The Four Horses of My Apocalypse

four horses

Four Horses

Her beauty captured me from the first moment I saw her. There she would be, glistening in the sun, mane blowing in the wind, looking as if she belonged up on a movie screen. That lovely, black mare.

Then, one sad day, I drove past and she was no longer there. My disappointment and worry were palpable. Where was that gorgeous beast who always made me smile?

Shortly thereafter, my fears were resolved, when I found her a few miles away. She had been relocated to a different pasture and was now residing with two other horses. I quickly dubbed them Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy Doo and I have seen the three of them nearly everyday for the past fourteen years.

Now, I don’t honestly know if the black mare is truly the SAME black mare, never having done a close comparison of the two horses, but they looked the same as I drove past in my car and my happiness factor was increased by the belief that it was, indeed, she. And, Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy Doo have continued to delight me, day after day, week after week, year after year.

The three are not the only horses I check in on as I make my rounds about town. There are other horses I see on a regular basis. One is a stately, white gelding I’ve stopped to visit in another pasture. Alas, a few months ago, I drove past White Horse’s field and noticed that he was not there. His absence has been a growing source of concern for me as time goes by. Where has White Horse gone and why is he no longer in his field?

Fortunately, all seemed to be going well on the Shaggy, Scooby and Scrabby Doo farm. That is, until Black Horse disappeared from the scene a few weeks ago. And, this morning, as I drove by, I saw Scooby lying on the ground.

It is not the first time I’ve seen Scooby lying flat on the ground, without any movement. It had happened one time before and I’d stopped to watch him, just to make sure all was well. But today, when I saw him, Scooby was lying flat on the ground, without any movement, his face covered by a coat, and a group of people gathered but a few feet away.

I slammed on my brakes. I pulled over to the side of the road and went running back to the corral. Once there, I learned more.

This poor family had had to put Black Horse down just a few weeks ago. They’d found Scooby dead this morning, but they don’t know what happened to him. He wasn’t old enough to die. His owner, a young girl who looked to be about 12 or 13, wasn’t old enough to be dealing with this loss. And yet, she was having to deal. Her eyes were red-rimmed, but she was poised and calm. She came to talk to me, mustering up her strength and her courage. I did my best to offer condolences and then returned to my car and she returned to the matters at hand. The incredibly difficult matters at hand.

As I climbed in my car and drove away, I wanted to weep. I wanted to weep over the loss of three lovely horses. I wanted to weep for a young girl who is now grieving over inexplicable, unnecessary loss. I wanted to weep for a friend who lost her daughter just this past weekend. I wanted to weep for wounds that have been gouged into my own soul. I wanted to weep for the overwhelming pain which consumes the world around me. I wanted to weep. But I could only feel that lump in my throat that threatens to strangle. I could only keep driving, driving, driving to my destination, because life goes on.

When it seems as if all of life is overwhelming and we’ve been knocked to our knees too many times; when it feels as if Atlas is pushing the weight of the world onto our shoulders and our own personal apocalypse is coming, we stand up. We go on.

Tomorrow morning, I’m going to drive by that field. I’m going to stop and smile at Scrappy Doo. I’m going to watch her dancing in her paddock. I’m going to watch her eating and sunning and resting and running. And I’m going to remember hope.

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