Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Little colt lost

Allowing livestock to roam freely is regular practice here. So it is no surprise when something becomes road kill. It is just so sad to see this sweet colt go down.

We were growing accustomed to his presence as he followed his mother grazing alongside the highway. We'd usually only see them early in the morning on our way to take Allison to school. We looked forward to spotting him. Today when I saw him lying alongside the road I hoped that maybe he was just sleeping, but on the way back I checked him, actually touched him. His flesh was still soft so the accident must have happened early this morning. What else I could do I did not know. I'm sure the owner will discover him soon enough. So sad.

It made me recall a story I read about this horse that lived on the Silverado Trail near Calistoga, California. Everyone was familiar with this old horse. He became a living landmark to the people who drove past him every day on their way to work or school year after year. When he died the whole community mourned; they laid wreaths and notes along the barbed wire fence where he lived. The people felt they had lost something communally important, a shared treasure.

I thought a lot about this story at the time. I'd driven along the Silverado Trail so I knew how pastoral and beautiful it was. I could imagine what a lovely sight this horse in this setting was to the commuters passing by. But more than a pretty sight, he was surely a reassuring one. And more than that, a representative of a simplier, slower way of life in the past. I understood completely why he was beloved.

Our little colt didn't hang around long enough to become an icon. Still, the feeling of loss is similar to that of the people in my story.

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