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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

If I were to write a novel....

Last night Farside was lifted from the world of the seen, into the world of the unseen. I did not awaken yesterday sensing that the day would be filled with heartrending decisions. I did not envision holding Farside’s proud Arab head in my arms, stroking his neck, running my hands along the length of his still body. Nor did I know when I awoke yesterday that my corral friends, Farside’s human herd, would gather around us during a twelve-hour vigil, or that Dominica, the big white warmblood who has been Farside’s closest companion for seven years, would come to touch noses and bid him adieu. In the end, five women were with Farside and me—offering strength, solace, prayer. “You were his life blessing, Page,” Sheri said. “Send him to the love and light.”  

Farside and Tripp, Wyoming
Before Farside came to live here with me in these green mountain pastures, he and Sheri traveled over 4000 competitive trail miles together—in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico.  In the last few years, Farside and Tripp, Sheri’s endurance horse, traveled to Wyoming for our annual Literature & Landscape of the Horse Retreat, sharing adventures in the river bottom country of the Medicine Bow Mountains.  Last spring, Sheri’s friends gathered around her as she blessed Tripp to the light, wishing him bon voyage. I envision Tripp there in the world of the unseen now, waiting for Farside…

Farside, Page, Matt
If I were to write a novel about Farside and the life we shared, I would include a chapter about the wedding day he carried me on his back to the mountain meadow where John and our community of friends and family waited, yellow wild flowers braided in his mane and tail, his coat shining from the bath Sheri and my daughter had given him, my son walking alongside us.

Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon
Read Denver Post article
I would want to write about our adventures in Wyoming, and here in Colorado on these mountain trails. Perhaps I would write a scene where Farside gives pony rides during the community’s July 4th picnic. And of course, a scene close to the end of the story out in the pasture with his horse herd and a photographer from The Denver Post clicking away trying to capture the mystery that was Farside.

Farside by Sybil Hill
I would include a scene from last Sunday, when John and I ventured into the high Colorado mountains, crossing the Continental Divide enroute to an art gallery at Beaver Creek. In this scene, we would meet artist Sybil Hill, a painter of iconic horses, and she would give to me a portrait of Farside. We would hug and talk about how handsome and gentlemanly Farside was, how he always greeted me with a nicker.  John would tuck the painting safely in the trunk of our car and later, at home, I would carry it from room to room, imagining where we would hang it. The final scene might show me lighting a candle the next night and sitting on the floor beside the painting, as only hours earlier I had knelt beside Farside, cradling his head in my arms.

Yes, if I were to write a novel, I would include all these scenes. And from them would emerge a grand design, a mysterious and destined love, a blessing from the highest hill in that unseen world. Some readers might scoff at the coincidental timing of the events of the last weeks shared by this woman and this horse. But others would recognize the symbolism arising from the synchronicity. They would turn the last page of the book, and slowly—gently—close its covers. And the love would live on.