Thursday, August 08, 2013

sisters at heart

I wish I were a girl again, half-savage and hardy, and free.
-Emily Brontë

Am thinking of times spent cantering fast around Lake Johnson, back when there was nothing out there but the lake and the woods and the path and a few other horse-crazy girls and the horses, who knew their way and took good care of us so we could, for that hour, be like the wind.

This morning I posted the above on my Facebook page. A few minutes later, my friend and wonderful author Elaine Neil Orr (I highly recommend her memoir and her novel) commented:

I wish I had been with you. But I was half-savage and hardy swimming in an African river. We are sisters at heart.

I read the comment and wandered into the bathroom to brush my teeth. The phrase sisters at heart was resonating deeply with me. I felt like I was in the moment a Sister At Heart. Visceral, in the flesh. Suddenly I found myself standing at the kitchen sink, leaning over with the toothbrush still in my mouth, looking out at the scene above.

Behind the fence I saw a dark equine head beneath the oak tree. Close by I could see the swishing tails of the donkeys, Rafer and Redford. 

For about 15 seconds I was looking out at the beloved Salina and her two trusty donkey boys. I have seen that scene so many times. I was filled with peace and contentment and then my heart leaped. I remembered - Salina left us in May. Her grave is in the upper right of the picture above, beyond the barnyard, along the path by the arena.

And yet I had just "seen" her standing, ears pricked, looking at the kitchen window as she did so many times during her years with us.

When I blinked and looked again, it was of course the pony standing there. In the picture you can see his white. Not black, as Salina was.

And then I realized again I was standing at the kitchen sink, brushing my teeth, something I never do. Something had walked me to the place where I was to have what felt like a visitation. Salina was here again, just long enough for my heart to open and my eyes to fill with tears.

Long enough to perfectly define the phrase sisters in spirit.

And it all started, of course, with my memory this morning of riding by the lake, riding like the wind.

I never rode Salina like the wind. By the time she came into my life her knees were creaky and my own body was fully into middle age. We connected a different way - we drew together as mothers and wounded healers, bound by our huge need to keep our herd safe. Always alert to anything that might affect it.

This morning she reminded me she's still here, still looking out with her wise eye and her ears pricked. Sister at heart. Salina.