Monday, May 14, 2012
When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, we had lots of fields and forests to romp around in and would spend hours roaming this hood on grand adventures looking for a cause, a purpose, any excuse to embark on a mission so important and so secretive, I can't even remember what they were.
If the mission called for a mount, we would go out in search of a tree limb to serve as the body of what would eventually morph into our trusty steeds. We'd bring our finds back to the house and dig up potatoes to impale on one end for a head, rags to tie on the other for a tail, and a piece of rope for reins. At one point I even built a riding arena out of sticks in the back yard where I would lope around in circles on this contraption for hours. My mother - bless her soul - would be ecstatic!
I was reminded of all of this recently while visiting my Portland neighbor Dave. Dave is a contractor and with his wife Beth and their two children, Emma and Tim, lives just down the street from me on the corner. He's also one of those creative backyard geniuses that you find dispersed here and there like chicken feed in this part of the city . One of these days I will post - if he still has it - a recumbent bike that he built for himself. He used to test it under the cloak of darkness, but I caught him one night. The unveiling during a race up in Camden is a whole story in itself. In the meantime, this is a horse he built for the young neighborhood equestrians.
As the story is told by him, he had to buy a sawhorse but only needed one. You can't buy just one sawhorse these days so the thing sat around in his basement workshop for a while before he - like any great artist - had a vision. The outcome is this fabulous creation.
He used some floor padding to wrap the body and the head, Sunbrella fabric (which was originally black but has since faded and ripped because he leaves it out year round and it's two years old), for the covering, some ski tow rope that he unraveled for the mane and braided for the tail, and some scrap rope for the reins.
I love this horse - it reminds me of a very fun childhood. He will probably re-gift it to his kids some day in another form. In the meantime I felt it critical - as a fellow artist and lover of all steeds great and small - to immortalize the beast before it too becomes a memory.