Two apples from Panera, chopped into tiny pieces, tucked into a ziplock bag.  Step out through the mudroom with me into the dusk, on this, the first night of spring.

Mind the cat, he’s deaf.  Sixteen years old, and he still catches mice.  I find the tails and gut-bits on the mudroom floor where he spends his retirement stretched out in the sun.  Appreciate the skreeeee-BANG of the screen door behind us.  That’s a sound from our collective childhoods, even if our grandparents lived in an apartment.  We somehow remember that sound.

The work week and all its craziness follows us only as far as the red tube-steel gate, set into the wood fence that separates the back yard from the pasture.  But, before you raise the latch, stop.  Feel the breeze.  Let it carry the stress and tired and all the thoughts right out of your head.  Feel all of that flowing out through your hair, and away.  Breathe deeply.  Close your eyes for a moment.  The week is over.  There’s no rush.  No hurry.  Down shift, so that you can meet the horses humbly, where they are, not as an adjunct to your own story, your own identity.

Breathe.  Deep.  Taste the extreme green of the sugary new spring grass reaching up toward the sky.  Feel the baby-leaf-green of the vines and trees as the spring energy pours through them and into you.  Let the sweet smell of horse shit fill you without rejecting or approving.  The pulse of the tiny frog songs becomes the beat of your own heart.  Be still.  Smile…  Ahhh, that breeze…

Now, raise the latch on the gate.  Do remember to close it behind you.

Don’t worry about the mud from this morning’s downpour.  Like all the other things you’d like to push out of your life, all the things you have opinions about, it’s just there, doing its thing, being mud.  Enjoy it as though you were five years old.  Squish through the mud with me to the barn.  The horses are there in the shadow of this evening, quietly chewing hay.

Look!  Look how the clouds rest silver and gray against the pinkblue sky, hovering over the neighbor’s greening field.  Magnificent!  After such a long, cold winter, this – here and now – this is the first moment of spring.  Drink it in.  The breeze on your face is neither warm nor cool, but perfection itself in its sweetness.  Little frogs call out, rhythmically looking for love.

Step into the dim cool of the barn, over the hay-strewn dirt floor.  It’s a small, old barn with oak boards rough-hewn decades ago, fading red like the strong cedar poles from right here on the property.   Kit, Captain, and Lil’Bits quietly look up as we come into their space.  They’re not in stalls, but free to roam the aisle.  Kit lumbers over to see if you’ve brought something tasty.  We’re tempted to speak, but their silent presence is so strong, so complex and deep, that we know we’d cheapen the moment with the sound of our voices.

Get that baggie of apple pieces out of your pocket.  Hold a cool nugget of apple in the flat of your palm and offer it to Kit.  She’s alpha here, and it’s appropriate to give her the first bite.  Feel her enormous and exquisitely gentle and fuzzy lips grope your palm for the apple.  Listen to the crunch and enjoy the sweetness of her breath.  Captain nickers loud and low, but doesn’t move from where he’s standing.  Careful!  He dives hard for treats.  Watch your fingers!  Lil’ Bits is dainty and gentle, her strong lips whisking back and forth to make sure she’s taken everything you have to offer.

Breathe them in.  Breathe in their scent, the damp hay smell.  Stand perfectly still while Kit bumps your lips with her massive soft nose, giving you a kiss in exchange for another apple slice.  Smell the sweetness of her breath in the tender quiet of this place.

We’re out of apple pieces.  Stand quietly here for a moment and just be.  Just listen.  Let them fill you.  Let the darkening evening wash over you.  The summer lies before us as though we were ten years old again.  And, this, right now, is the first moment of it.

Turn gently, and walk with me back out into the evening.  Horses go back to munching hay.  You and I watch barn swallow silhouettes dancing over the fields.

The sound of foot-falls heading home.

44 Comments on “First Evening of Spring

  1. How can I not be right along side of you? Your delicious words and descriptions pull me right in. I do hope you are compiling a book from these soulful posts. Gentle and raw at the same time.

    • Susan, thanks for coming along. It’s getting to the point that I can actually feel you all with me sometimes! Yes, I’m thinking seriously about doing a book. It would give me the chance to weave my incredibly outrageous story into the mix. Thank you for the encouragement. And, thanks for making the trip to the barn this evening!

  2. Wow – such beautiful writing and such a beautiful depth of mindfulness that every moment was just luminous and sacred. Reminded me of my favorite passages on nature from Krishnamurti’s Journals… thank you for sharing your meditative space with all of us…

    • Thank you for the beautiful and encouraging words, aalif. And I’m humbled to be anywhere in the same sentence with Krishnamurti. So glad you could be here this evening!

  3. An earthy, magical guided meditation. Even if I didn’t have horses of my own, I’d have been able to experience them through your words. Just lovely.

  4. Love that screen door. It took me right back to that magic childhood age. Thanks for sharing this wonderful moment. I’ll be back with a handful of apples soon.

    • Wonderful! There are never enough apples or loving, kind people to deliver them to the horses. Great to have you here this evening!!

  5. ZD, Thanks for inviting me along tonight. I don’t know why this makes me tear up. All the best. All those frogs out there saying “hey baby”. I like the frogs. I think I’ll stand out here and watch the last of the light for a while. Can you put on the kettle? I’ll be inside shortly. Alice

  6. The way you write about these moments of life touches each of my senses as well as my soul. As I read I am there, and can feel love for the landscape and the ever present horses. I don’t have horses in my life at the moment, so it’s a gift being with them vicariously through your words.

    • Thank you for your sweet words, harula. I got home from a long hard week, fed all the animals and myself, then realized just how beautiful it was outside. The light! The colors! Spring!!! So, I chopped up an apple and put on my boots. When I came back in, I just wrote down exactly what happened so that all of you could be there too. Glad it worked!

  7. Oh, so what I needed… Having us leave the horrendous work week behind … it left no time to have healing time. Thank you once again for you! The way you weave your magic of peace and inspiration… oh my…

    • Anne, It was a long hard week for me too. But the light was so lovely last night. It all unfolded just this way. Glad you could come along!

      • I’m sorry you had such a bad week, and leaving the collective stress at the door was a good idea to put there, to prepare for the rest of the experience.
        You are blessed with the ability to see the world in such detail, inscribe it in such a way so unique to you. Thank you. You are an amazing writer.

        • Anne, “leaving the stress at the gate” is a practice that I do each time I walk to the barn. Just wrote it down that way because it’s how it is. Thanks for your concern and kindness. Hugs…

  8. It’s not just the sound of the screen door that connects us to a collective conscious, Zen Doe, it is everything you describe and how you describe it. I’ve never had horses, but I can recognize the experience you describe deep down in my spirit. God, I wish you surfed, so you could describe getting tubed with your magical words. Waiting to click on ‘Add to Cart” when you publish your book. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

    • Surfing! Nope, never done it, but wow, that must be something! I appreciate your comments so much, Kozo. Hugs and love back

  9. That was one of the most magical things I have ever read. You are a talented wordsmith ms, Doe. You enable me to smell the colours and taste the air. I want more….

  10. Through your words, I breathe in their scent, the damp hay smell, be in the silence that speaks to the soul. Your post is warm, earthy warm, and very beautiful, thank you.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I guess I’d better get started. I imagine it’s going to be a long wait for all of us. Unless I win the lottery and can quit my day job and get to writing! 🙂 *running out to buy a ticket now*

  11. I got goose bumps when I read your post. No visual presentation could ever give the same experience as your words. I feel I’m becoming so boring because I always say more or the less the same things – there’s magic in your words! Thank you.

    • Ha! It’s ok, Maarit, you can just cut and paste this comment in every time. I just love hearing from you, and the feedback keeps me going. As I said in a previous comment, I get worried that everybody is going to be bored to death with these same kinds of posts! So thanks for the good words.

    • LOL! You know, after you’ve shoveled about a million tons of it, and realize it’s just balls of grass, you stop even noticing when you step in it! 🙂

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