The White Mare of Transform Ranch
Dreamed 1982/2/18 by Chris Wayan
I'm in the Southwest, walking along the rim of a great canyon. Low buildings, back from the edge: Transform Ranch. A dude ranch of sorts, where humans come to learn how to be horsemen. Not cowboys, not riders--horsemen. Werehorses! Advanced students can shapeshift. Graduates can even speak human tongues in horse-form.
But you can't assume any horse that greets you is really human. For horses come here too, to learn human thought and culture. They generally can't manage to shapeshift, but they can speak and reason as well as humans. The potential was always there...
I had something to do with founding the place, years ago, but now I'm just visiting, to see how it's evolved. Been forever since I came by, and I'm curious.
I meet a funny-looking white mare. She's pretty, but oddly proportioned for a natural horse. For a moment I think she's a novice shapeshifter who hasn't got it quite right, but then I recognize her: she's a cartoon! I drew Silky into existence originally, but she's lived long enough in our world now to be solid and organic. Art doesn't imitate reality, it becomes it--with time and effort. Her legs change subtly, even as we talk--still normalizing, correcting my errors of anatomy and perspective...
We talk about her life here. Sounds fun! Silky's met and loved (and had as lovers) horses and men and even some of the Mounts, those talkative horse-sized teleporting dogs from the future, who Doris Piserchia wrote about in STAR RIDER. I didn't even know any of them were visiting Earth this far back in their primitive past.
I'm glad I drew her. I worried about Silky, felt guilty for having created her wrong, during my years away from the ranch. But no more.
From my wobbly beginnings, she transformed herself into a girl to be proud of.
A rimrock ranch where you learn how to be other species? I've been reading a study of the cultures of the Four Corners canyon country. I was struck by the Pueblo notion of "cooked" versus "raw" people, meaning those taught to be courteous and considerate, as opposed to, well, all those obnoxious white bubbas out there.
But my dream-ranch teaches you more than civilization. Transformation! Or maybe it just gives you the space to learn it on your own. That seems to have happened with the white mare. Silky was just a hope I had, originally. A side of me I hoped I could summon--who's slowly morphed herself into harmonious solidity. Into life.
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