Salve for Souls

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


The day I looked death in the face began like many others.

As a photographer/reporter team for a newspaper in Central Florida, my husband Dan and I were on assignment to cover activities at a local horse ranch.

But as we drove there I felt unsettled, like the gusty wind rustling the trees.

Perhaps this hesitancy was God's "still small voice" (see 1 Kings 19:12) warning me to be careful.

At the ranch, its owner Lynn came to greet us. A children's riding class happened to be there on horseback. Lynn was about to lead the group down a sandy path to a meadow with a pond.

"Want to join us?" she asked Dan and me.

Dan nodded. “That sounds like a great setting for pictures.”

Angela Neal, volunteer at Hidden Rescue for Thoroughbreds
(HART) in Cocoa, Florida, (not location of incident)
gives horses such as  Lucy, tender loving care.
Holding a horse's reins, Lynn led the procession, while Dan and I brought up the rear on foot. I stepped carefully among piles of manure.

Dan pointed out an electric fence. "I touched one of those by accident years ago. It gave me quite a jolt."

When I turned to look, the wind blew sand into my eyes. As they burned and watered, I considered returning to our car and letting Dan tackle this job alone.

I dismissed the thought after seeing the fun others were having. The children were chatting and laughing. Dan began taking pictures as we emerged into the meadow.

While Dan moved closer for better picture angles, I stayed in the background taking notes. Relaxing a bit, I was able to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. Beneath an azure sky, horses circled the pond and waded in with their riders astride.

Rachael Whiteley, volunteer at Hidden Acres Rescue
For Thoroughbreds (HART) in Cocoa Florida
(not location of incident) gives horses such as
Comrade, tender loving care.
But when I noticed unfenced horses grazing about 50 feet away, my unsettledness tried to creep back in. I forced it to the back of my mind. The horses were content, grazing peacefully. For a fleeting moment, I felt peaceful too.
Then suddenly, a spotted horse with a girl on its back, galloped toward the pond, kicking up its hind legs. The girl slid off, splashing into the pond, thankfully unhurt. The horse continued to gallop and buck.

Lynn attempted to grab its reins, but the horse galloped past her, around the circumference of the pond—aimed straight at me!

Time seemed to move in slow motion.

Where can I run? How will I get away?

I glanced behind me. The electric fence was right there and all around was open field, with nowhere to hide.

My heart pounded. I could almost feel the horse's hooves kicking me to death right there in the muck and manure. God help me, I prayed.

Immediately, one of the loose horses stopped grazing. Although facing away from the panicked animal, it turned as if on cue. It then galloped into the path of the spotted horse, blocking its way. Calmed, the spotted horse trotted off in another direction. Things returned to normal as the intervening horse went back to grazing.

Lynn later told Dan and me that the horse had "spooked" because it was new to the ranch and something had blown past its face.

As we drove home, Dan expressed amazement.

"That horse in the field seemed to know exactly what it had to do."

Shaken but thankful, I agreed, certain the horse had received its instruction from the Master, who heard my cries.

Flora invites you to check out her "Castle in the Sun" romance/suspense series, published by Helping Hands Press.
In Book One, "Love's Sweetest Revenge," after Liz's husband takes off with a plaything in her twenties, Liz hopes to forget her troubles in the beauty of the forest. But unseen eyes are watching and an encounter with destiny, waiting.
In Book Two, "Love and Obsession," fly away to romantic, St. Augustine Florida, where Liz and Carlos plan to marry beneath the city's legendary "Love Tree." But Liz's ex-husband Steve, is hell-bent on stopping the wedding and he's ready to duke it out with Carlos. Who will prevail?
Think that dream you had might mean something? Flora's devotional book "Where Your Heart Meets God's," published by Helping Hands Press, explores the many ways God whispers our name.
Book also available in "sample" kindle edition.

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