Spirits Past and the Mystical Bliss of Horses


It is almost Christmas, and my birthday, and today I cried reading an old birthday email from my sister.  She signed it “Lisa the Pizza, Tony Baloney and the rest of the gang ‘up there’,” meaning my brother, and my mother and father.

“Tony  Baloney” died two years and a half ago, leaving behind three adopted children whom he adored and who adored him, and a loving wife.  My father and mother died 25 and 20 years ago, as impossible as that seems.  Dad and Mom died this time of year.  And my best friend, Wendi, died shortly after.  All of cancer of some sort or the other.  But they all loved horses.

We now live in Millbrook — horse country.  Horse farms dot the countryside.  My father and mother and Wendi would have adored it.  My brother was the only one to visit Millbrook, coming with his family whom we put  up at a nearby horse ranch. They all  had the time of their lives.  One of my fondest memories of my brother is from that visit.  We are holding hands as he is relaxing after a day of riding with his kids.  He is drinking and smoking (what eventually killed him) and we are taking in the sunset on the porch of the dude ranch.

I love horses, too.  It is in my blood.  Dad played the horses and my brother worked on several racetracks, including Belmont.  Now I abhor horse-racing,  finding it cruel.  My brother had horror stories to tell of how the horses were drugged and run hurting.  I have seen horses being put down– all for a senseless sport.  Dad and I would quarrel about this if he were still alive.

I remember stroking a horse once at a show nearby and the bliss I felt was mystical in a most spiritual way.  I wanted that moment to last forever.  And the happiest I have ever seen my husband was on a moonlit ride we took in a canyon in Arizona on our honeymoon.  Horses bring happiness. My husband knows it. Dad knew it.  Tony knew it, Wendi knew it and to some extent, Mom knew it.

Too old to ride now I pet horses when I can, and admire them as we drive by horse farms.  I photograph them when the spirit moves me.  I ache inside for my parents who would have adored it here in our little barn.  For my brother, the cowboy, as different from me as night and day, but bonded by a deep love and shared losses.  For my friend, Wendi, with whom I shared a not-to-be replicated link of love.  Merry Christmas, Tony Baloney, Mom, Dad, Wendi!

My blessing comes from the love I share with my husband who married me despite my mental illness. It comes, too,  from our spiritual connection to nature. I admire my husband who works with society’s outcasts as a clinical social worker.  My giving is on a much smaller scale– tiny things here and there– online activism and such.  You play the hand you are dealt.

Christmas can be a hard time, and New Year’s, too, and I know there will be the inevitable meltdown into tears over losses of loved ones, over mortality, over our material nature.  And perhaps you will also have your own moment of bleakness.  But I hope that you, too, will be able to touch your bliss at Christmas and find a blossoming hope for the new year.

Blessings of joy to all!!

25 responses

  1. Ellen, I can understand that you love horses. I love them, too. Your thoughts about Christmas, losses, mortality, bleakness are very moving and I understand them quite well. Regards Mitza


    December 18, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    • Glad for your understanding and that my thoughts resonated with you. Just wrote you an email. Warmest regards, Ellen


      December 18, 2013 at 12:26 PM

  2. Ellen I am so sorry for all the losses and how much they all came around the same time of the year. That is an added sadness. I love horses as well. My high school girlfriend had horses. We’d ride and groom them and it was such a peaceful time we enjoyed. Then I had a premonition of her death. And I was suppose to be with her that evening but cancelled and begged her to not go where we were going to go. She bawked at that idea. I offered many other options for fun, but she insisted on going. I knew her mom was going to call me that night. I saw the whole thing and heard the conversation I had with Debbie’s mom. And just as I saw it, it happened. It was such a tragic thing. I miss her, I miss the horses we enjoyed together. But there will be a new world order and we can all enjoy and share again with our loved ones. Do take care love.
    Feel all the love of those who are with you now in this life.


    December 18, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    • That’s an amazing story– about your premonition. She must have been a very good friend that the karmic link was bonded between you two. You are right to tell me to enjoy those who are with me now in this life– especially the most important person in my whole life– my husband. And I do to the utmost. xx ellen


      December 18, 2013 at 6:17 PM

  3. Caddo

    Wow–this is so deeply heartfelt, full of real love–and unfortunate losses; yet there is “bliss” and HOPE. It’s a lovely post, Ellen–and though I’m happy alone, I dreamed my Prince would come and love me in the craziness. Well, in a sense He did–Prince Jesus brought me the forever kind of love. Know that I’m sending you a kind hug–for truly we can only play the hand we’re dealt, or quit the game. And where is the glory in quitting? God bless you BIG!


    December 18, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    • Aww! Thank you, Caddo. No we can’t give up, must fight our down sides. You have the Prince of princes. I know we all do but your relationship is inspiring!


      December 19, 2013 at 8:35 AM

      • Caddo

        I so wish I could make it clearer for others to see Him–I’d like to bring you into my living room and kitchen where He and I spend our days….


        December 19, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      • That sounds divine.


        December 19, 2013 at 6:24 PM

  4. Dear Ellen, thank you for sharing these memories with us. This post is so moving. I love the final lines of this post — “to find our bliss this Christmas and find a blossing hope for the New Year”. Merry Christmas. Ellen! Dee


    December 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    • Merry Christmas, Dee, and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! Ellen


      December 19, 2013 at 8:32 AM

  5. Awwww loving sister Ellen, so sorry for your losses. So nice to hear you have loving memories of them all. Your marriage is such a blessing and the love you have for each other inspires many! God bless you. 🙂


    December 19, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    • Well, dear brother, Steve, loss is part of life. Thanks for saying the love my husband and I have is inspiring! He is my treasure. Your marriage with Sarah and love for her is touching and an inspiration to us all! God bless you both this Christmas and always! xx Ellen


      December 19, 2013 at 8:38 AM

  6. oh how this sings to my equine heart


    December 19, 2013 at 10:07 AM

  7. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Ellen! 🙂 Peace and hugz, Uncle Tree ▲


    December 19, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    • Merry Christmas to you and yours, Uncle Tree and thanks so much for your good wishes!


      December 23, 2013 at 3:54 AM

  8. Thank you for sharing this touching post!


    December 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

  9. Don’t underestimate how much you give, Ellen. x


    December 23, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    • Thank you, Ashley, that’s such a nice thing to say! Merry Christmas to you and those dear and hope the new year will bring you a new place of your own!


      December 23, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      • Thank you, Ellen. I’m having a lovely time with my family.
        I’ve applied for government housing (I’m on a pension) and they have finally agreed to help me so I don’t know exactly when it will happen, only that it will, which is a great relief in itself. 🙂


        December 24, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      • Excellent! Hope it happens soon!😊


        December 25, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      • 🙂


        December 25, 2013 at 5:05 PM

  10. Genie

    Horses are indeed, very mystical and magical beings. It does sadden me to see them caged up. They are born to run free.


    December 23, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    • I know. And in the U.S. there has been mass slaughters of wild horses. Another abomination.


      December 23, 2013 at 8:53 PM

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