A strange thing happened to me on Sunday's ride. You see, I have not been to this particular place for about 11 years, and was last here on the back of my beloved Shadest.
Shadest (pronounced Shuhdest), was not my first horse, but he was my one, and most likely only, equine soul mate...one that I had the privilege of loving for 16 wonderful years. When Shadest was injured, I was injured. When Shadest was colicing, I was aching for him. He fractured his coffin bone on my 26th birthday. Why on my birthday? And, on the same night that I was laboring with my daughter, Shadest suffered a possible torsion, or had a large tumor in his intestine--I chose not to do a necropsy so we will never know what the exact cause was, but he tested positive for a large blockage...I could go on and on, and maybe one day I will--and had to be put down. Katie was born at 12:20 am, I was home by 3:30am--I had her at a birthing center with a midwife--and I was in my family's barn at 11:00am, saying goodbye to my best equine friend ever. Who should have to do that on what is supposed to be a day of celebration and life?
So...as we rode through the overgrown bridle path...
...and came upon an old, familiar road and view....
...I realized that Shadest was still in this place. That I, not the "I" that I am now, but the "I" that I used to be, was still in this place. You cannot grow up somewhere, ride somewhere, breathe somewhere, love somewhere, and cry somewhere, and not become part of that somewhere. Years from now, when someone else is riding, or walking, or living, in this place, they will feel the presence of me and Shadest. They may not understand what they are feeling, but those who really feel, will feel us. It may be a sudden feeling of happiness that overtakes them, a faint sound of laughter in trees, or the sudden sound of hoof beats in the distance, but it will be our spirit that lingers there. I could ride this overgrown road with my eyes closed, for you see, I rode this very road for years, and continue to do so in my dreams. There are spirits of other horses who linger here as well: Cricket, Pinto, Jewel, Honey, Star, Patchy, Music, Sonny, Annissa, Pawnee, Lightening, Hawkeye, Imp...Yes, they are all here too, and when Bo and Sienna pass on, they will join the list as well.
Just so you know, when I say "spirits," I am not referring to a ghost or anything that conjures a "negative" feeling or image. I am simply referring to that part of your soul that you leave behind when you leave an old, familiar place. Something stays behind. Something that is/was "you."
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