The Big Quiet

12 Mar

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Katie is tucked in her stall for the night, munching hay.  That leaves me to muse.

Sometimes I worry because I haven’t done anything truly astounding, athletic, prolific or legendary in my 49 years on this planet.  I haven’t written the 40 books I intended to or done illustrations recreating all the animals of the Pleistocene.

I never did ride my bike up the California coast through Oregon and north to Alaska.  I haven’t barrel raced a horse since I was 18, and then I barely went faster than a lope.  So winning the Kentucky Derby is pretty much out.

I haven’t traveled to very many foreign countries.  Two is the most I’ve managed to visit.  One of them was just a layover waiting for my flight to the other one.

I haven’t had any reason to visit the White House and be honored for my incredible accomplishment of cleaning out the chicken coop with a cracked shovel.

I did give birth twice without any pain meds.  And I sewed a parrot costume for my horse.

But still, there’s a lingering feeling that I haven’t accomplished quite enough.

The quest for enough, however, has no end.  Sometimes you win big, sometimes not.  And it’s all how you define winning and big.  A long resume doesn’t mean you get more time.

Animals have it easier.  They don’t need to create the Presidential greeting card.  They can truly be here now.  We have to work at it and outwit our own minds to quiet down enough to be fully present.

A horse’s world has a bigness.  I can sit with Katie and feel the Big Quiet of All Things.  Her consciousness is vast and merged with the wind and land.  Ours is constrained and boxed in by constant thought.  I think the sweeping wildness and presence of a horse is what draws us to them.  They live in a world we can only visit.  We are uneasily present on this planet and only really here when we are quiet enough to hear the silence.

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