She was just over twelve at the time. Closed down. The emotions were just too much — the pain too great for her slight frame to hold. So she had to shut it all away.
Her cousin had watched from a distance — and recognized the signs. He had lost his own mother decades before. He knew there was no fixing this, but he also knew there was a balm. Some one thing that could help her hang on.
It was arranged and before she knew it she was spending evenings after school at her aunt’s farm. Her cousin had her out in the barn getting familar with All The Things. The horses, the smells, the routines, even the barn cats. Her aunt would feed her every evening.
There was no conversation about the drastic change in her life or the missing pieces — there was just this new path. And there was the horses.
The horses who would demand to be fed. The horses who didn’t care what mood you were in. The horses who were more like children than she was. The horses whose needs always came first.
And finally — eventually the horses whom she rode like the wind and freed her soul from the confines of the planet. The horses who would nibble on her hair as she walked them home from a ride. The horses who became connected to her psyche and began to read her mind — responding to her commands before she issued them. The horses who understood her emotions better than she could.
And so it began — in those months and years following her mother’s death, the slow grieving process. In small moments gradually the tears would come. She would feel the sting of them in her eyes when she galloped. She would lay her head on a set of strong withers and weep at the end of a ride.
If her cousin or her aunt noticed — they never said anything. They continued to provide the space for her soul and the food for her body. Slowly over time she found her seat and being there felt less like therapy and more like joy.
She began to understand The Divine does not live only in a building blessed by man. The Divine does not live only in the soul of humans — Divinity and salvation is found in all of creation. The Divine came to her in the guise of a horse to heal her world.
“When God created the horse, He said to the magnificent creature: I have made thee as no other. All the treasures of the earth shall lie between thy eyes. Thou shalt cast thy enemies between thy hooves, but thou shalt carry my friends upon thy back. Thy saddle shall be the seat of prayers to me. And thou shalt fly without any wings, and conquer without any sword.” ~ The Koran
And so it was.