|Somewhere Only We Know|
The story's cover art
|Date published||June 4, 2011|
|Stem(s)||"Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane|
The bulk of the story uses a traditional third-person/simple past narrative mode. The frame portions set in Equestria are offset from the rest of the story by the use of italics and by being narrated in the first person and in the present tense. The conventionality and dreariness of the real world thus contrasts with the random flights of the fancy the dream world can offer. The transitions between the two are marked by frequent line-breaks inserted into a sentence, forming a typographical column.
The story opens in the skies above Ponyville, with Rainbow Dash soaring through clouds and enjoying all the colors of the sky. In interior monologue, she recalls once having fallen from a great height, before reassuring herself that she pulled out of the dive in a sonic rainboom, because "bad things [...] don't happen here". Rainbow sets down near the library in Ponyville and is noticed by Pinkie Pie, who asks about Rainbow's knee. Rainbow is confused because her legs feel just fine. Just as she is beginning to remember what ought to be wrong with her knee, the story shifts the point-of-view.
In the real world, presumably Earth, a man tries to kick an old draft horse awake. The aged pony - a mare named "Dash" - remembers back a few years when she was young, strong, stubborn, and the fastest horse in the area. She shared the stable with several other ponies, including a pony unnamed in the story with a sprightly personality and a constantly fuzzy mane, a proud, fancy pony named Rarity, an athletic mare named Applejack, and pensive Twilight.
Now, she is the only horse left at the farm, all the others having been sold off. She injured one of her legs by stepping into a gopher hole and never really recovered. She can't run anymore, and is only used by her master to pull his carriage when he needs to get into town. That is what he woke her for earlier. In town, Dash meets both Applejack and Rarity, both of whom have clearly been mistreated by their new owners, but can do nothing about it.
A while later, back at the farm, Dash lies down to doze. As she falls asleep, the narrative mode switches to the present tense again. Rainbow Dash wakes up and is confronted with gray skies, a circumstance she is happy to remedy. Once the clouds are cleared away, the story segues into the opening scene of Fall Weather Friends. In the final line, Rainbow Dash congratulates herself on having made "my sky a perfect shade of blue".
Themes and motifs
Throughout the story, the color of the sky represents the mood of the protagonist. In Equestria, it is bright blue and clear of clouds and is associated with the joy that comes with the ability to fly. On Earth, it is described as drab and gray, mirroring the almost joyless life of the old mare. When it begins to rain following her visit to the town, it is treated as relief; the rain, like the trip, provides a break in the monotony.
Conscious vs. subconscious wish-fulfillment
At first glance, the story might be read as conscious wish-fulfillment: the protagonist is tired of her real life, so she invents another, better one. There is even a line early on wherein Dash states matter-of-factly that she can determine the color of the clouds: on the surface, this refers to the fact that pegasus ponies control the weather, but the reader can assume that the protagonist of course has control over every aspect of her daydream.
However, in a paragraph in the Earth section about the monotonous color of the sky that is partly narrated in the present tense (suggesting slight bleed-through of the imaginary into the real world), it is made clear that not only does Rainbow Dash have no knowledge of Earth, Earth-Dash does not appear to be directly aware of Rainbow Dash. So the incursions into fantasy are actual dreams, not daydreams, and are forgotten when Dash wakes up. Dash cannot escape her dreary existance even in her imagination, at least not consciously. She has only her memory, and that compares starkly and unfavorably to the realities of the present. Unlike Equestria-Dash, she has no control over her environment and must be glad for even random showers of rain.