horse

My horse Shadow, 1998

Prologue: I wrote this for a reading at my writer’s group to discuss where I am as a writer. WARNING: It contains some swearing and crazy-ass thinking. I’m still grieving the loss of Luke. And it appears any time you suffer one loss, it brings up feelings from all the other losses in your life. As I explained to my writer’s group, I may often be quiet on the outside, but my brain is very busy and very vocal on the inside, and it sounds something like this…

Since Luke died, I’ve been trying to figure out who I am.

I know that sounds very silly, coming from a woman my age. Or just silly in general because, of course, losing a horse, no matter how much I loved him and how much a part of my life he was, doesn’t change who I am. I’m still me.

Of course.

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horse running

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. It’s as though I turned sixty last March and my brain stopped formulating thoughts into words.

No, that’s not the whole truth of it.

There was a lot going on besides reaching an age that could be called “old.”

My horse, Luke, had been having one heaves* attack after another. I would find him wheezing and coughing this horrible ratcheting sound, followed by a long moan that raised goosebumps on my arms and made my own breathing stop. I’d call the vet, cry while I waited, unable to do anything but massage Luke’s neck and press my face against his fur.

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woman and horse

“In mythic symbolism world-wide, both horses and ponies represent the following things: Physical strength, inner strength, vitality, appetite for life, the driving force that carries you forward, the driving force that overcomes obstacles, passion, movement, flow, self-expression, and that which makes you thrive. They are also symbols of vital life forces held in perfect, exquisite balance: love and devotion paired with freedom and mobility; the wild and instinctive supported by the disciplined and domestic; strength balanced with vulnerability, mastery with modesty, power with compassion.” ~ Teri Windling, “Mist, Wild Ponies and the Animate Earth” 

Horses and all they represent have lifted and carried me at times in my life when I felt powerless, weak and afraid. They have provided me moments of grounding and peace when I most needed them.

However, like all beings, horses age and as they do so, that strength and vitality begins to wane.

horse being nebulized

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