So I have a horse:
Missie says, "Wake me up and I'll bite you!"
Yes, she’s beautiful, believe me she knows it…. anyway, to get training for her (which I need since she’s much smarter than I alone) I clean stalls at a local ranch every Monday in trade.
There’s a fine art to cleaning manure. Horses walk, all the time, constantly; they even sleep on their feet. So the poo doesn’t stay in nice easily-scooped little piles (well, not little, exactly); it gets trampled all over heck, and you have to use a rake to get all the pieces, or else spend hours more than necessary.
It was Monday. I raked… I scooped… I defended my wheelbarrow against horses who like to scratch themselves on it and inadvertently tip it over, I dodged bites, I sweated, I raked again. Then (in the middle of a particularly juicy curse aimed at a diabolical pony named, deceptively, Sugar) I looked back and saw the rake’s marks in the dust. They were beautiful. Heatstroke may have had a hand in this, but I swear, the whole ground was just these lovely soft curving lines, like the tracks of a hundred mysterious snakes.
Before Sugar ran off with my shovel, it reminded me of one of those Zen gardens, where monks comb lines into the sand around big boulders.
It was an unexpectedly tranquil moment and I am really glad I didn’t miss it. There were even a few butterflies in my ‘zen’ garden (they are attracted to the salt in the horsie pee). It was the perfect touch. So, lesson: look for the beauty that is left after poo is removed!