Expression of the Divine, Part 4: Language of a Nicker

pen and ink of Tal by Erick Moreau

I’m sitting on a cushion on the barn porch in the February sunshine with shirt sleeve temperatures. All the horses, except Tal, are in the pasture nearby, some nibbling the green grasses and others standing in statue position with heads dropped, looking like they are most certainly drooling as they slumber. I’m enjoying the forms of their bodies as the sun highlights curves and glistening new coats. It is so restful. There is still a lingering tenderness from Pavel’s visit with Tal yesterday (Expression of the Divine, Part 3: The Home Place).

The weekend is over, my guests have gone home, my cabin is clean, and barn chores are finished for the morning. The weather is perfect, lazy and slightly warm, and thankfully, not warm enough to invite the flies. But I have a lump in my stomach. All is not well. Tal still has sore feet in spite of the richness of his experience with Pavel, and in spite of all my efforts,… well… some of my efforts. There’s still this writing issue (Expression of the Divine, Part 1: Stalled). I’ve not been writing; he is walking only minimally.

There is, however, a glimmer of hope surfacing. The headline news here at our remote ranch is…I AM WRITING! At last! After weeks, no, actually after months of being stalled. I AM WRITING!  I’m working on the story Tal is giving me. I’m feeling a smoldering joy, not yet bursting into flame because I’ve only started and I’m low on the fuel, trust. It is running on empty these days.


I wrote for an hour. That’s all the time I had today. I closed the lid on my beautiful new Mac laptop (It’s a love affair!), and prepared to start my late afternoon chores. Within minutes, I heard a sound that brought music to my ears and made me stop to take it in as I held my breath. Tal, who had been taking only a few steps at a time to get to his scattered food piles, had walked to the fence, and he had nickered to his herd! HE NICKERED! The first sound from him in days! That nicker felt like a big sloppy kiss planted in the middle of my forehead oozing with drool trickling down my cheeks! I wrote, and he nickered!  We’re a team! We were on our way! I just knew it! A little hope and trust seeped in and a flame of joy leapt up. I’m feeling the home place again!

I bounced through my chores feeling energized by this new encouragement. As I rounded the corner of the barn, I just happened to notice that Tal was standing on 3 feet while the 4th one was scratching his ear. He was standing on 3 feet, not 4! Putting weight on 3! His soreness must be subsiding! This was a quiet confirmation I could have missed, but Tal was speaking a second time in a subtle sign language I could understand. Another breath of joy!


Motivation had set in. Tal, my surrogate messenger, was overcoming my writer’s block as he’d offered to do. Over the next days, I wrote and wrote, and Tal continued to improve. It even looked to me like he glided at times as he walked, bringing sudden bursts of joy which made my chest feel full and my body tingle. He engaged me, he engaged the other horses, and sometimes he played over the fence with his buddy. I even laughed this time when he kicked out at his sometimes-kicking-partner, Dollar. Improvement was the overriding factor here. There was no question that he was moving with more ease, and was more alert to the life around him, and even a little pissy at times, amusingly.

An acquaintance stopped by to pick up manure for his apple trees. He and I talked about our mystical dog experiences. Tal moved near us and stood in peaceful, divine contentment as he eavesdropped on our conversation. He seemed pleased. Later that same day I was having an interchange with a close friend on the telephone about a new spiritual revelation emerging… just an inkling at this stage. I suddenly felt I was being watched. I looked up and chuckled. There was Tal’s big head and dark brown eyes peering at me from around the corner of the barn, listening in on this dialogue…or was he guiding it? All was well it seemed. We were moving ahead again.


As the days went by, I began to notice that Tal’s improvement had slowed, even stalled, he even had some days where he appeared to have regressed. He was depressed. We all were. We wanted our lives together as a herd to be back. But I didn’t dare put Tal out on pasture in his condition. Or did I? Questions would flit through my mind, wondering why Apolinaire, another horse with sensitive feet, hadn’t shown signs of soreness from the pasture grasses. I removed all supplements because nothing was working and perhaps one was making him worse. How could I know? Was something else going on in Tal’s body, was he permanently lame, did I need to accept this lifestyle for him, was I blowing it with him and messing up his life, was I a failure, were all of my spiritual understandings empty lies….?

As I continued to question and search for physical solutions, I felt a gentle nagging in the background like someone was tugging at my coat from behind. I tried to ignore it, but I knew what it was. Put simply, I hadn’t posted a story. Not one. Zilch.

I’d been writing, not always faithfully, but nevertheless, making headway, but stories were not finished, or those that were had been tucked away in my computer for future posting, maybe. My blog, this blog, sat dormant from my end, abandoned. Faithful visitors were still coming, waiting, looking. In the meantime I was hoarding the stories the horses had given to me, and I was sneaking peeks at the blog from behind a dark curtain. It was clearly a case of hoarding. But why? Why couldn’t I post? I’d taken some encouraging steps but there was obviously an obstruction. Tal was not finished with me. He was working on removing the blockade itself, the promise of which had been such an amazing relief to me, but it was wedged in tightly. Now the real work begins.

“In approaching an ancient mystery, a surrender is required.” Book of Runes by Ralph Blum

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