Last week, before the heat hit, late on a mellow Monday afternoon, I went with Andreas for a walk around the old stables, trails and grounds where horses are equal to humans, near Griffith Park, along Riverside Drive.
I hadn’t seen or entered these old places before, places where the noble creatures go trotting, riding and pacing; animals so big, up close, with their long trapezoidal heads and muscularity, emitting an intelligence and alertness, odor and breath; hay, dust and sweat.
The light was rich and deep and golden. We wandered behind one stable, walked over a bridge and turned onto a dirt- paved riding trail running alongside a watery trench. A young group on horseback came down, kicking up dust, laughing and yelling hello.
Andreas, photographing, walked one way and I went another.
And then I walked, alone, out of that trail and back onto Riverside Drive where I came to Eurosport Horses and Justin Resnik, a wiry, tall, greying, boyishly effusive man who invited me into his compound where he keeps exquisite German, Swiss and other European horses in a fastidiously elegant and old-world stable, once owned by Gene Autry.
Seemingly placed on the front patio by a casting director were three good-looking people: a blue-eyed male worker hosing down the plants and squirting water at a playful pit bull, a young Latino student rider sitting at a table, and Mr. Resnik’s young blonde girlfriend drinking beer.
Massive horses, shiny, groomed, overpowering, without a stray mane hair, posed and loitered in their spotless stalls, as Mr. Resnik walked me through his brass-plated and polished facilities. He spoke casually of his Olympic riding, his entrée into high cost horse-trading, his childhood growing up in Malibu, and a multi-million dollar offer he rejected for one horse last week.
I, with $73 dollars in my checking account, was once again conscious of Southern California, the incredible luck of some, mixed with hard work and the right connections, the accidents of geography and heredity propelling taller, better-looking and better-situated people into better lives, even as we outside the gates press our noses through the iron and hope to be taken into their affluence and security.
Ronald Reagan on horseback rode across my mind for a second, singing his encomiums for the Golden State, a place where anything is possible if you can just grasp it when you are temporarily young. For me, an anti-Reagan, An American Failure, I have always looked forward by looking back, from youth onwards. Should I not have learned something from the 40th President? Where are my stables, my advisors, my investments, my followers?
What will become of me after my Pinterest is no more?
California and America always mourning those.
I said good-bye to Resnik and crew and went looking for Andreas who was somewhere up the creek without a cellphone. We got into his car and drove back to Van Nuys.
With a walk and a curiosity we had gone exploring. And come into an old California of man and horse, hoof and horseshoe, saddle and strap, somehow more lasting and more eternal than anything online.