Friday, April 26, 2013

Hope in My Heart

Photo courtesy of Eli Paulsen
I could hear the other horses milling about in their stalls. The quiet contrast of the barn at night is so stark it's hard to comprehend how busy we are during the day. I was here on a whim, running something to the freezer, but something told me to look in on her. Standing outside the stall is never good enough - I had to go in. I squatted down, back against the wall and waited as my legs fell painfully asleep. Just being in her presence calmed my breathing, slowed my mind, made things simpler in an otherwise exhausting day.

Her mother eyed me suspiciously. I scratched her neck and she relaxed with a sigh as I squatted to peer at the foal, standing opposite me at her mother's side. The big mare dutifully snuffled at my hair, lipped at my cheeks and generally checked me out before turning to allow the foal a closer look. This little one was not like the last. She was not as curious, not as willing to fly in the face of her mother's protective stance to check out the two-legger encroaching on their night. I held my breath and prayed my legs would hold up.

She nursed from her mother and stretched her neck to sniff at me, tiny nostrils flaring with each breath. Her big brown eyes were tranquil pools of mild curiosity. I cautiously reached out with fingertips to touch her  muzzle... Softer than I could imagine and such a treat, I sat stock-still, hoping for her curiosity to get the better of her. She inched closer, walking under her mother's belly on tiny, halting hooves. The mare nickered her approval softly and I quit breathing for a moment...

The filly stretched her elegant neck out as far as it would reach and lipped softly at my fingertips. I closed my eyes and felt as her mouth determined that my hand held no milk. It was only a second, a short fleeting moment after long stretches of waiting and legs that couldn't move any more... But in that instant my heart melted into the goo that would love her all the more come morning.

Her name is Hope and she is filled with promise...