Not much more than a decade before I was born, horses pulled the ploughs and carts that had been the engines of agriculture for more years than most people care to count. I was born just in time to see the tack of the horse age lie unused and abandoned in old barns and farm buildings - its use not just a memory but a reality for many people.
I also saw the consequence of the sweep of machines across the landscape - machine food, machine beer, machine landscapes: the loss of the small, the delicate and wild.
Today I wonder what it must have been like to walk behind the plough and talk to the horses that pulled them - unimaginably hard I suspect. But rose tinted glasses make me want to find out.
Now we only see heavy horses as the strange cousin of race horses or show jumpers. The circus side freak show of modern horses.
As a kid I learned the words to this song - and sang it as the players arm tracked down the great spiral to the middle. It's only now that I think I have some understanding of what I missed and what I wanted to see.
Iron-clad feather-feet pounding the dust,
An October's day, towards evening,
Sweat embossed veins standing proud to the plough,
Salt on a deep chest seasoning.
Last of the line at an honest day's toil,
Turning the deep sod under,
Flint at the fetlock, chasing the bone,
Flies at the nostrils plunder.
The Suffolk, the Clydesdale, the Percheron vie
With the Shire on his feathers floating.
Hauling soft timber into the dusk
To bed on a warm straw coating.
And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
And the nights are seen to draw colder
They'll beg for your strength, your gentle power
Your noble grace and your bearing.
And you'll strain once again to the sound of the gulls
In the wake of the deep plough, sharing.
You can find more pictures from around the world at Our World Tuesday. SM