Hoofing It

Occasionally, on walks in often inclement weather, I encounter small horses tethered to the sidewalk. My day instantly brightens when confronted by the miniature equines secured with formidable lassos.

NW Portland

NW Portland

Tied to mysterious metal rings cemented to the curb, I suddenly recognize an actual hitching post, where live horses once stood. The small reference to transportation’s evolution impresses me. In the contemporary climate, cars dominate the roads, mass transit cuts through the cityscape, and bicycle racks now replace the inconspicuous metal rings. A person moving within the rapid pace of technology might not notice the precious details of a sidewalk, but the plastic horses draw my attention.

I stop to marvel at the humorous distraction and consider the city’s history, as well as my own. Memories of special toys, lust for ponies, the epic saga of cowboys vs. Indians in episodes of The Lone Ranger and Bonanza momentarily eradicate the present tense. In the same instant, all the minute and charming conspiracies evoked by the discovery of a tiny horse in the street immediately grounds me, pushing aside the heaviness of raindrops and the hectic bustle of progress. How did this horse come to be here now?

SE Portland

SE Portland

The origins of the horses present a mystery. I feel the euphoria of finding something, but how many times has this object been found? The artist, or artists, tied them to the communal ground where someone might find them, forget, and find them again. Did the artist find the horse and give it a permanent home? The horse on SE 41st is missing a head. Did the horse arrive in this condition, was it removed to symbolize a deeper meaning, or did someone simply take it? I could envision a scenario similar to The Godfather, or perhaps a trophy-hunter has it displayed on a wall. Taking the time to stop and think, to notice small things and unwittingly participate in an art piece just by reveling in its whimsy…Well, I feel like a better human. An evolved and enlightened human. Let history show, I am here, now.


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