RHYTHMS OF THE SANCTUARY by Dixie Ayala
With a clank of a chain, the gate opens into a world of miniature horses. It feels as though I am going from black and white to living color.
A melody of whinnies floats across the sanctuary as one calls to the other. Each mini sings its own song.
Laughter, quiet talking is exchanged among the volunteers, called Angels, who scratch with their rakes as they clean up horse manure. They fill water buckets and take time out to love a mini. An Angel talks softly to a little one.
Jeanne, the director of the So Cal Mini Horse Sanctuary, claps her hands and waves her arms as she moves horses from one corral to the other. It looks like she is conducting an orchestra. It’s wonderful to watch. Her son, Anthony, is singing solo in the barn. Sounds joyful.
With a high pitched squeal, pushing and shoving breaks out as two minis get into a tiff over hay. There is plenty of food; they just happen to want the same morsel. An Angel sings out, “Hey, hey, hey, knock it off!” They do.
I hear munching as Maddie, the horse I sponsor, eats her breakfast. It’s a contented sound. She does not have to worry about food, or anyone hurting her anymore. She used to be afraid of humans, but now she moves forward to get a carrot with her gentle mouth. This makes me smile.
Being here is a pause from the real world. It’s peaceful. No traffic sounds, loud noises, or the ringing of cell phones.
Sometimes the tune is changed as a new voice is added to the choir. One who was rescued from starvation will no longer go hungry. A mama and her tiny colt are brought in. They are safe now to run and play. All is well at the sanctuary.
A clank of the chain reminds me it’s time to go home. The concert is over for today.