Dear God, Let that sound of a snapping twig be from our horse Daybreak not a BEAR! The night is so dark I turn the little squeeze light in the direction of the sound, nothing. I walk more, “Daybreak”, I call out softly, hoping if it’s a bear he doesn’t like voices and will leave. I see a house off over the treeline and barb wire topped wall that surrounds the fields. Do they hear us out in the night and wonder who is creeping through the field. The lights don’t change within the house only a single front light glows a pin point in the distance. In there they can sleep, in dry warm beds, Daybreak where are you fella?” That is when I see him in the bitty ray of light, he nods some form of polite recognition. I run the beam up and down his body he looks fine and my heart floods with relief. “Tim!” I call out into the night but the field so large my voice trails off in the immense wet space and there is no response. ” I got him!” , maybe it was for me but I shout the declaration out hoping it would drift to his ears. I walk to Daybreak and extend my arm to take his halter, Tim has the lead rope. My fingers come within and inch of the leather and the head swerves up and away playfully. Ugh! ” Daybreak, come on it’s late, we’ll go back to he farm come on. ” He dances away a bit, it’s game time.
Daybreak is a Morgan, descended from the Government breeding program for cavalry replacements, he is a thinking horse. He is thinking, let’s make a fool of Mom and have some fun. It is a sorry thing, that as my feet squish and my tired body robbed of sleep stumbles in the wet grass, BUT I AM NOT IN THE MOOD FOR GAMES! Daybreak is, he lets me sidle up a couple times and nearly grasp the halter only to lift the head out of reach or turn enough to evade capture. How can one shift from desperately loving a creature to this moment of hate in a split second. OK ,so I don’t hate the horse just 2 a.m. games of tag in the northern woods with no sleep and WET feet. In frustration I stuff my hands in pockets and feign disinterest this is a ploy that often works. What my hand falls on in the hay chaff filled pocket is a peppermint wrapper.
This might just be what it feels like to win the lottery. Pure joy, ecstatic, triumphant all rolled in one and over a little inch square of peppermint wrapper! Check Mate, I crinkle the wrapper, ” I have candy…” I call out coaxingly. Daybreak was born with the world’s largest sweet tooth. Most horses would attempt to stand on an ear for a peppermint. It is a perfect treat and one that comes wrapped in the most enticing sound, crinkling cellophane. Daybreak freezes, he looks in the dark night like one of the statues that dot the landscape at the battlefield of Gettysburg. He is erect and proud, ears are pricked forward intent on the goal, candy!
I grab and my fingers wrap around the leather face piece, GOT YOU! At the moment I realize I plan to have the arm ripped from me before I would ever let go of this halter, he was my prisoner and my salvation. For in a few moments a reunion with my son and the glow of finding a best friend nearly lost will warm me to the bugger once more. Right now we have to get to Tim. I turn and see the long field rolling away in front of me. We are in a top corner, Tim had headed to a bottom corner. I know which way to head as the police cruiser has several companions now and so many headlights and twirling blue and red lights pierce the night. It looks like a major crime scene up by the bar way an easy task to head back with the beacon as powerful as any lighthouse and then some. The uneven ground, my eyes having all the light come and go makes walking a bit more of a challenge. I almost fall but just spend a second swinging from the halter and Daybreak braces his weight to support my effort to regain footing. In that moment the look crosses his face, she isn’t letting go, he thinks. He breathes out a long sigh and admits, game over.
I call out a couple times to Tim and finally see the beam of a flashlight bobbing through the field toward me, I see the glow of his smile before we are close. Daybreak sees his boy and picks up the pace. Once he has Tim and the rope is securely on his halter I become a useless accoutrement to the game. Daybreak knows there is an audience at the roadside and begins to prance in that direction. If you have never seen a Morgan horse do a park trot it is beautiful their fore arms coming level with the ground in an animated action of grace and style. Game over, was a reality but it had become showtime!
Like the mighty Niagara the adrenaline rushed from me in one huge swoosh and I was left with the tiny squeeze light in the middle of the field and boy and horse were off on the parade to the finish line. By now I’m nearly dragging my feet over each hummock of grass and look up to mark the police lights distance and back to the ground to watch my footing. I hear all the voices ahead Tim has arrived and everyone is happy to see him. His Uncle Steve had arrived with the trailer and we could get back to he farm. They all wait for me, the straggler to come up the field and then we all are getting ready to load Daybreak but Tim is anxious is eyes dart back to the trailer and me again, he is almost in a panic. ” What?” I don’t understand the glances. my mind is like sludge. ” Mom, my guns are in the trailer, I was cleaning them before I slept, they’re in there. ” ” Sooooo,” I reply. ” Mom, we’re in Massachusetts!” Then it registers, toughest gun laws in the nation. He does know his laws and handling rules perfectly. Even though we only fire blanks a gun is a gun. I take the rope that’s clipped on Daybreak. You just go quietly move them into the truck and lock it and I will talk to the officers and thank them for catching Daybreak. He scurries off and I pull the horse up effectively blocking the view. I am far to tired for a another chapter in our eve that includes explaining exactly why we have two pistols in a horse trailer with a boy and horse.