Friday, February 25, 2011

A Journey Of A Different Sort:

(My new horse after being body clipped. Black coat will come in again!)

Sometimes life comes full circle.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of horses. Horses occupied more of my waking hours than anything else. I read every book in the library about them, drew endless pictures of them, made up stories about them...I was horse crazy.

And my favorite dream horse was big, black and beautiful. Somewhere in my early teens I met a horse named Billy and he was big, black, beautiful and for sale. I begged and pleaded but he was not to be mine. He was just too expensive for a girl from a family of seven kids. My consolation prize was a black hunt cap I could wear on the infrequent occasions when I had saved up enough of my allowance to afford a riding lesson. The first time I proudly took it to the barn and hung it on a nail while I was earnestly grooming Billy's hind end, he ate the velvet off it at the front end.

I wore that chewed up hunt cap for years--until long after it began giving me severe headaches because it was just too tight to fit my growing head.

Much later in life, horses became an everyday reality for me and some very special animals passed through my life. I owned, showed, trained horses and best of all, got to share them with daughters and nieces, creating memories I will always cherish. I don't know if my family members ever loved them as much as I did but I do know that they all learned from them. Horses help young people to develop into responsible, compassionate, confident adults. They teach life lessons that stay with you long after the horse has moved on to teach someone else. I think that's why God put these amazing animals here on earth.

The last horse I was lucky enough to own was big, black, beautiful and a bit pricey. My wonderful, wise and indulgent husband made his purchase possible. Little did I know that Mon Coeur--or Mike, as I called that horse--would be a last gift. Only a few short years later, my husband set out to journey ahead to those mysterious greener pastures we can only imagine while we are in this plane of existence. Left behind, I was devastated. Even my beloved horses could not console me.

Entrusting them to a new owner who could give them the time/attention I no longer seemed capable of providing, I sought a new life in a place my husband and I had planned to enjoy together when we finally "retired." I moved to Hawaii. Years passed and life gradually became good again as I adjusted to loss and immersed myself in many new, satisfying activities.

But something was missing. I began to dream of horses again--big, beautiful, black horses. Horses with flowing black manes and tails, large kind eyes and gentle natures. Horses of a breed that has always epitomized the very beauty and majesty of "equus:" Friesian horses!

Too expensive, I thought. Too impractical. I'm too old for this. I'm too creaky in the joints and my back aches more often than I want to admit. But the dreams came every night--sinking my hands into a long black mane, wrapping my legs around the warm living body of a horse again as he rounds his back into a canter, gazing into a horse's knowing eyes that, for me, have always held the secrets of all life and the universe...that special connection to a power far greater than ourselves.

There's a saying that seems to say it all: "God forbid I should ever go to a heaven where there are no horses..."

So another journey begins. My new black horse--my long-yearned-for Friesian!--is arriving March 19th or thereabouts. I have given him a Hawaiian name because he will be a Hawaiian horse, a long way from his native lands in the Netherlands. His registered name is the very Dutch-sounding name of Bareld van Stuv Neve, but I will call him Kanani. It means "The Beautiful One."

I, too, am a long way from my native lands--but this is the land of my heart. And I hope it will be so for him.

Comings and goings. Beginnings and endings. Life's journey continues. All you can do is grab hold of the reins and ride into the wind with a big grin on your face and a song of gratitude and excitement swelling in your soul...

Thank you, Great One, for another incredible journey...on this journey that is my life.