A Perfect Moment

It had been a full afternoon at the horse refuge, beginning with a carrot-filled flirtation between Titanic and me. He appeared to have heard my voice when I arrived, and I found him “waiting for me” at the far end of the barn, his soft muzzle resting on the top board, primed to inhale his first carrot. The rest of the afternoon filled with preparing feed, cutting carrots, mucking out Facteur’s stall, which is complicated, since Facteur is blind in one eye and terrified of wheelbarrows; then
heading down to the meadow to feed Mystanget et Nuee, the hours filled with chatter, and the founder, Marie’s, stories–of rescuing a blind nine-month old chestnut and the 20 newborn kittens dropped in the dumpsters across the way last winter. “Lucky for me they’ve moved the dumpsters,” she quipped. “But not for the kittens!”

The last chore on the way home with my friend Brigitte was a stop at Les Courses, where the remaining six young donkeys roam the pastures. It’s been terribly hot here, so we had to check the water—and of course, regale the donkeys with carrots. How adorable to watch eight of them lined up along the fence, their muzzles twisting and turning as they crunched on carrots, all the while jockeying for the next handful.

Before we left for home, Brigitte dragged the hose from the pasture into the barn, where she wanted to add water to the basin. I was stationed outside, prepared to open the faucet when she called to me. While waiting, I began taking in the scene around me: the donkeys, heads bent down, now nibbling at the grasses in the pasture; the rusted tractor, once used by the owner’s father to plow his fields; the blue barn doors, paint peeling, revealing the original poplar underneath; and beyond and all around, the gentle hills and valleys, checkered with alternating amber and bright-green fields, punctuated by stone houses and barns, several high atop hills.

Taking all this in, I felt a sense of uplift fill me with warmth, as if I were a receptacle for all the beauty and peace surrounding me. What a perfect moment, I thought, consciously absorbing all that I saw. I want to remember this forever.

Moment in a French Wall

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