February 26, 2018, a beautiful 50 degrees in winter Michigan. This is the day Harley chose to bring us down to the quietest part of the pasture and urged us to be still. Amidst all of the chaos in everyone’s life, we all come to sit and be with him. He brought us together to be for a day, to live on Harley time for his last day.
Harley Horse, Harles, Mr. Handsome, came with the inability to just live but, that’s all he did. He lived, against all the odds; he staggered to breakfast, stood in goal boxes, and shared his superpowers in his very special ways.
Against all the odds he continued on just as horses do. Harley has only been in my life for a short time but has he taught me valuable lessons.
- Keep going even when your legs aren’t working.
- Harley stayed on his path, once he knew what he wanted or where he wanted to go he wasn’t stopping.
- Let your beauty do the work for you.
- You don’t have to be the brains to be wise
His lessons always included “or” he was inconsistent that way.
We always joked about the inconstancy of Harley, in his last month it became my primary focus to make sure he ate. It changed every day what he would eat, what he wouldn’t and the dish it came in was vital. Some days the bowls needed to be rotated, some days the food needed to be rotated, some days the bowl needed to be a bucket. Some days required hand feeding, some days he just wasn’t going to be eating. No two days were the same for this bay paint. He taught me to stay particular that way. Be particular in what you want, set your goals and stick to them, it can change, you don’t have to be the same person every day. But showing up, even if someone has to show you how is still showing up. Remain a mystery, keep people on their toes, it teaches thinking.
Harley kept me thinking, he kept me curious.
As I sit here alone with him, waiting for the vet to help him with his journey. He eats his last meal, in his sloshy manner. Stuffy nose, nearly licking the bucket clean for the first time ever. The sound of him eating I take in, I use all of my sense with him in these last moments, the sun beating down from a cloudless sky, the leaves rustling on the ground around me, the leafless branches creaking together. It will never be this way again my friend won’t be here tomorrow for breakfast.
At 3:00 PM the ground shook.
“My gratitude, my humbleness, my bravery/I will open up the doors into the sky so I can ask God why/So send me off with your love, I’ll fly like a dove/Into the sunset of my teenage adolescence/And if you’re ever feeling alone/Know that I’ll never forget you/ Even when I’m gone” –Quietdrive, Even When I’m Gone