We’re pushing so hard. I feel the galloping rhythm underneath me, my knees squeezing against taught flanks, pressing into rib bones as enormous lungs heave in and out. We’re going so fast.
A golden mare gallops 20 yards ahead of us, turning gently to the left as she steadily maintains her distance. We’re sprinting full out, but not gaining any ground. She runs with an ease that taunts me, the hair on her mane flowing behind her. I see every strand of golden hair. On either side there is only darkness.
We must go faster. I bend lower, squeeze tighter. Everything we have, dear. I hear a snort, and the breath quickens. The wind rushes past my ears, but I hear nothing over the breathing.
Still, the golden horse maintains her distance, 20 yards ahead. I feel a flash of panic. We haven’t gained a foot. There’s no way we can catch her. But we can’t lose her. We’re so close.
The breathing is deep and fast. Insanely fast. We can’t maintain this pace. I think to look down, to check on the horse, but I don’t. I can’t take my eyes off the mare lest we lose sight of her. We’re barely keeping up, I don’t know if we can catch her. But we’re so close. We must push faster. We must.
I feel the strain underneath me. We’re at the breaking point, I sense, but I urge us faster. Faster. The breath’s rising and falling blend into a nearly continuous rush, so fast is our pace.
The horse feels as though it might give out, might keel over and die from exhaustion. I know she would make the sacrifice without thought, but what a sacrifice. I feel my eyes water, my face flush. I can’t think about that now. I push it away, and I focus. We’re so close. I may never get this chance again.
I kick my heels angrily. Faster.
A flash out of the corner of my eye and I reflexively follow it, looking off to the right for just a moment. I whip my focus back ahead, but the golden mare has pulled more than 100 yards away now. So fast. Impossible to catch. 150 yards, she pulls away. I can’t let her go. I know I will die if I let her go. 200 yards away. 250. It’s over.
I relax, grief washing over me as I watch her golden body fade into darkness. We slow down.
The breathing slows. I feel my chest rise and I realize it’s my own breath I hear. I look down. It’s my feet slowly coming to a stop on a floor of total darkness. There is no horse. I take a deep breath, and feel the life course through my chest into my extremities, and then rush from my mouth as I exhale.
I look up. The golden mare is gone, and there is only blackness.
I wake up.
When I open my eyes, I see the world.
Please, stop reading here. The best stories are the ones that are completed through your own interpretation.
If you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering WTF. If so, I’ve included an explanation below. But again, you shouldn’t read it.
Sometimes when meditating I see visions. “See” is the wrong word for what that’s like, but it’s the best one I can come up with. I think this is not abnormal for meditators, but either way it’s a regular, albeit intermittent, part of my experience. These visions can range from white lights, to intricate landscapes, to immersive realities only experienced for a breath.
Like dreams, most of these fade from memory before I can think too much about them, and the ones I remember usually are too obtuse to be worth interpreting. But every once in a while the meaning seems clear. This morning’s vision is one of those.
As I leave VNN for an unknown future, I am slowing down in a race I always felt I must win, my life was at stake. But in slowing down, I have been surprised at the richness of the world around me, and by just how important that world has become in such a short time. I had been sacrificing this richness for the chase for so long, and in hindsight that trade seems a foolish one.
I hear similar stories from others, realizing anew the beauty of their lives within the pause created by COVID. I wonder if any of this will stick long term. I hope it does.
Either way, it seemed like something I should write down. I only hope my readers will forgive me the artsy fartsy-ness.