The sun shone brightly through my study window yesterday, after a streak of bleak rainy days, so I ventured outside to see if the ground had warmed enough to nourish my veggie starters on the windowsill.
I leaned over the low fence around the garden plot and, as I pressed my palms into the cold, damp earth, I sensed that it was early yet. Stretching my palms upward to take in the sun’s warmth, I glimpsed the herd of horses in the distance.
What a stroke of luck! After having been let out of their flooded paddocks, the herd had been traveling at large through the open fields skirting the village. At times, simply finding them involved expeditions to the far end of the village, or even to the next village down a rutted forest road.
So I headed toward the horses, noting the moment when their eight heads bobbed up and 16 ears swiveled toward me to decipher whether the approaching figure represented a threat. As I drew near, I could sense the collective sigh ripple through the herd as they realized it was just me and went back to grazing.
I greeted each of my equine friends, checking in to make sure they were okay, taking a few moments to connect with and scratch each one, feeling for ticks, pulling burrs out of manes and tails, then saying thank you and bye as I moved on to the next horse.
A baratone rumbling in the distance caused me to lift my gaze to the sky to the North. Dark storm clouds were gathering and thundering, approaching quickly as the wind shephered them nearer. The horses appeared unphased as they moved from one hummock of fresh spring grass to the next. Since I was only wearing a light jacket, I said goodbye and turned toward home, hurrying in before the impending downpour.
Glancing back, I noticed the horses were standing near the power lines and I began to worry – what if they got struck by lightening? I called to them, Come on guys, let’s go. A few of them looked up and, sensing my alarm, began to move slowly in my direction. I hope they come, I thought, as I raced home.
Back inside, I watched from the window as the dark clouds blotted out the sun. Then I saw them – arriving single file through the open gate into the yard. The horses were coming home. They turned their croups to the wind and waited calmly for the storm to hit.
I felt my heart warm as they gathered, one by one, and was filled with a sense of gratitude. I looked around me and felt safe and secure in my home, in my life, and with the horses there to support me. I felt content that I could offer something to the herd in return – shelter.
Shelter from the storm. Just like my children who have left for boarding school or me after a long journey to a distant land, or like my clients who remark again and again at my horse-led retreats they feel they have come home, the horses knew that here they would feel safe, centered, and together – ready to weather whatever the wind might bring.