The following was written after a wonderful two-day self-help class with animals presented by Adele Leas in August 2003.  The writing is an attempt to capture the essence of that specific experience, the experience of awakening awareness to all that is.  At the time I sent it with this covering note to those who participated in the class.

Editha [Campbell] and I had the most amazing experience with a horse, Mistral, at Hoplands Stables.  On day two of the class Jayne [Mistral’s owner] took us for our hands-on Jin Shin Jyutsu session with Mistral.  My terror of horses had abated to the point where it was only serious FEAR.   Who could have foreseen the change that only an hour would bring.  At the time, it simply was not possible to even begin to put the experience into words.  I’m not sure that it is possible even now.  However, I wanted to share with you my attempt to capture at least a little of the magic of that day:

To See a Horse

 We walked along the dirt track between the green fields looking across the rolling hills to see a horse, we three.  The sun shone steadily in a clear blue sky laced with stray white cotton clouds.  I walked with fear comfortably settled within.  My two companions, Spirit and Joy chatted amiably of the horses in each field we passed, their names and stories shared between these two who seemed to know.  The journey was neither long nor short.  It was only to the field farthest from the stables of man that we walked to spend some time with Mistral. 

 We entered through the gate and Joy sent out a wave of love across the field to embrace the mare grazing there.  She lifted her head gracefully and then began a slow walk to greet us.  Mistral was not a stranger as only this morning we had said hello.  And yet in the field as I placed my hands on her chest and back, the greeting was shared anew as if meeting for the first time.

 Spirit and I said adieu to Joy and asked that she give a message to our friends that all was well.  We were content in our farthest field. 

 At first there was some adjusting and shuffling as Sprit and I touched the horse who continued to graze in her own time and rhythm.  And then we three, a new three, entered into our own place.  I remembered all that my teacher had said – awareness of feet – my own and those of the horse; breathe with the rhythm of the horse.  And as my shoulders dropped I heard then saw at the far end of the field against the backdrop of trees and sky, a dense flock of crows, their cries a sharp syncopation to the swirling spiral of their flight.  Ancient guides in times when courage is needed to break free from the past.  They flew on to their noon-time roost.  An owl hooted from the edge of the woods and in the silence that followed, the sun and breeze danced together warming my back.  Fear dissolved into tears that streamed from my eyes and the voice speaking from self to self said “IT IS. It is this simple”.  My eyes saw the totality of sun, sky, field, horse and man.  The stillness simply accented by the small chirp of birds.  We had entered a magic place where there was no time. Who knows how long we stood in touch with horse.

 Mistral breathed deep shook herself and purposefully moved away from us.  Her “thank you” clear and evident for us to hear.  Our timeless time was over.  Spirit and I stood in awe and wonder of the experience.  Words could not capture the moment nor enrich our knowing.  We moved in silence to the gate and along the dirt track, retracing our steps.  And as we moved hand in hand, the sky itself shouted “Look!” and the sun sparked from the bright white clouds that in that instant streamed across the sky to create wisps of the formation some call “mare’s tails” –  like giant wings transforming each cloud.  And so we paused again to gaze in amazement at the power, the strength and beauty of horse.

by Carlyse Smyth
September 2003