Thursday, March 05, 2009

cross of invocation

Yesterday afternoon I was out at the barn, enjoying the sunshine, the mid-forty degree temps, and the sight of four horses and two miniature donkeys soaking in the sun. Although it is still a bit of a mud-fest in the paddocks and high-traffic areas, they had nice hay, clean water, and good company.

My daughter had just shown me something neat - a number of hoof prints in a muddy patch that had filled with water and then frozen. When you stepped into the print, the ice made a satisfying crunch and interesting patterns.

There was nothing monumental about the afternoon, but it held a sense of peace and a good feeling that is, I suppose, easily missed if you're not paying attention.

I happened to look up, and a jet had made a sign in the sky. For years I would see what I call giant runic crosses in the sky, and my habit was to take each of them as a good omen, a sign of fulfillment and good things. I haven't seen as many of those in the past year, which doesn't mean things aren't good, but perhaps that I no longer need the symbol to remind me.

Yesterday's giant symbol was one I'd never seen before. I enjoyed it in the moment for what it was, feeling blessed in some way and also intrigued that as I continued to work in the barnyard, the entire symbol floated east in the sky.

Later in the evening, before dark, I was answering someone's question about an arthritic protocol for horses I'd mentioned on a forum, typing that it was something I'd looked into for Salina. I ended up on the phone with my husband, talking through the whole thing again, thinking about whether this medication is something we should go ahead and try for her, even though most of the time she seems to be fine, given her age and the condition of her knees.

Just about that moment I heard a commotion in back, and looked out the glass doors just in time to see Salina galloping in from the back field, leading the herd, bucking and kicking up her heels like a young filly. Rafer Johnson and Redford, her Donkey Guard, were bringing up her flank, one on either side, doing their fanciest donkey trot with heads turning right and left, like young officers in a magical and elite formation.

"I guess she doesn't need that medication just yet," I said into the telephone, and then marveled at how she always seems to sense my worry and does something to reassure me.

This morning I went in search of the symbol from yesterday's sky, and found that it's called a "cross of invocation."

It was often used to mean "take this medication with a blessing" - and has made me think today that sometimes all the medicine we need can be found by simply looking.

A giant mark in the sky, a galloping black mare, ice in a hoof print.


Michelle said...

Wonderful post, thank you. Yes, all we need to do is look.

mamie said...

Billie, I have learned some very interesting things from your magnificant posts. Thanks for this very thoughtful one.

Grey Horse Matters said...

What a wonderful way to put all the usual mundane things into insightful meanings.
I would love to meet Salina someday, she seems so special. Sometimes I feel the older mares are just so grounded in their knowledge of all things because of all they have seen and lived through. They seem to have a special quality I can't quite put my finger on or give a name to. I liked your description of her and her two donkey guards.

billie said...

Thank you, Michelle - I'm glad you stopped by. I went over to visit your blog and loved the posts - will be back to visit regularly!

billie said...

Mamie, thank you - I also visited you this morning and enjoyed the (always) lovely photographs. That last one is one of my favorites.

billie said...

Arlene, you're always welcome to come visit! I know Salina would sense a kindred spirit in you.

I have thought about what makes Salina so special. I can't really generalize this to mares, as she is my only mare partner here, but since the very first day I saw her photo there was something special about her.

On one hand, I think she's just special, period.

When you add the experiences in her life - being born and trained in Germany, traveling across the ocean to a new country, losing her eye, and having to manage life with arthritic knees - more than most of us have had to deal with, it's not surprising that she is even more special.

But even with all that, there is something more. I think a huge part of my connection to Salina is that we are both mothers, and we both have a similar sensitivity to our environments and the order and routine that signals business as usual.

My antenna go up very easily, and so do Salina's. What that means on a daily basis is that she is my partner in keeping an eye on things, and she trumpets with a certain call when she needs to get my attention.

It's nice sharing that responsibility, and I suspect that's a big reason she came into my life.

Missus Wookie said...

Hi, saw your blog addy on HomeEd and loved the reminder of the idea that being aware of our life in its mundane details can lead to whatever we need.


billie said...

Glad to see a friend from home-ed here, Missus Wookie! I'm trying to return visits today, so I just popped over to London to see your blog. So much good stuff to explore!

Thanks for stopping by - come back and visit often. :)

ponymaid said...

Billie, no wonder you're such a suitable donkey person. You actually observe your world and see what's going on in it. Unlike, say, mini-mules, who gallop off in all directions, going too fast to see anything but a blur. You have the heart and soul of a true donkey. And I don't say that about many persons of any species.

Your friend,

billie said...

Sheaffer, that is a high compliment coming from you - thank you!

I spent a portion of this afternoon standing in our back field with a brush and a currycomb, working first on Salina and the donkeys, who lined up and touched their little noses to my back until I took the hint.

There is nothing like those quiet donkey snorts of delight. They take great pleasure in simple things, and we could all do to follow suit.