Tuesday, March 10, 2009

They claim our hearts forever...

An email lay in wait for me yesterday, innocently resting in the Inbox.

Who'd know such a benign-looking title (something about pics that came from a cell phone) could hold such emotion for me.

Yes, they were of Shadow.

My dear Shadow...I think of him every day, I go to sleep each night imagining I am brushing him and tacking him up for a ride. I dream of him every night. The exact outline of his various color patches are engrained into my memory.

No wonder he won't slip away into other pastures where I could just forget about him.

He's just a horse. It's been two years since I left him. Why, oh why, is it so hard to let him go?

Oh, I am so happy for him, the home he has, the people who love him and work with him. He's 18 now, unbelievable to me that much time has gone by. We were partners for 12 years, the longest I ever owned a horse.

The pictures show him so well-cared for, a recent bath creating an unusual sheen on his brilliantly white coat. The text accompanying the photos tells of how much he is loved and how much he is teaching his rider. I'm so blessed to have been able to give him this home, when I could no longer ride or care for him.

But, oh, how seeing his photos breaks my poor, ol' heart. How I recall the days when I'd slip out to the barn in the twilight and together we'd ride through the rangelands, me bareback and he with only a halter on his head. Or I'd saddle him up and take a moonlight ride...or load him in the trailer to climb steep mountain trails or chase cattle to places they ought to be. How he did love to chase cows! Just writing about it brings a gulp to my lips, tears coursing down my cheeks, nose is dribbling and my throat is burning!

He's an English gentleman now, being ridden exclusively English. His tail carried a French braid in the photos yesterday. I don't mind...this indicates someone is loving him, and wanting to please his owner. That is good stuff.

Sometimes, I dream that when he is too old to ride, I will bring him up here to live out his years in my back 2 acres. But I have no hold on him now, and I can see that connection between his new owner and him, and besides, California is a lot nicer place to retire, with rich "parents" than up here in the poor Washington mountains.

I still wonder, though...

...does he ever think of me? Wonder where I went? Wonder if I'll come back? Remember those days as a ranch horse, sweat on his neck showing the honest day's work he'd done? No English saddle but a stock saddle, a chinks-clad rider, a rope at the horn, a trail to climb. Turned out with all the other ranch horses, bringing the whole herd to the gate when he heard my whistle.

1 comment:

InHisGrace711 said...

My dear friend,

I do feel your pain. I truly beleive that Shadow misses you and when you meet again, I bet when he hears your voice and that whistle that used to get his attention will bring him running to meet his long time best friend. Your smell to his nose and the touch of your hands will bring back those memories for both you. You will never let him go. He is and will be part of your life forever. God Brings friends into our lives for a reason. And Shadow has been your friend for a long time. Maybe your not supposed to get him out of your head. Maybe there is a reason that he keeps coming to your mind. And I personally think that is ok, but I also know for you it is very painful. May the Lord wrap His arms around you and give you comfort each time Shadow comes to your mind. May He comfort your heart. All things are possible through Christ and those who belive in Him. Verse(?)

I love you dear sister. Maybe its not Shadow that is what you need to give to God. Please forgive me if this comes out to strong or hurts you as it is not my intent. Ilove you as a sister. Maybe it is
the fact that maybe you are still angry and hurt that you cannot ride and do the things you used to do and like me, you keep laying it at the cross and then go pick it back up again. I dont know. But just know that I am here and of all people I can relate and feel your pain in this. With all my love, Jo