I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. A little piece of heaven surrounded by ranches, farms and ocean in the middle of the California coast line.
This morning, I took advantage of an unusually-blank weekday morning and jumped in my car to go to one my favorite running trails about 20 minutes from my house.
Mornings can be utterly gorgeous in this valley. For the short time that California is green - it’s almost arrogant with its vibrancy. Showing off for the sky.
But not today.
Nope. Just grey. Subdued.
Rounding the bend into the valley, to the left you can see all the way into wine country. And the hills beyond. To the right, you look up the valley to the ocean. Beyond the ranches.
And today there was a single horse in the middle of the field.
Surrounded by vultures. In an equidistant circle.
There had be at least 30 of them. Sitting there. Ring-around-the-rosie all facing the horse.
My heart sank. Something is wrong.
I got to my trail but couldn’t shake the thought of that horse and those vultures.
Should I have done something? Was something really wrong? What do those vultures know? Why were they there? If the horse ran away - would they follow her? Is the horse sick?
And I got to thinking...
Does this happen to us?
Is this happening to us?
When we are sick, or too tired, or too exhausted... do invisible vultures circle us? (Woo-woo, yes I know. But go with me on this one.) Are they just waiting for us to abandon ourselves?
If we give into despair, or hopelessness or depression - does that give them the signal to feed?
I’ve found that it only takes one step in the direction of choosing to live. One little action. One tiny decision. And the vultures are vaporized.
They crave helplessness. Apathy. Indifference. And call all their friends and relatives for that feast.
They are repelled by vitality. By life force. By saying yes. By doing something.
As I ran the shore cliff - I patted myself on the back. First, for doing something (running) and keeping the invisible vultures away. And secondly, for coming up with such a nifty little blog post (yeah me).
A short-lived celebration.
On my way home, I turned left and leaned forward over the steering wheel to see if I could see the horse. Silently praying that neither the horse nor the vultures were there anymore.
Between the trees, I could see a truck.
Oh good, someone is helping her.
Driving closer, I saw the horse. And two ranch women. Mud boots up to their knees. The horse running panicked arcs around the back of the truck. One woman with her arms out wide - guarding the other woman who was holding a tiny stillborn foal.
The size of a toddler across her arms.
Absolutely overcome with compassion. Love. Sadness. I stopped my car in tears. Watching the women work. Heart-broken, yet grateful for the lesson.
Knowing now what the vultures knew.
And what the horse-mama knew.
And what every woman who has ever lost a baby knows.
And I realized that the horse was keeping vigil.
And those vultures had no hope of getting to that baby.
And that maybe.
Someone is also watching over me.
And watching over you.
And that the vultures don’t have a chance.
Against a love like that.