Something on the order of 70 sextillion (7 x 10^22) stars populate our observable universe, more perhaps than there are grains of sand on the Earth. Think, for a moment, of our importance in the grand scheme of things: Earth wheels in space, a blue-green orb in the vastness of our solar system. Scaled down, our majestic planet is but a peppercorn in a 1000-yard model of our system: a little dot to the bowling-ball sized sun, with the pinhead of pluto (sad demoted planetoid) invisible on the fringes. The Andromeda Galaxy appears to be hurtling towards the Milky Way at 130 kilometers per second, while the galaxies in the Local Group charge, with us in tow, at 600 kilometers per second (1.34 million miles per hour) towards the constellation Hydra. These are just our closest neighbors.
Think, and the earth disappears. We are nothing. We are not important. (By the way, I ate the raspberry bushes and the fruit trees and lost my orchard-grazing priveleges—just thought you should know. Not important. Forget about it.)
Now, with that trivial matter out of the way—we must never think about it again!—I am here to tell you about my friends.
It has been said, fairly perhaps, that horse bloggers are a self-important bunch. I am not a horse blogger, so I do not take offense. What we are, though, is a community of interconnected, mutually-admiring authors who all have the noble distinction of being equine. It is an exclusive club. I can understand how we, in general terms, can come off a bit nose-in-the air if you will. After all, most of us have faces which are up high, and longish, with the nose being a pronounced feature of relatively impressive size. We would look like that to you.
My friends and I are splendid. We really are an amazing bunch. I will talk about them all in detail some time, but today I will just tell you that Beasley the Wonderhorse with his mint juleps and toll-booth antics is not self-important so much as simply important. Pants The Mule is the talk of Great Britain and would have me running to her side in a moment if it were not for the giant puddle between us. Henry The Mule is the cutest thing since, well, since Young Fenway and there is nothing he can say or do to prevent the, "awwwww!" that erupts at the sight of him. Sheaffer the Donkey is a small fellow with big ideas, and he is remarkably good at putting things in perspective. John Henry is like a father to us all, and Willem like a Godfather. A demigod. A saint. And Katie Scarlett . . . ah, sweet Katie. She may not blog but she sustains the fire of my heart, and in her perfection demands mention. My darling.
Now, we may be diverse in size, location, job and species, but we share something—the undying love and respect of our humans. To them, we are the center of the universe, no matter at what scale we contemplate it. We give them our time and our company, and they give us a moment at the computer, the privilege of accessing this world wide web and sharing the love. If some part of the joy that I bring FarmWife can spread, can catch to another horsewoman at another computer somewhere . . . then her transcription services will have been warranted, and I will have done something useful from the confines of my paddock.
When a heroic creature of majestic strength and towering wit is confined to a rainy-day paddock the size of two school buses, it is hard not to turn inward. To focus more on the importance of one's self than on the speed with which Andromeda flies towards us, or on the importance of those equine bloggers who've come before or who will surely follow. That's ok, though, and I hope you'll forgive me. I love my friends, but I love me more. I love myself because I love FarmWife, and she loves me, and so it should be.