About 9 a.m., I set off on my weekly drive to the big city. A ways on, Intuition nudged me to divert from my customary route and to take the King’s Highway west. The winds were wicked strong; the air billowed toward heaven in yellow clouds, and tumbleweeds rolled toward me more plentiful than oncoming traffic.
Midway along this narrow corridor through the pastureland, flashing lights appeared in the distance. I, and the car ahead, slowed, as the approaching scene grew and gave birth to details.
The sight was stirring: a magnificent dappled white horse galloped a slaloming course along the road in our direction, wind whipping his–her?– mane wild and urging him from behind. A vision of freedom!
… For some moments, I had to squint to subdue the delectable notion that I was seeing a Unicorn.
As we rolled to stop, the beautiful creature slowed to a trot and crossed the road in front of us before stopping, and a cinnamon-chestnut Shetland pony appeared, swinging toward us as fast as he (she?) could trot until alongside his regal companion. Clearly together, they made an odd and touching twosome. My sense was that the smaller was the chaperone of the larger.
A ranch vehicle leading a retinue of squad cars approached from the other direction, slowed its creeping pace and stopped along the opposite shoulder. The horses cautiously investigated the grasses on our side of the road, while we simply watched, admiring, and wondering who would make the next move.
As a small, stocky fellow in a trucker’s cap emerged from the Suburban, slowly, and walked along his side of the road, I thought to get out of my car and offer help. But even though, deep down, a part of each of us humans was rooting for the Wild One—within and before us– none of us wanted to spook the creature. The man ventured across the road, a respectful distance from the “White Beauty” and gently put a bridle–which he had held hidden behind his back– on the little pony.
He then lead the pony back across the road and down a driveway to our left, looking back now and then and calling, coaxing, to the winsome white prize before turning forward again. He was counting on social instincts to eventually compel the creature to follow. And, tentatively at first, s/he did. Familiarity—food and friends—won over wild abandon.
…And off this great tamed unicorn trotted toward home.
Yet, I felt an aura around my heart as we began to roll forward again, reluctant to leave, even as space grew between cars and hearts united by the event.
We are all starved for Wildness and Magic.
After a long, full day in the city, I sped home on the interstate, racing plummeting blood sugar. It had been a good day, with other grateful miracles, many more than I counted, I’m sure; but I had forgotten the morning’s first and had mentioned it to no one.
The next morning, still bleary from yesterday’s exertions, I opened a message sent by a friend about 9:30 the previous morning, after I’d left home. No words, just the emoji of a Unicorn. I caught my breath, felt my glowing heart smile.
As I recorded these twinkling events in my journal, I was reminded of a recent reading I’d given a friend, which had prominently featured a Shetland pony and a majestic horse. The pony was coming to terms with his dharma, releasing the compulsion to try to be an Arabian, and accepting his equal value, his equally essential purpose. In this vision, he was a stable, trusty mount for learning children. He had to apprehend the importance of this, and how the aptitudes and attributes of his current form were uniquely and perfectly suited for it.
…And I remembered yesterday’s lovely pony, diminutive and, one might presume, lesser to his companion more mighty in speed and refined of line. Yet, he flanked his friend protectively, stood by him; and it was his departure that lured the “greater” one home.
I was also reminded of a scene from the upcoming episode of Victoria (PBS), in which the young and beautiful queen is confiding in her devoted governess and attendant. “You still see me, don’t you, Lehzen?” To which her companion tenderly and earnestly replies “I live to serve you, Majesty.”
And it struck me that in knowing ourselves, accepting the form we’re in, the gifts we’re given, and what we’re best made for, this is how we serve The Majesty. Comparison is a form of covetousness, which is included among the deadly sins (envy). It is a ploy of the egoic mind to keep us adrift on the sea of separation, rather than home in the ocean of wholeness and belonging.
We are each unique, and in any given life, we cannot all be the Queen on the Chessboard. But each of us has a square to fill in that game, a role to play. Happiness comes from accepting, exploring and expressing each role to the fullest, even if it doesn’t have a name yet.
…Give it yours.