I sat down on the sloped hillside to relax and enjoy the view of my favorite spot. I looked down into the the big coulee and across several beautiful carvings made by nature of all shapes and sizes. We called them the chalk bluffs. The coulee ran a mile or more long ways and I would estimate 300 yards or a little more wide – at it’s widest point.
I loved this spot and came over every so often. So peaceful and quiet here. The area had a spiritual feeling. I had to take a dusty little backroad off another backroad to get here but it was only a couple miles from the house as the crow flies.
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It was on private land and I imagined that few who traveling this road ever got out to make the short walk and look over into the big coulee other than the owner and maybe the neighboring farm.
I sat back and relaxed a little more as time moved into late afternoon. As I let my eyes move along the scene I noticed movement. It was a ways off – behind one of the chalky structures that rose up within the coulee. I could not get a clear look but it seemed to be someone horseback. Hard to tell as it was just a quick glance, before disappearing behind the sandstone structure.
Soon the figure moved into view again. I got a better look – yet – still not clear. It seemed to be a native man on a white horse. I could make out a head dress. The whole thing seemed to be moving slowly. I felt as thou it was to let me know there was no hurry. I settled back and noticed the extreme silence. Eerily calm.
THEN the horse and rider came into better view. Yes, the horse was white. I thought to myself –if this were my imagination it would be odd for me to see a white horse. It was my least favorite color among the variety of horse colors. And just then — the horse changed from white to black. I rubbed my eyes but he was still black. The change of color was not dramatic. Rather subtle and natural.
The horse continued to move slowly but with an important aura about him. And then……… the horse changed from black to red. Then to gold. Then to copper.. He moved slowly but with great dignity and pride.
I shifted my eyes to the rider. He was definately native american. He wore a head dress. But little about him was in stark focus. I looked for paint – jewelery etc.. Almost expecting to see this or that. When our imagination expects to see specific things – we usually “will” it into the picture. It did not appear and this enforced the fact – this was a vision rather than my own mind making something there that wasn’t.
I could not make out any clear features on the man. I thought I might be able to find a clue to his tribe of orgin. But no. Besides the very plain and unclear head dress, he wore only a breechcloth and plain moccasins.
It did not matter much as my focus seemed to be drawn again and again back to the horse, which was always vivid and clear.
The horse continued to move slowly, yet with determination. He was very elegant and masterful. The colors continued to change. It seemed he changed into every color I had ever seen on a horse and that had been a lot in my life. However, he was always a solid color. Red but not a sorrel. Dark red but not a bay. There were no mane and tail differences like a bay would have a black mane and tail. A palomino might have a white main and tail. Nope. He was always a solid color. Solid white, solid black, solid sorrel, solid gold.
They stopped for a moment. Down below me – but directly in front of me.. The man looked right at me – a piercing look. But not threatening.
Now I noticed something else. The rider sat upon the horse with no reins. Nothing to guide the horse. There was no bridle, no halter, no rope…. nothing. He sat – calm and quiet – as if he were part of the horse. As if they were as one. He seemed to take no notice of the ever changing colors of the horse.
They had come out of the east –– traveled to the south somewhat – and then to the west as they circled the chalky structures… then in front of me which was to the north and now, they were slowly moving back to the east direction. They had come full circle.
While I was trying to understand the meaning of the look the man had given me, he raised one arm into the air, holding his hand out. Out of nowhere there were birds. Birds coming in towards his raised hand. In seconds there were several birds moving easily, in a big circle above the man and horse and they were as unclear as the rider. I could notice them and even make out several – but they were not in strong focus. Only the horse continued to stay in sharp focus.
The birds were nothing spectacular that drew great attention from me. They circled slowly and calmly in a bigger circle above the man and horse. I could make out a few. No black birds. Simple birds like a seagull.. A pigeon maybe? Smaller birds we see everywhere. Sparrows and others I did not know. Although there was one Owl. I was not sure of the species. Not a large owl. I was drawn to it for a moment only because the owl is one of my totem animals and also my mother spirit animal. But, still nothing to draw me to focus deeply on the owl.
The birds continued to fly slowly and calmly in a large circle above the man and horse. They did not seem to mind each other at all, even thou some may have been pray to others.
Then the horse stopped again. The rider stretched his arm upwards at a slant towards the clouds. The birds moved in line with his arm as they slowly came out of their circle – picked up speed and flew to disappear into the clouds above.
Through all of this –– my eyes were taking in the rider, the birds and what they were doing. But the focus was always on the beautiful horse and the many changing colors.
Then the horse and rider moved on down the coulee and soon disappeared from my view.
It seemed like I had been there for hours but only a few minutes had passed. I got up and started the short climb back up to the road and the truck. I knew it was too soon to try to put meaning to what had just happened. I would write it all down as soon as I could then let it sit a day or two before putting thought to it.
This happened in 2003. I wrote it out and a few days after that I gave it a lot of thought. I knew there had to be some meaning to it all. Something I needed to learn. Some lesson there or something I needed to pass on to another.
My first thought was — with the changing colors of the horse — that all men are equal regardless of race and color. But I disregarded this as a lesson for me. I have no prejudices to race or color. So I looked deeper for a meaning.
I thought about how the horse was constantly changing colors and how the rider stayed in a calm state as one with the horse and seeming to not notice all the changes going on right under him. How the rider never tried to guide or force the horse to bid to his will and go any particular direction at any particular speed. As if the trust he had in the horse he sat upon was total and complete.. Faith that he was just along for the ride. Riding without concern or worry what so ever, for where he was being taken or at what pace. He had been totally and completely calm and trusting even with the chaotic changes going on right under him.
So, here is what I got.. Things change. They change constantly. The colors of the horse were many. Some very pleasing to me. Some not so much. The changes of color never stopped during the entire time. Meaning change never stops. They continue all the time. Some pleasing – some not so pleasing…………… But — the rider was always calm while seeming to have no control. I seen this as total faith in a power greater than himself. The horse symbolizing that power. And it was so because the rider turned it over to the horse. Like one might turn it over to God.
Maybe it was a strong reminder to me to have total faith and trust in my higher power. To accept change and even chaos. To not hurry. To stay calm. To remember that I do not need to be in control of everything. Relax and let it be.
The one stop where the man did give me a piercing look.. (not threatening in any manner).. Just a piercing look… Maybe to say: Pay attention to what is being shown to you!
The birds?? I was stumped on this one at the time and am still not sure. Maybe — just more of the same. The calmness of several different species of birds all moving in a circle of harmony. No sounds from them. Just peaceful flight. These birds seemed to trust one another and also trust the rider and horse.
When the rider pointed to the clouds – the birds calmly, quietly and with a little haste lined up and flew off in the direction he pointed into the clouds. There was no fighting for position. Actually I could not say who went first or in what order they went. I was not finding a specific meaning in this and it agitated me.
At the time I wrote –— I need to think more about this entire vision. It was powerful. It was moving. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. But I think there is more meaning than I am getting right now. Sometimes it takes more time to get it all.
In thinking now about the birds in connection with the rest — maybe trust. The higher power can come in many forms and thru others. The man trusting the horse. The birds trusting the man to show them the way.
Nothing more has come.