• vslachman

The Darkness of the Night

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

I don't know about you, but I would much rather have serious challenges come to me than to those I love. Dorian has suffered some setbacks recently, and it's been hard for me not to be angry at the injustice --or what I perceive to be that--inflicting itself upon such an innocent, sweet creature.

And it seems especially cruel coming in the midst of the Christmas season.

He was kicked weeks ago, and though I was able to get the swelling down, he still wasn't walking correctly. I sent a video to Dr. Olivia, the vet at our barn, who was heading out of town and she said clearly there was "damage," but how much, she couldn't say until she returned a week later and examined him.

At the same time, I was doing an article on equine gut health for a horse magazine, and in interviewing veterinarians, as well as (coincidentally) talking to an equine nutritionist--I realized that Dorian was also experiencing some hind gut imbalance, which is why his body condition wasn't looking normal for him, and why he also had another fungal infection starting up.

His whole stifle area was swollen from the kick. I put an arnica poultice on it, which did eliminate the swelling.

AND--Shannon, his farrier, was concerned about the condition of his hooves. She wanted me to ask Dr. Olivia about some support for his hoof walls, so they wouldn't continue pulling apart.

Goodness! Nice way to start off winter, with its dark days so reflected in Dorian and my experience.

It was hard to leave him in that dry lot where he'd bee kicked. He was having a hard time walking, and just stared at me pathetically when I had to leave. But at that point, I didn't have a choice except to leave him there.

I spent hours and hours with Dorian and running all over Illinois, St. Louis, and the internet getting together everything he needed to get him back to health. Dr. Olivia came to the barn and examined him a week later, did an ultrasound, and --to my great relief--said there was no bone damage, but a deep muscle was torn. That, she felt, he'd recover from, with rest, minimal movement, and rehab.

He needed to be in a stall. There wasn't an open stall at the barn.

I spent many more hours doing research and visiting possible new places he could stay--no appropriate barns had openings. No "manger" for my boy to rest in and regain his health.

Or so it appeared.

I thought about the Christmas season and its message of "seeming" no place for the emblem of healing to come into the world. And yet, all those centuries ago, nothing could keep goodness and Love's presence from those who needed it, no matter what the material picture looked like.

So, I thought . . . enough of the darkness. I'm focusing on the light.

I kept my mind on the goodness at hand, on being grateful for Celeste who was there to walk Dorian for the video. Grateful to German who is always ready to do whatever is necessary to take care of the horses, and always with a smile. Grateful to the barn owner and her husband for the great Triangle H facility, the stellar nutrition, and for attracting all the wonderful people to the barn.

I went from lamenting how hard the task was, how much time it all took, how bad Dorian looked to feeling great joy at seeing his progress, literally step by step. He was able to go into a quarantine stall, so he was out of danger and not able to move around a huge amount. Forward progress!

The quarantine stall at Triangle H with friends. :)

But he couldn't stay there very long, because that's where new horses are put prior to being allowed out with the larger herds. So if a new boarder came, Dorian had no place to go.

I did finally find a barn with one stall open, and prepared to move Dorian. It wasn't my first choice, especially since moving would only put more stress on Dorian who was already contending with so much. Dorian loves where he is, and I love it there, too. Such a sad, sad Christmas, it seemed, for us both.

I kept walking Dorian for 20 minutes, day after day--the only movement he was allowed--praising him when he backed up nicely, soothing him, giving him massages, and even singing a few hymns. He always listens to the singing, inept as it is, his sweet ears twitch back and forth, and his eyes become bright. I know he hears the messages of love and healing.

I said goodbye to all my friends on Saturday, and tried mightily to trust in goodness' all presence.

Last year's photo of Dorian eating with his little buddy. But I still feed him in the wheelbarrow, since he gazes around and drops his food all over the place if I don't!

And then came Sunday morning. I was texting back and forth with Marcy, the barn owner, and she was sweetly trying to come up with a place for Dorian so we could stay--but we weren't able to do that. He had to go.

I took Dorian out to the pasture to graze, trying to maintain a buoyant thought about the situation. I committed to trusting that goodness and love could not be kept from us now, any more than it had when the Christian era or the Buddhist era or any other enlightened era began.

Then the phone rang. It was Marcy. She'd just received a call that one of the stall boarders would be leaving December 31st.

Thirty minutes before, there was little else but darkness. Then, in an instant, all that changed. The first day of the new year, Dorian would have the stall he needed to recuperate. Until then, he could stay in the quarantine paddock.

Dorian and his new stall mate, Scout. :)

A miracle? Maybe. Or maybe it's the true nature of things . . . the presence of Love that's surrounding us all the time. Maybe all I needed to do was recognize and accept it. And see that it's truth is reflected to and in everyone in my experience.

At any rate, to me, as one of my loved hymns says "The truth of Love displaces the darkness of the night." And so it has.

Merry Christmas!

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