Getting Danny-Boy to move

Me leading Danny-Boy through the Millenium Forest in Ireland. Photo by Allan Lynch.

It’s a bit zen, a gypsy caravan, I tell Mr. Lynch. Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop. Mr. Lynch is having a hard time staying awake. His eyelids slip south, his chin, like a slow-motion landslide, slides down to his chest; he jerks, looks around as if he has no idea where he is or how he got here.

The thing is, there’s not much to a gypsy caravan. You sit on a plank of wood with the reins in your hand and Danny goes clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop. For hours. To mix things up, once in awhile Danny will slow down, raise his white tail in to the air, and slowly push out fresh steaming road apples that land with a thick thuuuck on the road. It’s amusing.

And there are flies. Sometimes a few dozen, buzzing around his sweaty head and withers, crawling over his powerful rump. Big meaty flies that dive head-first into the white flanks and disappear. Must be biting him in there. God knows how they stand it. Once in awhile the road will dip and there might be a bit of a marshy area in the Millenium Forest we’re going through and the flies will be so bad you have to take the pillow out from under your bottom and flail away at them.

How is it zen-like? asks Mr. Lynch. I’d made the comment so long ago I’d forgotten about it. In the meantime, Mr. Lynch had fallen asleep, come awake, hopped off the caravan to walk beside Danny for a bit, and climbed back up.

Well, it’s like meditation, isn’t it? I say. The clip-clop is like your heart beating and the caravan swaying back and forth is like your breath and your mind clears and all you’re aware of are the sounds and feelings of being on this wagon.

I guess, says Mr. Lynch.

Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop.

It’s a different way of traveling, isn’t it? I say. So quiet. And slow. How far do you think we’ve come so far?

Maybe a couple of miles, says Mr. Lynch.

No! We’ve been traveling for hours.

Mr. Lynch shrugs. Just then Danny stops. Come on, now, Danny, I say, giving him a taste of the reins on his rump the way Larry showed me to do. Danny doesn’t move.

Come on, now, Danny. Gitty-up! I smack him a good one. Danny swishes his tail at flies but doesn’t budge. Mr. Lynch talks to Danny. Which is foolish since Danny has no idea who Mr. Lynch is. I’ll tell you what, I say to Mr. Lynch, it’s embarrassing when your horse won’t go. Maybe you’d better get down and lead him a bit.

Mr. Lynch climbs down off the caravan and grabbing the reins in front of Danny’s bit, pulls him forward. Danny throws his head back but doesn’t move. Please, Danny, says Mr. Lynch. I’m getting thirsty for a pint and I’m sure you’d like a little something to eat. The sooner we get to Kylebrack the sooner we’ll all be done for the day. Danny bobs his head up and down and starts walking forward, led by Mr. Lynch who looks back at me with a smirk and a single raised eyebrow. I guess some people are just better with horses than others, says he.

Kiss my arse, I tell him.

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