September 19, 2015

sitting in a horse trough: thoughts of water

By CB Bryan
Cebolla Canyon
September 5, 2015

Spending the day in a horse trough -- feeling supported and surrounded. I take the time to study the way the rust builds up on the sides and how the metal bottom has filled with gravel. A few plants grow here and there but for the most part this is an oasis from the prickly “ouchie” plants that pop up all around the enclosure.

Yellow-grey skies and slight drizzle offer relief. Raindrops land on my watercolor painting and create speckled indents in the rusty browns and terra cottas I’m using to grasp the edge of this solid cylinder.

I am constantly thinking of water. The drizzle could fill this vessel and soak my belongings -- but it won’t. The arroyo could flood and wash away the performance that I did with friends the night before. But it won’t. We brought 26 five-gallon jugs of water and that was a lot. Kacie writes, “only 8 jugs left” on the board in the kitchen urging us to be conscious of our usage -- we still have three days to go. I think about this sitting in the trough, where I feel focused finally. I have sat here for two hours and in that time paid close attention to the smaller things around me -- the variations in color of both the rusted side and the sandy bottom. All the colors that come together to create “tan” or “brown.” I think of all that water and how it could come together to fill me in this shallow basin.

Ghosts of all the layers of settlement filter in and out during this two-hour period. They occupy the trickle of water nearby, where there are shards of pottery and glass -- all the years blending into one broken vessel scattered and left across acres of grassy valley, no longer able to support the trickle of water coming down to meet me at the edge of my rusted horse trough.

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