Her flaxen mane ripples from her strong chestnut neck as she gallops past. I feel the thunder of the pounding hooves before I actually turn my head to see her coming, then turn away again as the cloud of dust rises up to powder my face. She stops and I brush her sweaty coat, wrap my arms around her neck and hug her, then look at her big eyes before fading away.
Lys had horses for years. It was a part of our lives from the time she was 8 until her senior year of high school. Then she sold the horses. It was for the best -- she felt guilty when she didn't have the time to devote to them. We didn't have a place for horses where we live, so boarded them at a beautiful ranch, tucked in the hills, surrounded by Redwoods and Eucalyptus trees. They thrived in the pasture there. So when the people who owned one of our horses' pasturemates said they had fallen in love with Poppy and if we ever wanted to sell, they would like to buy, we decided it was in the horse's best interest. Then we found someone for Bambi.
So concerned was I about the impact this huge lifestyle change would have on Lys, that I never really mourned this loss myself. So now, here I am, dreaming of horses....
So many days sitting on the fence, watching Lys working in the arena with the mares, or stepping over pebbles as we climbed into the hills, listening to the birds chirp, feeling the sun on our backs. There were hot days when we would bathe the horses, feeling the spray of the water, wiping the horses down to a sleek shine. And there were foggy, cold nights when we would make a special trip over, just to put the blankets on the horses, because that's what you do when you love something. I remember that earthy smell as I mucked out stalls, leaning on the rake from time to time to savor those days shared with my daughter, animals, nature.
A couple days ago we took one of her saddles over to a tack shop to try to sell it on consignment. It had been sitting in the garage, along with boxes full of remnants of her riding days. I suppose watching her rub the leather cleaner in, then loading it into the trunk, brought back the memories of a time we shared, an era gone.
So I dreamed of horses last night... and I cried.