In the ongoing story of Lilly (Ima Lil Moore), she is a willful horse. The above photograph shows her this morning, after browsing a few minutes in the front pasture, walking intently to the fence panels of the Well House Corral.
Lilly had spent the night in the stables underneath a 150 watt light bulb. When I went down this morning to feed her, she was up and moving and whinnying for her breakfast, even pinning her ears back slightly when I entered her stall. After she finished her grain, I put out two blocks of green alfalfa for her to munch on.
And, this is point of the story, she turned away from the hay rack and deliberately walked out of the corral and into the pasture with a determination of a yearling. She’s twenty-five years old, for goodness sakes! Then, after a bit of browsing, I shot the above photograph of Lilly.
She’s going to die — we’re all headed that way, for sure — within who-knows-how-long? Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year? Jim Scroggins is coming out to the ranch with his back hoe in the morning to dig a grave pit for Lilly. Don’t be sad. I’ll set up panels around it so that no one will wander into it. It’s a preparation, sort of like making a will or planning a funeral with your favorite mortician. (My political mentor when I was young was Groner Pitts of Brownwood, Texas, a funeral director.) If Lilly makes it through the winter and I and the vet think she will, I’ll fill up the pit with water and maybe ducks will swim in it. It is there, however, just in case.
But, for now, Lilly is a willful mare, stubborn in her habits, sleeping longer than usual and limping a little with arthritis. Kinda like your grandfather or grandmother. She has her life today and she willfully directs herself to green winter grass, lying down in the sun and drinking from the stock pond with ducks swimming about her. It’s a good day to live.
- Long shadows soaring (swamericana.wordpress.com)
- Holiday wishes from Sage to Meadow and field notes (swamericana.wordpress.com)
9 responses to “Willful Lilly”
I think I know the state you are in with this elder family member. Fragile old age. Dogged, determined will-to-live alongside total feebleness. Realizing one cannot turn around the inevitable end. Yet amazement at how the spirit endures!! The life of our 21 year old cat Mitten was like that – and his end was the most graceful thing. He did his own laying down on a day I stayed home from work sick. He laid himself down in a most appropriate comfortable place, and then my spouse dug him a good hole inches away, so I could lay him there. A horse is so much bigger. And winter ground is so hard. I can see why you had the hole dug. It is important.
So, I hear ya, Jack.
She will have her time, but for now, good for her!
Animals teach us spoiled humans the value of perserverance and living life in the moment.
It’s a hard thing to do, but it all we have — life in this moment. I think too much about the past and what might happen in the future.
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Perhaps it is her stubborn nature that keeps adding days to her life long roster. I’ll bet she has some amazing stories from her long life. If only she could write them down.
The bond between humans and beast can be awesome. This old mare is lucky to have shared a good deal of her life with you and your family.
I wish she could write them down, too. She is talking more to me nowadays — more nickering, whinnying when I come into the barn. I don’t know what’s going on. She has always been vocal, but nothing like these last few weeks.
Unfortunately personality changes in animals are often hints of, well you know. I’ve seen it happen many times. You are wise to prepare.
But Jack, Lilly has you to speak for her. Lilly has more of an online presence than most people!
Wishing you strength, always, to carry on.
Debra, I so wish you could have met our horses before things changed drastically this last week.