It’s the first time in weeks, or has it been months, that it’s been warm enough for the donkeys to want a little attention other than food. It was just above freezing all day and I wanted to be outside. A walk with Jon and Red in the morning and snow shoeing in the afternoon. Inbetween there was shoveling (all the snow was melting off the roofs) and any other chore I could think up just to be outside.
But this spring-like day also meant that Fanny and Lulu didn’t mind me scratching them under the chin and behind their ears. And it was warm enough for me to want to do it too. So we spent some time in the dry pole barn together. They seemed to want the attention as much as I did.
I crouched down and squatted next to Fanny. It took Lulu a little longer but she soon came over and stood on the other side of me. Now I was surrounded and we just stayed that way, still and quiet. After a while a voice inside of me asked “Remember this?” I immediately smiled thinking of the warmer weather when we do this almost everyday. But then something else happened. I felt something inside of me. It was like a thin line going through the center of my body. Straight and strong and glowing white. And I felt like, well it’s hard to describe, but I felt like I was no longer in the pole barn but somewhere else. Not on the outside, I could still feel and see my surroundings, but inside, it felt like I was traveling inside me. Then, in my mind I saw a picture of me and donkeys walking on a trail through hills. We were surrounded by green scrubby plants and walking on a yellowish brown earth.
Then I knew the voice asking if I remember wasn’t talking about the warmer months when me and Fanny and Lulu hang around together. It was going back much farther than that. It was talking about the ancient bond between humans and donkeys. It was reminding me of something I had forgotten. And I didn’t know this intellectually, that came later when I thought about it. I knew it because I could feel it. As if I actually could remember something that happened thousands of years ago, and not to me as I am now. But something I carried in my DNA, something all humans share.
So as much as I’ve been thinking and writing about and making art about this connection between equines and humans, today I actually experienced it as something ancient that is deep inside of me. An untapped part of me that I’ve been circling around for years.
I have no doubt that it was Fanny and Lulu or one or the other that showed this part of myself to me, this afternoon, deepening our relationship and leading me down this new and very old path.