I came galloping over Strawberry Hill in a fit of anger. Those dopes had gone on without me again (how many times did I have to tell them that I slept standing up, that I often looked awake when I wasn't?) but when I crested the hill I could see them out there belly-high in the bowing grass. The Palomino was still out in front, his body golden in the warm light. He had tried to get the rest of us to call him Captain and failed; the only reason we were following him at all was because he said he knew where the Great Field was, or at least he had heard of the landmarks one follows to get there. Who were we to argue? We didn't know any better. We just knew we wanted to get there.
Among our group was a Clydesdale who, it was rumored, could haul eight times his own weight; a handsome but temperamental Thoroughbred; a sarcastic pony from the petting zoo upstate; and a few Appaloosas, one of which I thought had a particularly lovely coat, and thus far she had been the only one to make conversation with me, to ask about the stable I had come from. She was sweet, you know? Okay. Okay. So maybe I had a crush on her. Maybe that was why I wasn't breaking from the group and trying to find the Great Field on my own.
What we had heard – what we had all been told from foalhood – was that if you could find it, you would never have to leave. In the Great Field there was uninterrupted land that stretched so far you would always tire before reaching the edge of it, there were songbirds that came twice a week to report the news of the world, there were occasionally young children who wandered into the field to offer apples from the nearby orchard, the fruit hacked in half, the juice so sweet and fragrant. The horses back home had warned each one of us not to go. It was all equine lore, they said. It was the stuff of movies. What do you say to that? All you can do is shrug, I suppose. When I left, I left before dawn, and I left deep hoof prints in the dry earth.