“Oh! How beautiful you are!”
“Am I not?” the flower responded, sweetly. “And I was born at the same moment as the sun…”
-From The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
Fumi, Notty, Footie, Smudgy, and Piney. And……….Beverly!! She is the center of a flower, and her boys are the petals that surround her. Each one has his own shape, story, and place within a circle that stretches and shifts with the breeze. She finds quiet peace within their herd. They rely on her for the fulfillment of their most basic needs. The situation is as simple as it is profound: they love each other.
Fumi Man is a docile, people-pleasing guy whose asymmetry requires weekly bodywork maintenance. Beverly calls him (adoringly) “Little Bonehead” because his head…well, it’s pointy in the front.
You read about Notty last week. He is big and sweet and neurologic. Despite his lack of coordination, he still rolls in the field and galivants around with his pals when he can.
Footie (Footman) is like a Ferrari, according to Beverly. Unfortunately, a piece of broken PVC pipe nearly amputated his hoof last year. We are working to improve both his comfort and his functionality.
Smudgy (Smudgy Bear) never raced. The smallest of the bunch, he is the unlikely leader. He uses intelligent reservation to explain his equitable rules, and the others are happy to oblige.
Piney (Pine Cone) is the epitome of a gentleman. Handsome, strong, sensitive, perceptive…even the twinkle in his eye is polite. He’s not pictured because he stepped on a nail several weeks ago and is at a layup facility. But surprise, surprise…he is a bay Thoroughbred!
Every Friday afternoon, I meet Beverly at her magically unusual property, tucked away at the end of a gravel road in Leesburg, VA. Together, we evaluate all of her trusty steeds and choose the three most in need of bodywork. The changing light reaches through the leaves of pear trees. Deer come to munch on the fallen fruit. Hawks call to each other. The horses yawn and sigh.
Beverly and I talk. We make each other laugh with our outrageous metaphors for life. The horses guide us through the nitty-gritty particulars of an existence limited only by human expectation. We discuss the absurdity of time and age. We ask rhetorical questions on purpose. We celebrate the space between wrong and right. We decide to live in a fantastic world of possibility.
And then, she walks back into her house and I close the gate and drive home, chasing the sun as it reminds me of how lucky and loved we are.