On New Year’s Day my friend Ginny sent me this from The New York Times, about visiting horses at midnight on New Year’s Eve. For both of us, it struck a deep chord, especially the line “I always wonder what it would be like to belong to a species — just for a while — that isn’t so busy indexing its life, that lives wholly within the single long strand of its being.”
That is both beautiful and true. It gives me another thread in understanding why I am so contented when I’m with horses. I am still going out to volunteer at the barn where my beloved part-Arab, Penrod (the one captioned ‘Penny’ on the link above), spent his last few years. I brush horses, especially Penrod’s girlfriend Hayroll, who the program director describes as “emotive.” She closes her eyes in bliss when you brush her and leans her head into your hand for scratchings. Occasionally I tack them up and lead one around the ring with a little child on its back.
And since Penrod died on Oct. 13, twice they’ve let me ride–each time a big, round-bellied pony, one named Fritz and the other Annelise. Nothing makes me quite as calm and comfortable in my skin as riding. And though I sometimes tear up about Penrod, when I’m out at the barn with the horses, I don’t actively miss him. And maybe in that I’m becoming more like the animals.
I was still awake at midnight this New Year’s Eve. I opened the windows and let 2008 in, looked at the Big Dipper from one window and Orion from the other, saw a few fireworks, and like the human I am, wished that this will be a wonderful year.
My three best friends and I have decided that the watch words for 2008 are Focus, Slower, and Deeper–perfect words for a writer at the stage I find myself. Deeper, slower, more focused writing is within my grasp if I have the courage to reach for it. So maybe the fourth word should be courage.