I’m in front of a sink full of dishes. For most of my day thoughts I’ve been mulling have sucked on my energy. I don’t like this part of me that lets stupid, useless things I can do nothing about, things I can’t fix, whirl around and around inside my head.
Outside the window the sun begins its descent onto the backs of the mountains, and for a second the sight permeates the fog inside my head.
I know how to stop this thought train to nowhere, but it’s become a habit and a hard one to break. It’s like when I was quitting smoking. At first, every minute I had to push away the urge to smoke. This is the same thing – I have to push away the urge to worry.
My heart knows what is good for me; it tugs and tells me what I need to do, I just need to quiet my head. A change in scenery will change my thoughts. That is a gorgeous evening out there and it will be hours before it gets dark. I pull on my blue jeans and lace up my boots.
Grasshoppers sing in the parched grass as a breeze blows away the heat of the day. In the elongated shade of a tree I stand beside my horse and brush the dust from his back and comb the fairy’s knots from his mane.
Dust motes sparkle as the sun shoots streaks of fire through clouds hanging on the western horizon.
Each pass of the brush along his big, warm body relaxes me a little more. As usual, once I’m here I’m glad I came. I’m so relieved I talked myself into getting out the door and away from everything that will be there when I get back, like it always is, but less of what it was before I went out the door, just because I walked away from it.
How do I walk away from hurt?
My horse is not impressed I’ve dragged him from his lazing in the pasture. He needs my heels thumping against his sides to wake him up. In minutes, we’re inside the provincial park and walking along dusty brown trails on carpets of pine needles.
Skirting the edge of the park we cross a gravel road and say hello to another horse and rider who has come out from the trees.
I’ve been here on this earth long enough you think I would know how it is with life and its stuff.
I need to take a step back, a step away and a step towards what makes me happy and what really matters. I know how it is, and how it works but I let things get in the way. Little by little, chip by chip, chunk by chunk I lose bits of myself.
After following a winding trail through a ravine we stop on a knoll to watch three hawks surf the air currents. The sun colors the air orange and red and makes his coat shine with copper hues. Gusts stand his black mane on end. There is something only he can see in the distance. His whole body pays attention.
Since losing my son I yearn to know what happens when someone dies. Where do we go? Do we go anywhere?
I want to go somewhere. I don’t want this life with its sorrow and pain to be all there is and then we die, and there is only black nothing.
My heart tugs.
His mood has shifted. He’s let himself become a part of the wind, the jagged slant of red sunbeams, and the hawks in the sky. His feet dance under us, his stride grows big and long and the earth moves under a flowing flat walk.
This might be like being picked up by God’s hand.
The motion thrills me. Bubbles of joy burst inside me, sweetly, like the chocolate chips in a bite of cookie. My breathing is more effective, I breathe deeper, and the bottoms of my lungs expand, allowing life – giving oxygen to penetrate my tissues. Each exhale rids me of the gray thoughts, clouds clear from my mind, a tight band falls away my heart.
When I go out the door and come here to my horse I find the pieces of me that are lost. Even his scent makes me feel better.
He smells of sweet grass, and warm dust. Happiness is your nose in the coat of your horse, or your dog, or your cat, or your humans.
Your heart knows the fragrance of home.
Night birds call to one another. The squirrels chit, chit, chit at us from the trees, their erect tails like exclamation marks.
I’ve got to shut off my computer and open up my door. I’ve got to stand up and stretch, move the blood through my body. Walk out to the garden, or the deck, or the porch, and say hello to the smells, and sights and sounds of life outside my head.
My heart knows what it needs.