This week’s Sunday Stills Challenge is Reflections. “For some this might mean a mirror image, others of you might want to just want to “reflect” on a certain subject.”
I’ve been feeling a little philosophical lately so I’m going to choose to reflect on a certain subject.
This is not a quick read post, so some of you may prefer to quickly leave and go visit other blogs with shorter posts containing only a few words and mostly photos. That’s ok with me. This is a post about reflection and I just can’t do it without words…lots of them.
Of course there are also a lot of photos, too.
So, if you have some time, go grab some refreshments, have a potty break, then sit back and continue on……
One beautiful, quiet morning, while sitting outside with my horse, Apache, listening to her methodically munching her breakfast, my mind began day-dreaming and thinking deep thoughts and suddenly I was struck by an epiphany so strong it just about took my breath away. You all know what an epiphany is, right?
This is what the online dictionary says it is:
a. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.
b. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization:
For me, it was also a moment of clarity and understanding. Oh, and surprise.
Why surprise? Well, I was surprised that this thought had never occurred to me before, especially when it was right in front of my eyes every single day.
What was this epiphany, you ask? What am I reflecting on? Why won’t I get to the point already?
Ok, ok. Here goes. But first some history to help it all make sense.
Some of you may remember Rojo, and some may not. He was a handsome, gentle bay gelding that D, one of my neighbors, owned a couple years ago. Rojo was D’s money-making roping horse because Rojo was strong, willing and smart. And did I mention, handsome?
Rojo was not my horse, but I felt a closeness to him that I can’t completely explain. It goes so much deeper than words.
(My daughter, Jen, 6 yrs old, visiting Rojo during the summer of 2008. I saw it with my own eyes. Rojo truly had affection, gentleness and patience for my little girl)
Even though, Rojo did not belong to me, he was truly my heart horse. After the injury and subsequent surgery, caused by falling off my first horse Baby Doll, on Christmas Eve 2008, I spent many weeks in bed trying to rest and rehab my knee. The view I had from my bedroom window was of my neighbor’s backyard where he kept his two horses, Rojo and the Grey, whom I always referred to as Gandalf, because he also seemed like a wise old wizard to me. He was always a little more reserved and stand-offish, just watching and observing, while Rojo was outgoing and friendly, like a golden-boy, popular football jock.
But those two were inseparable.
They were always together.
Even in play.
Side by side.
Their peaceful, and oftentimes exuberant presence outside my window gave my life meaning and purpose during those long weeks of healing.
They got me out of bed every day hoping to capture their playful antics and peaceful moments with my camera.
They were truly reflections of each other.
So it broke my heart when one day, D hauled Gandalf away and sold him. To say Rojo was distraught was an understatement. He mourned for his grey friend every single day. He never did bond with the first horse, D brought home on a trial basis hoping the horse would work out for roping. That first horse was only here for a week, and Rojo mostly avoided him.
But the afternoon that D brought home another grey, a much younger colt, about 4 yrs old, it seemed Rojo decided he’d had enough. Life just wasn’t worth living without his dear friend, Gandalf.
And that terrible night, I was awakened to desperate neighing and discovered Rojo fatally injured by the side of the road. I was there in his final moments of life.
I posted about that night and, if you’ve not seen that post, you can read about it here: My Heart is Painfully Broken
That post is not for the faint of heart. But if you have ever loved and have had to say goodbye to a special animal family member, especially a heart horse, you will understand what a sad and painful night that was.
Ok, so where does my epiphany come in, you ask?
Well, there I was sitting beside my mare Apache as she munched her hay, and I looked up and caught sight of her left shoulder. I paused for a moment thinking about how her white markings resemble a heart on a string, and how I have come to believe she is my heart horse.
Then all of a sudden I had a flashback of my other heart horse, Rojo. He also wore a heart on his left shoulder.
And then I had the epiphany.
Rojo was my heart horse because he taught me that a horse can be big and powerful, but also kind and gentle. He also taught me the importance of a loyal, honest and reliable friend. And although, he never knew it, Rojo was there for me when I needed him most. He, and his friend Gandalf, were key in my healing after the injury, not just for the photo ops, but for showing me that the love of horses was still in my heart and soul. Just because I had been injured by horses, was not a good enough reason to give up on them or my dreams. Rojo taught me that horses bring so much joy and beauty into our lives, and after I had learned that lesson and my body had healed, I believe it was Rojo’s time to go. He touched my heart so deeply and it broke my heart that he had to die so horribly. But he made a difference while he was on this earth, and I have so much to thank him for.
But then just 8 months later, a homely little pinto pony came into my life, and she, too, wore a heart on her shoulder.
This little mare came into my life when I was doubting my abilities and questioning my dream of continuing horse ownership.
My Apache mare helped rebuild my confidence and taught me to have patience and empathy.
And she helped me to become a stronger person and a better rider.
She brought the fun of riding back to me.
And allowed me to try new things.
And travel to new places….
To take on new challenges.
And even to fulfill dreams.
And as I sit here and reflect on these past two years, I realize that Apache has taught me many new things about horses, and about myself.
And I have discovered……that when I am with Apache I often see a reflection of me. (and my daughter, too)