flying across the desert a few miles south of Phoenix, when my fellow pilot asked, “Hey, wanna look at the horses?”
A wing dropped, and I found myself looking down at 30 horses that ignored us as we spiraled down around them. They were in a loose bunch in the sagebrush. Some were grazing, others were lying down, while a couple chased each other around in what appeared to be an equine game of tag. Every color and pattern was represented and spring had obviously arrived, as a number of colts frolicked about.
“Whose are they?” I asked.
“They’re wild. They don’t belong to anyone, but they’re on the reservation, so the tribe sort of watches out for them.”
As we circled around, I was mesmerized. I had always heard that there were places in the West where horses still roamed free, but I had no idea they were so close. I had chalked it off as yet another unverifiable western legend. But there they were.
As I looked up at the mountains a few miles away, I saw a B757 coming into view, its gear still down, as it left Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Then I looked back at the horses. The contradiction was enormous. The sixth largest city in the country was in plain sight, yet I was looking down at a wonderful wildness that you can’t help but feel good about. It’s so nice to know that we haven’t corralled everything. Or have we?
I saw the interstate in the distance and asked, “This all looks like free range. How do they keep them from getting onto the interstate?”
“Oh, there are fences.”
“Fences? Where? “
“Over there, by the interstate.”
We have a fence running down the interstate to keep the wild horses out. Or is it there to keep the wild humans in?