April 08, 2007


Jenna spent some time at my sister's today--she lives in the country where it is open and beautiful, modest homes on three-acre-or-so lots, dotted with large working farms, soaked in green, set at the sides of winding roads with loose dogs and stray children that seem every bit okay, if completely out on their own.

When I drove up to get Jenna, we took our traditional manure-scented walk to give some pats to the horses down the road.

As we neared the neighbor's pasture, I got an up-close look at the three horses I'd only seen from a distance before. My sister told me their names: Molly the sweet apple-rumped draft horse whom I would horse-nap in a heartbeat if I were younger and more of a criminal; Phyllis, the witchy mare who can't endure the least bit of attention drifting away from her without giving a kick, nip, or hallmark lunge with ears flat back; and Rocky, the sole equine male, given that the only other boy in the pasture happens to be a young bull.

(Cue Sesame Street: One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong...)

Molly was the first to approach me, shedding her winter coat, like a threadbare stuffed animal. She came closer until she tossed her head over the fence and we stood face to face. Suddenly, the carefully-guarded pieces of the days and week behind me shattered, gathered in a final gust then disolved into the eye of the kindest mare I have had the pleasure of meeting. Ever.

Miss Molly is that special kind of a mare, her presence is a rare, vulnerable, loving trust. A nuzzling that says, "There are no strangers to me," curious, more than food, that i-am-s0-much-stronger-than-you-i-could-snap-your-neck -but-i-wont-cuz-i-am-all-love kind of animal. Molly is a horse that restores something in people: the place that has forgotten its own innocence.

I knew it when she put her warm nose up to my ear and whispered me a story in soft whiskers. She heard what I had been unthinking--she took it from me.

Just took it.

It's no accident when the good Lord finds a special horse to talk to you on Easter. It's no accident when an unremarkable country road offers an instance of meaning between a weary soul and an animal bread to bear her burden. It's no accident I found Molly today.