Ryo in summer pasture
I woke up this morning and saw a spider first thing. Some Native Americans believe that when a spider appears in our path it symbolizes choice, and is a reminder that just as the spider weaves its web, so do our choices build our lives.
The last week of October is always deeply meaningful for me. It was on October 29 six years ago that my horse Ryo died. I remember driving out to the barn that morning, noticing the first scattering of snow in Tesuque. The barn owner and my vet had both advised that the kindest thing would be to put ailing Ryo down before true winter, when he would likely die a painful, freezing death one night in his deteriorated condition. That morning, I gave Ryo grain. He wouldn’t eat. We turned Ryo out in the pasture he loved so much, but rather than wander around, he stood by the gate. Other boarders drove up, unusual for 8am on a cold fall weekday. “What is this? A rock concert?” the barn owner muttered. I guess they cared for my placid little mustang, too. They brought roses and lavender.
My vet arrived. The barn owner thoughtfully ushered the onlookers away. “You want me to hold his halter rope?” the barn owner asked. “No,” I said. I stood there stroking my horse so he would know he was loved until the end. My vet did the deed in the most humane way, with a shot to tranquilize Ryo, then another to send him on his way. Ryo collapsed on the blue blanket I’d brought. I took that blanket home and slept with it for months. I’m sleeping with it again this week. If ever it's easy for spirits to cross over from one dimension to another, late October seems like the time.
Above: My mustang Ryo in Tesuque, NM. Our barn owner in Malibu described him as Ghandi-esque because Ryo didn't fight for the best feed bin like the other horses. When Ryo died in Tesuque, I turned on my car radio to hear John Lennon singing "Imagine"... that was Ryo "living life in peace."
PHOTOS BY WOLF SCHNEIDER