An original story by R.T. Fitch
“It’s ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and I am going to do something different, today. Instead of sharing something that someone else has written I have penned, for you, a few thoughts and feelings that crossed across my heart this very morning. A true blog is supposed to be an online journal of the creators thoughts and plans but we use this as a sounding board for the causes and issues that engulf our American Equines both wild and domestic. But today I wax a little emotional with an eye turned inward, not a bad thing to do to revitalize one’s heart and soul. So today I share this moment in time and hope that the love and the glow reaches out through the words to touch your heart and brings you great joy. Keep the faith, my friends.” ~ R.T.
Suzie ~ photo by Terry Fitch
I woke up rather differently this morning. Only three days into attempting to pull myself backwards in time from living 13 hours ahead of U.S. Central time; the night had been sporadic and unsettled enough without my wife’s phone pinging an audible text message signal at 0523 hrs.
“Who would be texting her at this hour?”, my jet lagged brain attempted to deduce when it chimed again, followed by a ping.
I tried as I may to keep my eyes closed and my mind turned off when it happened yet a third time and when I heard the following ping I realized that the last tone was and had been coming from my phone recharging in the kitchen.
“Who would be texting both of us at this time of day?” I thought as I stood up from the bed and scooped up my clothing, flashlight and Big Max from their every ready state next to our bed. (Yes, being a former volunteer fire fighter has taught me to be ready in an instant, even when you are asleep.)
I scrambled to the kitchen while pulling on pants, shirt and socks only to realize that I could not read the messages on the phone without my glasses, getting old is such a bitch.
Once I had the Coke bottle bottoms latched onto my face I could read that the messages had come from one of the barn’s internal surveillance cameras as movement within our closed up barn had activated it and there were no horses inside…this peaked my interest.
So I strapped Big Max onto my right hip, not for protection from critters but the two-legged kind, and put the torch in my left pocket while heading for the garage door only to almost trip over our geriatric German Shepherd, Suzie, sprawled out in front of the back door. She struggled to stand when she spied me out of her last working eye; I could tell by her expression that she wanted to go out. So I helped her up, as she has trouble standing, and opened the back door for her to go out. I closed the door behind her and turned away as it pains me to watch her struggle to negotiate the three low steps that take her down to the patio, she is tough though.
I exited the house through the garages and opened up half the barn door with torch in hand. Quickly flipping on the light switches I was greeted to a great big nothing, no one or no thing was there.
I entered and listened for any sort of sound and nothing came bouncing back to my ears. Methodically I opened up each stall door and peered inside with the LED torch ablaze, nothing. I looked up into the haylofts and walked over to the ladder, “A raccoon could be up there I thought”, so I pocketed the torch and headed up.
Once up I could clearly see the second hayloft and it was clear, I could look down into all of the stalls and nothing stirring. Likewise I surveyed the storage area over the tack room and the bales of hay in the loft itself and not a creature was stirring, not even a rat.
Hmmm, something must have triggered the camera but it was obviously not inside anymore so I carried my search outside to the parameter of the barn. Nothing to the north, east or south but down in the western pasture the eyes of the grazing horses and deer reflected back to me as did two rabbits nibbling grass in the backyard.
False alarm, so I retraced my steps down the barn’s drive, across the driveway and into the garages and back into the house where I knew a hot cup of tea would help clear away the cobwebs of jet lag, as it always did.
But once wide awake with a steaming hot cup of hand carried Chinese Ginseng tea in hand I noted yet another alert coming across my phone, a weather warning. It seemed that a narrow band of thunderstorms was bearing down on us from the northwest so instead of making a detour into my home office to work on a morning installation for the blog I headed back out the garage door to sit and watch the natural fireworks in the darkness of the early morning. It would be refreshing and rejuvenating.
So I sat under the west garage’s porch as I sipped my tea and listened to the distant rumble of the storm; suddenly my chair nudged from behind. It was Suzie, she had finally made her way around from the back and was coming to the garages to see if any of her people were about, and they were…I was there.
I looked down at her and scratched her graying chin, she closed her eyes and instead of gracefully lying down next to me she did the only thing she can now do to recline, she fell with a thud. Riddled with arthritis she cannot bend like she used to so she just falls and each time she does it I become a little shaken. But she does not cry, whimper or complain; it just is.
I have talked with Terry about releasing her, about allowing her to transcend her aging and crippled body but Terry claims that she has not asked nor is she ready. We must be patient and help her whenever we can; she deserves that much respect.
But I see her fail more each time I am away and then return, so much so that I said my heartfelt goodbyes before I left last month as I was certain that she would not be here upon my return, she proved me wrong.
As the breeze began to freshen and the petals from the Bradford Pear tree blossoms fell on us like snow I looked into her one seeing eye and listened, I tried to shut my mind off so I could hear her and to my dismay I found that my brain would not stop talking and continued to yapp away about her condition.
I looked away as the first drops of the storm began to fall and noted that both of us were a little too close to the edge of the roof line to be fully protected from the rain. I stood up to move my chair back and Suzie took that as a cue to move, too. She sat up on her front two legs and paused, I saw her hesitate and then she looked right into my heart and said, “Help me”.
I did; I hugged my arms around her and gently slid her back to my chair so that she would not have to go through the effort of trying to stand up, move and then fall down again. I just placed her next to me and we both watched the rain.
As the rain fell I softly laid my left hand on her head and gently rubbed her ancient brow as my heart felt yet another hole beginning to form as a piece of me was beginning to dissolve. It hurt, the knowing of impending loss yet there was a glow under my hand as I softly rubbed her ears as she looked out upon the storm.
I listened over the thunder, wind and rain and I could hear a faint sound of warmth, a feeling of love and a musical note that came not to my heart but instead to my soul. I listened without my ears and I could hear Suzie humming, not loudly but contently and with great love.
I looked down at her as she looked up to me and I swear that she smiled as I heard her say, “Not today, but soon. I love you.”
It was not a raindrop but a tear from me that landed between her paws and with her tongue outstretched she gently licked it up and kissed my hand.
We smiled and then turned to the storm.
“Not today,” I sighed.