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  • Writer's pictureDarcie Litwicki

My Heart Found in Scooping Poop

I found my heart in the horse pen amongst poop of all things. As a horse owner, poop is a big deal. So much poop! It's literally everywhere in the horse pen. I ask myself, does this pile look ok? Which horse did it come from? After awhile I can tell which horse dropped which pile and what it should normally look like. Then I can determine if everyone is basically digesting ok or not. Then there is the cleaning and management of poop. I clean it up everyday and remove it from the pen. The next day it seems like there's even more. It's an endless sea of poop that even creeps into my dreams at night. I realized recently that this chore is actually an endless practice in mindfulness. One day, a very ordinary day, I found an unexpected surprise. In this whole large pen of sand, rock, dirt, and poop, a heart lay amongst the rubble. It wasn't bright red or shiny and wasn't colorful at all really. Nonetheless, it popped into my vision. As I bent down to pick it up I felt its warmth from the sun. The edges were smooth from many untold years of formation. Upon further inspection it had a couple of cracks and a few small holes scattered throughout it. I know my neighbors must love all the strange things they see and hear when I'm out in the horse pen but still I enfolded it in my hand and closed my eyes just for a moment. In that moment a wave of emotions rolled through my mind. I thought of all the times my heart has cracked and broken over the illness, injury, or loss of a beloved horse. All the tears and stress and anxiety as I've fretted over what decision to make for my best friends. Then came the feelings of joy and passion for these beautiful creatures that grace my life just by being alive and even those that are no longer. Memories of all the grooming, rides, playful times, friends, riding students, quiet times at sunrise, the glow of the day winding down, a sweet snuffle in my hair, a warm neck to embrace, and oh, that glorious smell that only a horse possesses. As I opened my hand my gaze caught the lovely bays, reds, smokey hues, of those that hold my heart. With a sigh and a gentle tear on my cheek, I smile and scoop, scoop, scoop the poop here where my heart lies.

Heart shaped rock found in my horse pen.

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