In years past I spent abundant energy creating Christmas wish lists for my husband, family and friends. I circled pages in catalogs, bookmarked websites on the laptop and led thinly disguised guided tours through the local tack store, all in hopes that they’d buy my pre-selected gifts and then hand them over on December 25th.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still all for gathering around an abundantly decorated tree and sipping wassail while carols play in the background. And we’ll be exchanging a few gifts this year. But after some major events in my horsey life during 2011 I’m focusing more on the true meaning of the season.
A close friend of mine died this year. In fact, she passed away last Christmas Eve. I still think of her every day. In fact, if I sit quietly I can still hear her voice, the sound of it, the way she could both laugh and speak at the same time. There was always a certain mix of both drama and joy to her voice, whether we were chatting about horses or work or life. I pray I’ll never forget that sound.
Two special horses in my life also passed away last year. When I said good-bye to each of them it was bittersweet. I looked into their soft dark eyes, fringed with the gray hairs of age, and envisioned them in their younger, vital years, still full of athletic ability and a zest for competition.
Though I may be coming across as sad or morose, I can assure you that I am not. Instead, I have learned something this year. I’ve learned to appreciate those things that cannot be found on a shelf or ordered online. They aren’t wrapped in glitzy paper and tied up with a bow.
No, the most important things in our horsey lives are the intangible ones: a hug from your closest barn buddy, a nuzzle from your favorite horse, and the feel of a brisk, cool wind stinging your face as you gallop across an open field. In other words, the best gifts are love, peace and joy. And I sincerely hope you experience each one this holiday season.
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