I woke up in Kentucky

A few mornings ago, before I opened my eyes, I breathed in the smell of fall in Kentucky.  Crunchy pin oak leaves mingle with newly cut grass; a cool, dry breeze dispels the summer humidity; wet saddle pads hang in the barn aisle to dry, releasing the sweet scent of leather and horse sweat.  This is autumn for me.

I kept my eyes shut.

Breathing in deeply — and this time consciously — I nursed the memory hidden curiously in my nose.  Fresh hay.  Musty sweaters.  Bonfires.  S’mores. Dinners on the porch — sans mosquitoes.  Sweet potato fries.

Timer and I, Moncada Horse Trials, 1999 (See Mom, Kate, Claire watching in background.)

I thought of being little again and riding Entertain the Time, my big red horse, down into the woods with Ivan, our German Shepherd.  It was like I was there.  I could smell the wet ground under Timer’s hooves.  I could see the steep trail Dad and Bryce had cleared — ten years ago?! — with chainsaw and “weed whip.”  I could feel my hamstrings stretching, my heels sinking down in the stirrups, hugging my shiny chestnut as he descended the hill toward the creek.

Was it a flashback?  Homesickness? Happiness?  I’m not sure.  But it’s been five years since I have been home for fall in Kentucky.  For my birthday.  For Dad’s annual pictures on the fence.  For the smell that is so familiar I can almost bring it here, to my little studio in Dijon.

Now I know for certain — more than I ever did when I was in college — that no matter where I go, or how long I am there, there will never be any place as much like home to me as Kentucky. Especially in the fall.

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3 Comments

Filed under Home, Horses, Kentucky

3 responses to “I woke up in Kentucky

  1. palmer

    Emmyloo..
    Ahh I love it…love the picture..brings back a little memory of you as a young girl….what a nice horse, a loyal dog and a great memory!! Your home is KY … it always will be! 🙂 Hope you’re doing well… MWAH!!

  2. maryanita

    My Emily,
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful entry. I can see and smell all that you have described this day. The tree in front of the barn has turned brilliant red overnight. Leaves cover the ground and the air is finally crisp.

    Thank you for letting me relive those vivid memories with you. They mean so much and are a beautiful tribute to your life. Enjoy your fall days wherever you are planted. Life has many gifts waiting to be received each new day. I love you so.

  3. Really enjoyed this post, Em. Those days seem like just yesterday….

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