Where is this place? I think as night fills the air. A chorus of frogs sings in the distance, while boards creak and groan as the dark shadows of horses press against them. As I sit quietly in my padded folding chair, a crisp brisk air permeates my layers of clothes, while soothing sounds of slow rhythmic breathing punctuated with loud horse snores fill my ears.
My husband, Martin, glances at me with a small smile as we both retreat to watching and waiting. A small dusty lamp casts just enough light to make out the faint outline of the large belly stretched to the limit with the life within waiting for the moment to enter this world.
Time slides by as my mind focuses on the outline of our pregnant mare, Aspen. Small things come into focus. My own breathing slows as I watch her head nod as if she is saying, “yes”. She begins to turn circles in her stall filled full of straw and hay. She paces and continues to move, while occasionally taking breaks for a bite of hay. I stare at her outline and feel nothing. No dizzying array of thoughts, no planning and best of all, no list making enters my mind. Nothing but that moment, just like the night sky clear, vast, and broad.
Suddenly, Aspen makes one more revolution and stops. We watch her hindquarters change angle and shape. She wants to lie down but doesn’t. We hear the very distinct sound of water and both spring to our feet in motion knowing the moment is here. I run for the light switch. In one press of the finger, the mood and tenor shifts to the urgency of birth. From her black hindquarters we see a translucent sac covering two hoofs quickly emerge. Aspen is standing then chooses the lay down with a graceful thump. We see the baby’s nose between its feet. Another choice is made and Aspen is up again. Taking a moment to think, she moves then decides to go back down.
Once she is down, I find myself on the ground covered in fluids with the baby’s nose in my hands. I pull the white slick sac away from his nose and hear him take his first breath. Another push and the baby is out. A rush of welcoming whinnies and neighs fills the space. This strong black colt is still linked to his mother through the umbilical cord. I begin to stroke him feeling his warm body below me. His mother turns her regal head and stares at him with a look of adoration. A deep neigh emanates from her. He wants up!
I continue to touch him as we wait for his mother to rise. Before me I see all legs ready to run, hop, and explore the world. I feel nothing but shear appreciation. Appreciation that I am a witness to the essence of life. Seeing life in its purest form. I feel the aliveness in me as I stand with Martin and watch Aspen rise, as her baby knows he will follow. He struggles and falls all the while being encouraged by his mother. I feel a deep knowing well up inside me. From this place, I am connected to a greater universe. This was it. In this moment, the curtain was pulled back and a feeling of life force called me in.
All four feet are staggered on the ground. He is standing! Waves of wonder flow though me and he starts experimenting with his newly discovered legs. Falling and twisting he tumbles. As quick as he falls, he is back up on his feet.
Martin and I see milestones like nursing come and go. I wonder about transformation and think of this newborn foal. I see myself in him. In twenty minutes, he transformed from one world to the next. Thoughts of mental states and our ability to transform them flood my mind.
A quiet stillness settles in for the night as early morning approaches. With a full belly, the newborn colt, Flutterby, begins his peaceful sleep. We are memorized by the simple, perfect beauty that life brings to those in the dark or in the light. In stillness or in fits of urgency, the ability to move to the essence, to the source of all things is the gift within.