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Waiting in the Dark
December 7, 2003
We have fairly short hours of daylight here in the Pacific Northwest this time of year--only about 8 hours from sunrise to sunset and that little bit is compromised even more with the heavy cloud cover and the perpetual rain.
This morning it wasn't raining for a change, so I moved the Haflingers out of the barn to their daytime paddocks, in the anticipation of a drier day and maybe a ray of sun now and again.
No such luck. The rains started within an hour of putting the horses outside, but we were headed off to church and other activities that would keep us away all day and the horses had no choice but to stand with their tails facing the driving rain, and their heads hunkered down. I felt badly that I'd left them "out to soak" so to speak, rather than "out to dry". Wrong decision.
When it is still light out, the horses seem relatively content to stay out, even after their hay ration is eaten and there is nothing but raindrops to look at. But once the sun is down and it is dark, they are anxious to return to the light of the barn. They whinny expectantly whenever they hear the back door of the house open, or a car drive into the driveway. They are waiting in the dark, feeling more urgent with every passing hour. "It is time! Come now! Don't delay! I'm ready for you to take me home!"
It was pitch black out tonight as I went to fetch them. We are in the process of rewiring our old barns, so our usual lighting of the path from paddocks to barn is absent, and the barn itself has only a couple lights working right now. I forgot to tuck a flashlight in my barncoat pocket so I was feeling blindly my way to the barn and then out to the paddocks to walk my wet, miserable, impatient horses back to the barn, one by one. They have been waiting, waiting. Knowing what is to come: a path back to the light, back to a dry bed of shavings, back to a filling meal. Content and comforted. Eager and excited to leave the dark behind.
We are all waiting too, sometimes lost and miserable, often blinded in the dark. Waiting with anticipation, knowing, hoping for what is about to come. Watching for the door to open, the light to turn on, for someone who loves us and cares for us to walk right through the darkness to find us, and staying beside us, fetch us home.
Only then comes the comfort of knowing that once we've been brought into the light, darkness can not surround us again.