Last week I walked out through the snow, I felt it crunch under my feet, it was no more than three inches deep. I whistled to my horses with halter in hand. A warm sun was giving the feeling of spring fever.
I thought of how the frozen snow quilted mother earth as she healed her wounded hide from summer heat. And the winter sun above me allowed peace and warmth that graced the animals around me. My horses came to me at a lope, excited of who gets to get caught, pushing for the halter to be put on. For some reason, for sure I don’t know, but upon the eldest of the them, over the nose the halter was drawn. I hadn’t rode him in years, he was 32 and earned the right to just graze and boss the boys around and do what he pleased. But today he dropped his nose in the halter and awaited any adventure I had in mind.
I smiled at his excitement and I swelled with pride that we could possibly go for one more ride. No saddle for his back, no bridle to grace his head just a halter, a horse and me. And I swear to you now, as if I went to church, he said “Thanks for choosing me.”
I don’t know what enticed me on this sunny winter day, but I slid upon his winter coated back. He carried me around the pasture, the young ones in tow, chewing on his rump while we traveled to familiar places in the pasture. He bowed his neck and broke into a trot as if we were going someplace important.
It was like we were both thirty years younger, his ears alert his muscles strong and fair, his mane blowing in the wind. The crunch of snow and the warm winter day had melted away the years. In this moment his blind eyes could see and his joints were free to move as he intended.
He felt like the horse I once knew, a whisper, of racing the wind, of chasing cow, of horse shows and barrel racing. Of loading up at a moments notice and riding through the hills. A gift that God allowed, a moment of the past, a moment of when we were one and age was an out cast.
Then I brought him to a halt and slid off his rounded back. I gave a silent prayer of thanks, and I hugged his neck, took the halter off. We walked back to the barn. I felt a tear run down my cheek. I thought it must if been from the cold. I stroked his neck, scuffied his forelock and walked over to the hay stack to feed.
I walked out the following day thinking maybe once again, I could step up and ride for fun, but as the curry swept across his back, his reaction told me with a sway, “not today.”
I realized yesterday was gift, a moment, a memory brought to life, to be remembered for a life time. What an honor to have shared a beautiful winter day with a companion I have known for so many years. A companion that will spend the rest of his time on earth right here with me to call him to his feed, and brush him when he needs it. I will watch in humble awareness, mother nature and father time, blend together the tradition of life and living. Since the beginning of time they tag team the reality of strength, courage and compassion. I feel a new awareness for me on this day. As I crunch through the frozen snow and see his head overthe top rail of the fence softly nickering the truth of failing eyes, and the gift that was given of one more ride.