Prayers at Maple Tree Medows

Prayers at Maple Tree Medows
Three Rivers, MI

Monday, January 24, 2011

Family Horse Barn

I have always loved horses. My Dad used to play Black Beauty, allowing us five little kids to ride on his back as he neighed and bucked around the living room. Back then I imagined there was a real horse in the small, old barn behind the house where we lived. There was -- only once -- when the doctor came on a house call by horse back (circa 1958).

When I was in middle school I took riding lessons. My mount, Bucky, felt my fear. He would just begin to shift from a trot to a canter when, suddently, he would stop in his tracks, throw his head down, and start chomping on grass. Breathless and all the more fearful, I pulled myself up as gracefully as I could from dangling precipitously over his lowered neck. Then the instructor said, "Pull hard on those reins! Hold his head in tighter!" I nudged his sides, timidly, with my heels. As you might imagine, me "horse girl" dream did not last long.

How lovely, then, to visit a horse barn I had passed often. Walking alone, I lay my cool hand on the warm noses of quiet, curious horses, all in a row! The cats wove themselves around my feet and hands and seemingly posed for pictures. For me so far, barns that house animals are clearly the most endearing.

A family horse barn,
I house
Airy quietness and
Clouded white breath as
Dark horses gaze
At the large riding arena
From window lit stalls
In a long line
Well tended by
One kitten, two cats
Three sparrows in my beams
And the couple
In the apartment within me
Who keep me
and tight
and ready.

My family’s daughter
Fell in love
With horses
And never
Fell out.

So I became
The family
For hunter jumpers
Riding within
My arena
And without
In pastures
And in the one
With jumps
For practice.

I am a barn
So near to home –
A walk down the hill:
And warm
And dry.

I listen deeply to
A low snort
A mew
A flutter
On a snowy afternoon
As I stand alone
And wide
And still.


  1. I love all those noses! And then the jaunty addition of a skateboard, just in case. Perhaps time for you to take riding lessons again?

  2. Thanks so much, Andrew. Pondering the riding...and not too eager just yet. Keep thinking of getting a miniature horse for Lily!

  3. The place just looks happy with all those companions around you, particularly with the cats. It’s like urging you to visit and experience a simple happy life at the barn. Got to love that last photo too. It’s like from a beautiful postcard. Good luck on getting one a miniature horse. Cheers!

    Kevin Noel