At the end of our road there is home located on about 20 acres of land.
For a couple of months we noticed a dark brown mule and a grey horse residing in the pasture.
The mule looked heavy and well fed but the grey horse looked awful.
He looked listless, sick, very very thin.
And every day that I saw him he seemed to only get thinner until I began to realize that this sad animal likely would not live much longer.
My initial thought was that the owners had not wormed this animal and that even though he was continually eating he was now too sick to either gain weight or recover.
I felt myself getting angrier and angrier every time I drove by this animal and developed a narrative in my head about uncaring animal owners and painful and prolonged deaths.
I mentioned the horse to my neighbor one day late in the summer and she told me that the horse was simply very old.
A few weeks later he was gone and never returned.
The mule wandered alone through the pastures for a few months.
And then one day recently I drove by the property again and noticed that a new horse had now taken up residence in place of the old and thin and grey horse.
This one is young, healthy, sprightly, and I pulled the truck over to the side of the gravel road recently to watch him running quickly through the dormant and brown field, seemingly incapable of containing his boundless energy.
I pulled the truck over again this morning, on a freezing cold and very windy day that felt colder than it actually was, and watched him again.
As I drove up to him he was again, in the throes of youthful horsefullness, running through the snow that had already partially disappeared to who-knows-where. So light that the wind had simply carried it away.
When I stopped the truck he stopped running.
And then walked over to the fence line, so that we could take a better look at each other.
We stood quietly looking at each for a few minutes, before I turned, climbed back into my truck and drove to the post office to pick up boxes.......................
Horses make a landscape look beautiful............Alice Walker