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Traveling Hearts

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Four horses walk together on a meandering path pulling individual loads.


One horse pulls her cart leisurely, not bothering herself with an ambitious load. She is a curly sable pony, a work of art: petite in form with dreamy eyes that spontaneously ignite with energy and excitement. She likes to flow alongside of the other ponies unless a leader is needed--then she leaps into position with her ears up and tail waving like a banner in the wind. The horse bringing up the rear is a wanderer who likes to take side paths; sleek and as golden as sunshine, with sturdy muscles and a cropped, square body. Her burden is dense and consistent, and she bears it with a stubborn heart and a quirky temper. Her sense of duty is ironclad but timid; she looks to the day when she can abandon her chains and assume her vague roll among the clouds. The third horse is of a shaggy type with mahogany hues and long angles, paired with a cheerful disposition and a philosophical outlook on his life and his cart. With a bit of wisdom and a bit of chaos, he chooses items for his cart. bearing it all with ease. He has whimsical eyes that observe everything, dainty hooves that like to frolic, and an eager mind that challenges the world around him.

The fourth horse travels in the middle with the third and is completely average in nearly all respects: appearance, size, energy, and demeanor. In her cart is an average dream with all the trappings that go along with it, not too ambitious, but not light either. Sometimes she is able to haul the cart with ease and a plucky nature; other times, a bit of muscle is necessary to spur the cart onward. At these times, the horse is even happier because the work gives her a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Together, with this hopeful work and her herd mates, she is content.

However, there are days when the cart is heavy, with a load piled high with extra worries and doubts. The path is steeper, laden with treacherous rocks, and the air is bitter and harsh. On these days, the steady, persistent gait of the average horse staggers, her eyes glazing over in dismay. Her mind fills with the poison of bleak dejection and stinging anger that sicken her body. The pointlessness of the journey, like a sinister wraith, rushes to nibble at the edges of reason. The steps are heavy and tender, until they come to a halt…the nose lowers until it brushes the ground, the head too heavy to hold up…the body follows, slowly collapsing inward like a hollowed tree after a lightning strike. Her eyes, fatigued and grave, contemplate the barren earth and the tedious, draining path before her. Hope is tainted, the goal itself an empty illusion that seems like it will never come true.

The other herd mates notice her stumble, see her fall. The curly pony offers her comfort, a touch of the wiry nose against a stressed flank, the easy breath on the spine, silent support. The sturdy horse offers a grim, practical reality and the inability to stop, despite any suffering. These gestures are meant well and are offered in each equine’s version of kindness. Each lends her support, which the average horse feels and tries to take strength from.

The third horse, the casual horse, gives the greatest gift: the light of hope, common sense, and love, offered freely and adoringly to the shattered average one. The horse gazes on his fallen comrade, allowing his ideas and emotions to fall as gently as down and with the conviction of lead upon her. She feels these truths and accepts them, finds power in them. Slowly, one hoof at a time, she picks herself up and stands shakily but determined. Assuming her place with her cart, she takes a step forward on the path before her. The others gather together in a circle, reaffirming their bond and their happiness at the bands recovery, before moving back into their individual positions. Again, the average horse looks to her path, seeing the hardships she must traverse, as well as what had been blotted out before: A light. A deep, whole, cleansing light derived from a gift that promises to make worthwhile tomorrow the efforts and pain spent on today. Perseverance is renewed and rewoven with love, honor, and strength into the cart behind the average horse.





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