Hazel-Sunny

Follow Me! – Chapter 1, HORSE RANCH DAYDREAM

Hazel was going to stay here with Aunt Trudy and Uncle Tom, while mom had her chemo. That thought momentarily stopped her feet and furrowed her brow, but then she resumed her squinting walk.  Worries aside, the whole summer stretched before her; two months or more of sunny mornings.

As Hazel walked she began to imagine what her life here on a horse ranch would be like. Her favorite image, as always, included horses. They would run up to the fence, and arch their long necks over it just for her. Her hands floated up as she imagined petting a horse’s nose. Playful horses might buck in the fields, but near her they’d be as friendly as puppies.

fenceclimb

She was passing the trunk of a fallen tree. Broken limbs poked up every here and there like the spokes of a crazy wheel. The trunk was wide and covered with rough bark. As she looked at it, she got an idea. She steered herself over to it and closed her eyes, so that she could imagine standing beside a large brown horse with a glistening coat and beautiful long black mane.

Hazel reached her hand out as if she could touch the long strands of thick black mane, and felt it tingle as it closed loosely over the broken stump of a short upright limb. Eyes still closed, she patted the bark, and then swung her leg up into the air and over, straddling the trunk just behind the broken limb. As she settled on the rounded bark, she willed herself to forget the ground under the toes of her boots.

She imagined herself mounted on the broad supporting back of a horse that was tall and powerful. Her mind took in a bird’s eye view of its black mane, right up to the backs of its small pointed ears. She squeezed her legs against trunk’s bark covered sides and pretended to feel the horse moving and shifting subtly beneath her. Her tingling hand had somehow managed to bridge the gap between herself and the dream horse. Her hand had somehow found the ability to make her mount into an extension of herself. Now she felt stronger and braver. They could travel farther and faster and more gracefully than she had ever been able to run on her own.  They could run from one end of the horse ranch to the other, if she wanted to.  Best yet, they could do it together. She’d never need to feel the achy scary sadness of being alone.

Hazel sat and pretended until the uneven bark made her legs hurt, and then reluctantly swung off and patted the trunk one last time. Sighing, she opened her eyes, she began walking once again up the road.

Before long she could see some horses grazing under fat oak trees along the side of the nearby hill. Hazel climbed the wooden fence that separated the road from the horse pasture, calling out some of their names, “Hey Dancer! Hallooo Sundance!”, then sat to enjoy the sight the big beautiful animals moving over the grass.

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