An Abstraction on the Horse

As I’m studying chains, it has dawned on me how terrifying freedom can seem, and that’s what motivated this post …

Yesterday a bald eagle stretched out over my parent’s yard. It came over the field and driveway barreling like a crane and then the white head. His wings spread and slowed him over the yard before he disappeared into the orange oaks and down the mountain.

I grew up seeing eagles claw into the lake and carry off the bream, and they’ve always turned my insides over. In Northwest Arkansas I’ve seen them in pairs multiple times, and I’ve been known to cry over them because they aren’t everyday creatures, and majesty demands that all stop what they’re doing. An eagle flies. Feet land on the brakes, and held-breath begs they stay close.

I imagine I would act even more dramatically if I saw a whale in the sea. Down a dirt road, whales are the unattainable wild, but there’s an everyday wild, too, that I crave.

After I unloaded the boys and put them to bed here in warm, dark Alabama, I went outside to clean up the travel bits from the floorboard. It was as dark as the inside of a cow, and leaves falling were in my imagination packs of coyotes. I could hear the creek rolling over the rocks below. I worked alone in the van like I was surrounded, and once I spoke to the dark like a loon talking to herself, “Back off, you boogers!”

Talking to coyotes made it all seem friendlier until I heard the ground thunder, the edge of the hill quaking toward the van. My daddy’s Clydesdale runs like apocalypse, and I got a shiver like my ghost felt coming rapture.

Once my Mamaw had a loose horse that was crazy and wild eyed with her legs buckling out sideways in a terrifying run. She wanted free and got it. I was standing by the chicken coop, and my uncle yelled for me to get inside, and I heard that rumble, felt it crack at my tiny bones. I sucked into the wall, and she rounded the corner and came within about 2 feet and 5 seconds of running me over.

This memory rattled me in a sudden even though that Clydesdale was running in her lovely, safe fence. I dropped the bag of garbage and barely got the doors closed before I ran inside like a prissy little girl.

It’s all too wild, too terrifying. What would it be like to live it, settled with the sound of your own rumble, cutting straight through the world, the delicious wind, land, and sea?

On Mondays I write on writing, which means that mostly I’ll write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. We’ll see. If you want to mess around with these little prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below. At any point this week, link below to any concrete post you’ve written about a book. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. Next week’s topic is on The SWEATER. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here.

There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. I would love it if you would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom, A Study of Chains in 31 Days. You can follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader. {Thank you so much, by the way, for walking with me.} Are you ready to shirk these chains? 



  1. alabama is good for you. this will rumble in me all day.
    dearabbyleigh recently posted..for this

  2. “It’s all too wild, too terrifying. What would it be like to live it, settled with the sound of your own rumble, cutting straight through the world, the delicious wind, land, and sea?” Oh my word, Amber. I love reading your words, friend. I am sitting now with the power that passes within 2 feet and 5 seconds, the power that makes our insides rumble, too.
    Ashley recently posted..The Horse

  3. To blow the fences off my life…what deliciousness is there to be had? A rumbling all the way to my tummy :) Hope Titus is doing well, been praying for you!

  4. wow. gosh, Amber…everytime I think I’ve hemmed you in with expectation, you shatter it gloriously.

    I read so many good writers everyday. But, you drive words together that don’t normally go so…and bring me delight in breath held and released starts. In my mind, still living, there is Pat and Rick and you. I’ve met them. On your next jaunt to Alabama, I’m going to have to meet up with you.
    Kim recently posted..inside, OUT

  5. Tanya Marlow says:

    That raw fear, primal freedom. You paint it so well. I am thinking about what it would mean for me to live like this. I think I am too aware of my chains at the moment.
    Tanya Marlow recently posted..The Horse

  6. love the word picture you painted–so vivid!
    Margaret recently posted..An Open Letter to Everyone Over 40 Who Has Left the Church

  7. Ah, Amber. In the remembering we discover so much. This mysterious journey back to childhood memories is powerful. Thank you for your words and your place here. Its becoming a favorite place to be, a writer. Friend, I am grateful.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Horse, of Course

  8. Thanks for sharing this motivating kind of blog…i know its really inspiring…Keep on posting like this..
    Sandra recently posted..listerine

  9. You are so good in your writing. I can picture what you have written… You caught my mind and my feeling, this is such and inspirational post. Thank you for sharing…


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