Friday, May 24, 2013

Goodbye to a grand old mare

We said goodbye to a grand old mare this morning. She has taught me everything there is to know about living with mares, living with seniors, and centering myself in concert with a horse. When she left her body the sunshine came out, a beautiful breeze picked up, a cast of hawks circled overhead, and I am absolutely sure she galloped our entire property, circling it with love and grace and her most fierce mama-bear circle of protection. Run free and easy, Salina. You will be in our hearts forever.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Oh, billie and everyone else who loved Salina on November Hill, I was so saddened to hear that Salina has passed. She was indeed a grand old mare and will live in our hearts and memories forever.

As I sit here with tears in my eyes I'm reminded of a poem. I think your description of her passing brought it to mind.

Do Not Stand At My Grave
By Mary Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die.

Godspeed Salina.

billie said...

Thanks so much - what a gorgeous poem. As you can imagine I am just raw right now - relief for her mixed with head-splitting sadness. As everyone assured me I would, I knew without question it was time, and she went so easily and quietly.

Keil Bay and the donka-boys came and stood with me at her stall when she had passed. I can't even put into words what it felt like to stand there with them. They all stood tall and alert, as if paying their final respects. The donkeys were so brave. I think Keil helped them. I know he helped me in that moment.

She is being laid to rest at the A end of the arena, beneath the big shade trees, and every single time I sit out there or ride past I will think of her spirit and everything she gave to all of us here. She has been a goddess and a gift to our hearts.

Matthew said...

Thanks for that poem from me too. So beautiful, tears in my eyes as I read it.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Happy for Salina, but very sad for you. Salina was a force of nature. You and your family were so lucky to share some time with her.

I too have a poem to offer...

The Flyaway Horse

Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse-
Perhaps you have seen her before;
Perhaps, while you slept, her shadow has swept
Through the moonlight that floats on the floor.
For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle bright,
That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh
And a pull at her rein and a toss of her mane,
Is up on her heels and away!
The Moon in the sky,
As she gallopeth by,
Cries: 'Oh what a marvellous sight!'
And the Stars in dismay
Hide their faces away
In the lap of old Grandmother Night.


Victoria Cummings said...

Billie- I saw your post on Facebook just before I went out to the barn to feed and lock up my girls. I told Silk that Salina was gone - she knows all about Salina because I have talked about you all to her so many times before. While I stood with her and cried, the skies opened up and the rain poured down, crying along with us. I can only imagine what a difficult day it has been for you and Matthew and the kids, and of course, for the donkey boys and the rest of the herd. The poems that Arlene and C have offered are beautiful, and I am empty for words, feeling only the sadness and appreciating the glory of one of the magic mares.
Sending you love.
xxx V

billie said...

C, thank you for that beautiful poem and your words. We so appreciate both!

billie said...

V, that is so incredible to read and I thank you for being such a good friend to all of us here! I was bewitched today by the changing skies. It felt like as my mood shifted, so did the sky - it was sunny when I walked out to the barn this a.m. As I realized what was ahead, it grew dark and gray. When she left her body, the sun burst out and the skies went to pure blue. As she was relocated to her resting place it became dark gray and started to rain. Once everyone was gone and I was out walking the barnyard, the sun came again. And the wind has whipped up big all afternoon. I am feeling exhausted right now. It is odd because I am so sad but at the same time I feel peace and relief for her. I am so grateful for all of your amazing words today. It means so much to me.

*Sharon* said...

Love and hugs from Max and me. You were both blessed to share your lives.

billie said...

Thank you Sharon, and Max - you are so right - we were blessed! I appreciate your thoughts so much.

Anonymous said...

Billie, we are so incredibly saddened to hear this news. We will never forget the day we delivered Redford and Salina ran from stall to stall to see if EVERY stall had a donkey boy! What an amazing woman she was. We know your heart is broken. Rafer and Redford must feel as if their world has collapsed. We send you love, strength, and courage. With much love, Marty and Ken

billie said...

Ken and Marty, thank you so much. I was out there with the donkey boys just now for a long while and they seem to be splitting their time between being out with the geldings and being in the barnyard/grass paddock where they were with Salina. They were able to say goodbye to her - so they are not looking for her - but it is clear they are grieving. Rafer was inconsolable tonight when I sat with him - pushing his head into my armpit over and over as if trying to hide his face. We walked through the barn aisle as it got dark and the stall she has always claimed for herself was standing empty and yet at the same time it felt almost holy. The donkey boys will not go in it now. They stood and looked in and then walked on by. But then you see that stoic donkey courage - they are so accepting of this, in a way. I haven't been able to write much yet about the morning but I woke up to them braying - they were calling us out to the barn. I told them tonight how much she loved them and that she is still watching over them. That was when Rafer wanted to hide his face - it is just so hard to imagine that she is not here, in the physical sense. We are so grateful that these donkey boys came and bonded so closely with her. All I could think today was how right it was that Redford came - because I know it has made the total difference for Rafer Johnson having him here.

jme said...

I am sorry for the loss of such a beautiful friend, but I am glad she is at peaceful rest after such a long journey in a place where she was always loved and among friends. It was an honor getting to know Salina through your stories. I feel like I know her so well and I will miss hearing of her, though I know with her wisdom she has taught all those whose lives she touched and they are ready now to carry on without her daily guidance. I'm also sure her spirit will remain forever an essential part of November Hill. Goodbye sweet Salina. You were a special mare and you will be missed by all who loved you.

billie said...

j, what a lovely tribute. Thank you. This morning we are all sort of nonplussed by the morning routine and what is now missing from it. Salina and the donkeys have had the run of the barn aisle for years now and there was always some manure to get up before breakfast tubs. And her mineral jar and her medicine case are sitting empty on my laundry room counter. My eyes are totally swollen this morning and husband went to the barn in tears. But the first thing I thought when I woke up was this: instead of immediately wondering how is Salina, which was my first thought every day for the past year and a half, I thought, Salina is fine, she is free, I do not have to wonder how this day will go for her. Most days were good for her but I wanted every one of them to be perfect. Now they are.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. She was a grand old soul - those mares, you just can't beat them . . .

billie said...

Thank you, Kate. We are creating her resting place around her today, and in the fall I'm going to plant a huge bed of tulips there. Every time I "enter at A" I will feel her beautiful energy and grace.

Dougie Donk said...

I'm so very sorry to hear that Salina has passed. I believe that saying goodbye is the hardest thing ever & the final dignity we can give to those who gave given us such unconditional love.

Run free Salina.

billie said...

Thanks so much, DD... it was hard, but I knew it was time and I knew she was ready. I feel such relief now that the rawness has passed. She had a good good year, made it to springtime, and left us with so many good memories and much love.

Máire said...

Billie, I am so sorry to read this, although I think I have been waiting to read it also. I feel your rawness. Salina's spirit will seem real to you. At odd times, when you do not expect it, you will feel her beside you and will look around, expecting to see her. And she is there, make no mistake about that.

What these horse gift to us! How incredible is the generosity of their presence, despite such a long, often negative and burdened history with humans.

Blessings in you and all your herd, especially the donkeys.

billie said...

Maire, thank you so much. I have more to write about this, but for now I am feeling so clearly that she is helping all of us as the little forest beside us is decimated for timber. That it is not completely freaking me out is mind boggling to me, but it isn't, and I feel like she is filtering the upset for each of us here, including her equine herd, who are taking the very close machinery with total grace.

Strawberry Lane said...

Oh, so very, very sorry. Salina was so special. We will all miss her. Sweet dreams, Salina.

billie said...

Thank you, SL. It is still feeling lonely here but I will be posting some of the remarkable things that have happened this past week. She still gifts us with her wisdom and magic.

Jane Clancy said...

I'm going to paraphrase words that once helped me through a serious loss. (if they don't feel right, chuck them!)
The sentiment is from me, and heartfelt.
I'm so terribly sorry for your loss, and sadly happy that you had something so incredibly wonderful to lose.
I hope, when it's a little easier, you will share some of your favorite stories of her with us.

billie said...

Jane, thank you - lovely sentiment and I definitely will share some of what has transpired since her death. There are many stories of Salina in my archives here - though I have not labeled all posts so I realize it is tedious to simply go back through the older ones in search of them! Thank you so much for your words. I am grateful.