My friends, the Clydes

imageby cheri

An indifferent wire and an unshaven fence both travel up the barren hill that lies at the bottom of my road. The cattle have ripped every last blade of dead grass from it.  The blue sky and white cloud conspire as if to mock the hill, the fence, the wire, and the stubby fescue. ” What a magnificent day for shining and floating!”  they comment with the help of a hot and gossipy breeze.

At the base of this tawny mountain, whose back looks like the deer which hide in her ravines, I reflect on my powerlessness to coax the rain from her boudoir and reveal herself. My spirits sag; my resolve, wanes.


Black Beauty looks to San Francisco and its delicious fog. His hooves heavy, he heaves a sullen sigh, looking for feed on a feedless promontory.

I whistle for my friends.

From across the way, they trundle down to greet me, the Clydes,  full of love and hope. I reward them both with organic ( non GMO ) Honeycrisp apples.


We agree on many things: the oppressive drought, the luxury of our freedom, and our need for a nourishing pedicure.


I rub their velvety noses; I swat flies off their strong necks; I confide in them: ” Guess what? I can now do 5 push-ups!” They remind me of all that is strong, patient, glorious, and gentle.


The time comes to bid farewell for now. I encourage them and in turn, they provide fodder for my spirit.


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, My photography, Writing and Teaching and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to My friends, the Clydes

  1. Cheri, I know you are a writer but when I see these photos, especially tonight, I’m having a spiritual experience here in Philly BPF (Before Pope Francis)!

    • Cheri says:

      I enjoy my photography too and I am SO GLAD the photos of those wonderful horses pleased you. And yes, the Pope arrives soon. First visit to the U.S., as I understand.

  2. The pictures of those glorious stalwart friends patiently waiting for rain to replenish those hills is a lesson in itself. I’m sure as you whisper to them they nod their heads in appreciation of your push up expertise as they munch away on the apples you kindly bring.

    • Cheri says:

      If you drive on 680 out to Pleasanton, sometimes you can see one of them standing at the top of the mountain. I’ve been carrying my camera just in case I see that image. Of course, I’d have to exit the freeway very quickly in order to get to Vargas Road to shoot the picture. Fingers crossed.

  3. Brighid says:

    I was sailing along with the hot gossipy breeze, enjoying the day and the Clydes… until you got to the “organic non GMO” apples. Then I had to laugh, if people knew half of what was used on pricey “organic” foods they would be amazed, and we have had GMO for a long time, it’s how we have managed to feed the world. peace be with you.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Brighid,
      Of course that was a joke. If we are now spraying Danitol to kill the olive fruit fly (and having good success with it as of now…), we certainly are not concerned about GMO. 🙂

  4. I have to jump in again to say the state of our hills is scary–will it ever grow again? I’m sure it must have happened in centuries past, but hopefully in our lifetime those hills will be green again.

  5. wkkortas says:

    Years ago, at a farm owned by the Busch family of Budweiser fame (or infamy, depending on how you feel) just outside of Cooperstown, I was able to get up close and personal with some Clydedales. It’s hard to appreciate their size from a TV commercial; they are truly magnificent.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi wk,
      Were you an umpire? Or a professional baseball player?
      I would like to know.
      I have never seen the Busch Clydesdales in person (😀). Although my little horse was a foxtrotter, I have always had a soft spot for draft horses. When these Clydesdales were added to a small herd of Hackney Ponies, I was delighted!🐴

  6. wkkortas says:

    No and no; I like the game much more than it ever liked me. As an aside, the Busch family owns a great deal of land in the Cooperstown area, especially around Otsego Lake, which is the Glimmerglass Lake of Cooper’s novels. It’s helped keep the lakeshore almost pristine and free of development, although several folks in the area resent that the Clydesdales have better lake access than the area residents do.

  7. Cheri says:

    Have you read most of Cooper’s novels? I have read several and as an aside also taught Twain’s Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses, arguably one of Twain’s funniest pieces.

  8. wkkortas says:

    Twain and I hold Cooper in the same regard.

  9. shoreacres says:

    Your photos of the horses are wonderful. They’re such magnificent creatures — and no doubt as perplexed and unhappy with the drought as their humans. A hurricane can be terrible, but I’ve never been through anything worse than the slow-motion disaster called a drought. It does work on the psyche in a unique way. I can understand how people became crazed during the Dust Bowl days.

    I’m glad to hear the olives are doing well. My friend who has a grove here is suffering from too much rain: entirely too much. They’ll not be making a crop this year. But, as he says, the upside is that the ponds are full and the fishing’s good.

  10. derek87 says:

    thanks for your beautiful thoughts. long time now chat: can you drop me an email with your current email address? (you should see mine due to this comment posted). i’m sad i don’t have time to read your blog regularly, but when i do it lifts my spirits. thanks for sharing!

  11. Cheri says:

    Thank you. Horses would be one of my favorite photographic subjects if there were more of them in my neighborhood. On our travels, I am always on the lookout for horses.

    We are encouraged that the flies have not decimated the crop this year although we are not complacent. We have one more application left. The harvest should be in November. We will try to have Katie with her bucket!

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