Horses and the Heart of Man

Author: Chloe Rachel Gallaway

Photography: Cedar McCrary

The truth is, I can’t even be around horses without missing my father. A huge gaping hole in my chest burns when I look into the eyes of a horse, when I climb on one’s back to ride like I did today—Sunday November 19th, the day that my book review came out in the Albuquerque Journal. What a moment to say, “I’ve made it,” or least I am part of the way to being a successful author—in the sense that people read my story and it affects them on a deep soul level. It’s a dream and I’m living it, and at the same time, I’m still nursing my wounds.

I climbed up on the back of Hermes, a beautiful light brown horse, stout and bold with a yellow golden mane that lit his deep-brown eyes. He and I met today in the woods, heart-to-heart. In that same moment I met my old wounds finding their way to my eyes with tears. Why isn’t my father here to see this happening?, the child inside asks. The woman all grown responds logically, He died, it was his time. I have no words for this logical woman. She has led me for years. She has found a way to mend brokenness, and it was a mix of her and me, the child inside, that wrote my book.

As I wrapped my arms around Hermes’ neck, strong emotions pounded through his chest. His breath was on my forehead and his eyes were closed. He knows a deep truth—one I’ve been searching for. One my father searched for. My father spent years on horseback searching, riding under purple sunsets and dark skies. dawn with her golden light touched him as he rode the last path home.

I lie in bed now crying deep rivers of tears. Is my father floating among the stars? Is Jesus holding his hand? Can he see my life in earthly form? I have so many questions for this God my father believed in. Mostly I want to see my father again. I want my loss to be healed. I want to know I’ve done my absolute best in bringing this work to the world. My emotions roll over and over my body; I want many things I can’t even describe.

Now his home is this other realm we call heaven. On days like these there is no description of heaven that makes everything okay. The heart simply feels what it feels and horses have a way of taking us there.

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