Last night, by the time I got to the barn to bring the horses in from the impending rain, the only horse in sight was Tal who was confined in the paddock. The white in his coat glowed in the little bit of light coming from the moon filtered by a thin layer of clouds. Surprisingly, he was peaceful even though alone. I let him out to go find the herd. I watched as his white coat gradually disappeared in the darkness a long way across the pasture toward the ravine that divides our neighboring land from Uncle Tom’s.
The evening was peaceful, the temperature mild. I stood at the fence wondering what to do as the rain clouds loomed overhead, hoping the herd would come bounding back for a nighttime snack and I could sneak them into their shelters for the night. I listened intently for hooves pounding the earth. But all was quiet. I dozed off and on as I leaned against the fence with the frogs in the background singing me a melodious lullaby. Still no horses came. I decided to take the risk that the weather reports would be wrong again, and leave the horses to their own demise. At that moment, I felt giant raindrops on my forehead and my mind suddenly changed.
I decided to walk over toward Uncle Tom’s because I caught a glimpse of Tal’s white coat again in the distance. As I walked toward him, he and a companion horse came out of the shadows and started to follow me back to the barn when Tal, realizing the rest of the herd was not coming, turned around sharply and headed away from me toward the ravine and disappeared in the darkness as I called for him to come back. His companion followed him flinging her head as if playing a game of catch me. My hopes of bringing them in for the night crumbled. As I started to head back home, I hesitated. Behind me I could hear the familiar rumble as hooves beat the ground like drummers. My heart quickened. Tal had gone to get the herd and they were coming at full speed.
Giggling inside with anticipation, I stepped aside as I heard them approaching, and stood quietly in the shadows of the muted moonlight. I listened as they approached, going down into the ravine and back up again on my side at full gallop. At last they were racing by me…6 of them rounding the corner at racetrack speed. All I could see was their dark ghostlike forms stretched out reaching for more as they flew by. I felt their laughter, the pure joy of running all out together free of riders and reins. They became horses without names, horses of the wild, as they pounded the ground a few feet away from me. They jerked my breath away from me to ride with them across the pasture.
After they passed, I stood motionless as their thunder faded away toward the barn, and my mind tried to capture what my spirit was still holding out of reach.
Slowly, I started back to the barn. When I arrived, I found them all standing still like giant statues as if nothing unusual had just happened and they’d been there all evening. As I approached, they lazily raised their heads in my direction as if to say, “Where have you been?” And with my breath still dancing with the memory, I could only whisper, “Somewhere with you, my lovely animals, somewhere in the spaces between the worlds.”
Once in their shelters, when the last gate was closed and the last horse was fed, the rains came hard. It seemed to be bringing a reminder by contrast that this same night we had lived a few moments together in another realm where brute power and freedom was tempered only by the elegant grace and beauty of form.
Image Credit: Hotash