Some days are weighted with all of the trying to figure it out. Bricks from belly to brain, heavy. All day long, I strive. And as night falls, there are no answers; still, only questions. I find myself wandering; and then, of course, with the herd. In the darkness, I can scarcely make out the white blazes on foreheads and feet. They’re curious what brings me out so late.

After accosting my pockets and finding no treats, they begin to move away, back to their dinner.

Except one.

I sit on the red gate and she follows me, standing as close as she can manage without stepping on my feet with her dinner plate hooves. She noses in my belly, looks at me as if to say, “Why bricks?” Then she breathes her hot breath into my chest. I lay my hands on her as if I’m a healer, but the healing is flowing into¬†me. She leans closer – one eye gently focused on my face, waiting.

The others continue their dinner, but she shows no sign of impatience or moving away. She is still, solid, foundational. I tell her that she’s a good ol’ girl, and her ear flicks back at the sound of my voice. She gently exhales and sighs.

She will not move away until I’m ready. So we stay, for eternity.

Finally, the bricks start softening and so she swings around, her muscular rear now in my face. I giggle, knowing that she wants her favorite thing: a butt scratch.

She gets a vigorous tail massage, that good ol’ girl.

I glance up at the house, glowing with light and those I love, and open the gate and begin to walk towards it. I look back again and again. There, under a tiny sliver of moonlight, is her white face, watching and waiting for me to disappear, standing vigil until I find my way home.