Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Before There Were Men

This image found on this site:

Three Word Wednesday wants us to use these words in a poem: gait, nudge, ripen.

These words took me to the long ago time in North America. The fossil record shows that North America was a part of the evolving horse story though the horse was extinct pretty much completely as men spread throughout the continent. Here's Wiki:

Pleistocene Extinctions

In Western Canada, there is clear evidence of horses until 12,000 years ago. All Equidae in North America ultimately became extinct approximately 11,000 years ago. The causes of this extinction (simultaneous with the extinctions of a variety of other American megafauna) have been a matter of debate. Given the suddenness of the event and the fact that these mammals had been flourishing for millions of years previously, something quite unusual must have happened. There are two main hypotheses. The first attributes extinction to Climate change. Beginning approximately 12,500 years ago, the grasses characteristic of a steppe ecosystem gave way to shrub tundra, which was covered with unpalatable plants. Another hypothesis suggests extinction was linked to arrival of and over-hunting by humans. Extinctions were roughly simultaneous with the end of the most recent glacial advance and the appearance of the big-game-hunting Clovis culture. Findings published in 2006 showed that it was not yet possible to claim with confidence that the extinction of horses in Alaska preceded the arrival of humans.

Horse fossils disappear from the fossil record from about 10,000 years ago,[dubious – discuss] but begin occurring frequently again in archaeological sites in Kazakhstan and the southern Ukraine from 6,000 years ago. From then on, it is probable that domesticated horses as well as the knowledge of capturing, taming, and rearing wild horses spread relatively quickly, with wild mares from several wild populations being incorporated en route.

Before There Were Men
(The North American Plains)

I run with horses
across the plains with matched gait.

I nudge them, call them
forth with plaintive cry
for all that once was, before
we were to ripen
on the vine of time.

You were busy elsewhere then,
dreaming Asian dreams.

September 22, 2010 11:00 AM


  1. having seen the digs in the Badlands, the fossil record of horses on the plains, really brought this poem alive for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Using only three words to prompt you, you've created an entire era. Great writing, Christopher.

  3. The poem is very good, and I liked the education about horses from before.

  4. Thom, thanks for the 3 words. Look at what you do. Herds of wild words.

    Karen, you know me, this is easy pretty much. I could be stumped, I guess. Thanks for your friendship across the blogs.

    Anthony, the internet makes gathering information so freaking easy that it is spooky. My first adult job in the world beyond college was in an engineering office in Portland, Or. They had a Hewlett-Packard hand calculator bolted down to a counter for doing basic tasks, including getting and using logarithms to simplify complex multiplication and division for more accuracy than slide rules.

    We needed more accuracy, so I would use log tables at my desk and hand add when I needed to, to back up the trigonometry. Slide rules weren't accurate enough, not at the design level. All that has disappeared into a few buttons on the internal windows calculator and is built into AutoCAD graphically.

    There were no desktop or laptop computers back then in the early 70s. Now we take for granted that we can access data in minutes, what would have taken at least a day back then. Publishing it complete with picture...a bit longer.

  5. I heard on CBC radio today that we are in need of digital free days, that our culture has advanced so far that we need to detox. I too am in love with instant access to information, however, I consider myself lucky that I have a love affair with the antiques that I live with and use without thought, that I recognize trees and animals as miracles and ordinary.

    You did well, Christopher, with your prompts, although I see you being prompted everywhere you go and this is second nature for you. We should all be so receptive.


  6. I loved reading about the horses, and your poem is excellent -- its rhythm, for me, mimicks the rhythm of horses galloping across the plains.

  7. dirt clustit, I am happy to provide you with something you love!

    I had a digital free day yesterday, Erin. You are right. Prompting is right down my alley. And you are lucky, beautiful is as beautiful does, my dear, and I see you as the miracle. You see through your own miraculous haze and so you see the esoteric haze of potential around us all.

    Tumblewords, horses have an aroma that is rich and deep and especially appeals to women. The romance is there for women. Men see the horse as a partner in the work, whatever that work may be, and then worth a story or two. The women can base a life of devotion around the horse.

    Thomma Lyn, I am happy to give you the rhythm of the herd but I think you already had it in you.

  8. I enjoyed both the history and your words and loved "I nudge them forth with plaintive cry" very evocative.

    Nice writing. :-)

  9. How does that picture of horses manage to suggest so well a time before man appeared? It has captured a time warp well, and they definitely heard you call them forth.

  10. Ummm. Susannah. Thank you for your compliment. I would quibble, it is not history but an estimate, informed scientific speculation. It is a story, a best guess and as is expressed, it is as yet up in the air what the history actually is. We often like to split the difference and try to blend both alternatives together when we get in this predicament. But that may equally be wrong. There may yet be something or many somethings arise in some new excavation that changes everything if not about horses, then about men, or about comets, or about something we cannot guess at all.

    Jinsky, the quality you speak of that captures a times warp is the same one that invites us to love horses. You are right about that quality standing out. Women especially find this quality very close to erotic. Horses are magnificent beasts among the other four footeds. Horses call something magnificent out of us in response to them, and when we look at it it seems that time stops.

  11. Love the last line, "you were busy elsewhere then, dreaming Asian dreams". Really great work.

  12. I am learning so much from your posts. Coyotes, horses, legends, geography and so much more..

    baton of time

  13. A beautiful write.. but then someone most often than not have to be away following dreams so that he can give us dreams.. ah! dreams wchich we can hold on to and live for.. only if we are able to keep ourselves wrapped with them..

    Thank you.. would love you to grace my page with your visit..


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