Saturday, November 7, 2009

In Zen

It's nice to have a dose of pure joy to end this week.  Bad enough it poured all day, the leaves clogging the street drains, the water in small ponds over the curb, the freeway full of hydroplaning fools.  This week the health care bill took a few more jabs, the media convulsed repeatedly on missing children, new serial killers, and then the coup d' gras, the mass murder committed by an Islamic army psychiatrist.  Hollywood has nothing on reality.  
Somehow, in the big middle of all this chaos I got excited about the Breeder's Cup.  Anybody who knows me well knows you don't mess with me during Breeder's Cup.  It's in my blood.  Thoroughbreds are one of my true passions.  Anyone with a similar bent will know exactly what I'm talking about.  For some reason I was particularly down this year.  Maybe it's because attending Breeder's Cup here at my local track in Portland has become a solitary affair.  Some of my old mates are either gone or living all over the place.  Those days are over.  But at the race track, it's easy to make new friends.  That happens, but, of course it's not the same.  
This year, however, we have Zenyatta, one of the most beautiful and athletic individuals I've ever seen.  Like all special horses, she's got quite a personality.  She works the crowd like John Henry did.  Sure, being a mare, there was all the hype about "Girl Power"  (what happened to woman power?) and all the knocks that go with any "my horse can beat your horse" bantering.  In the end, there is only the moment the gates open and every breath and  stride the next mile and a quarter requires.  
Zenyatta's triumph in this year's Breeder's Cup Classic was definitely one for the ages.  All the pundits will argue about Horse of the Year, and what quality of competition who faced, where.  None of that matters.  Her victory today was pure joy.  In a sport where the highs are the highest and the lows as low as it gets, this is a moment to savor forever.  If memories are all we have, and they are, then this is one shining possession.  
Still, I can't help thinking how many people have no knowledge of this beautiful animal and her aesthetic prowess.  Too bad those left wondering about all the tragedy and loss of the past week couldn't share in this moment of ecstasy.  Funny thing is that Zenyatta has the ability to do what Seabiscuit did for a floundering nation almost 75 years ago.  I know it's not really the same, so many technological changes make that era impossible.  But to live in a world where now and then everything stops for a horse race is to live in a world with possibility, and perfectibility.  Damn she was gorgeous winning today. 

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