St Peter stands at heaven’s front door, but if you pop round the back you’ll find the best bit – its where the horses are.
I’m not one for finding comfort in Rainbow Bridges (horses are such patient beings in this world, please don’t make them wait on us in the next) or Stars in the Sky, because stars are awesome enough as they are, but I know in my heart of hearts that when horses die, they go to a special place where fields are wide and flies are few, and they can breathe and snort and simply be horses, and things no longer hurt.
Here, sad horses exchange skin and bone for sleek coats and strong limbs. Skinny mules from Egypt grow plump, and the best loved horses become more best and even more loved. As they walk through heaven’s wide gates where Anna Blake’s Grandfather Horse, and Mark Rashid’s ranch horse Buck graze the lush green grass, newcomers are welcomed with a quiet nicker and a gentle breath.
Through this gate tottered a curmudgeonly little donkey named Lilith; small in stature but grand in stance. Her eyes were cloudy and her hearing muffled; she could no longer see or hear the inhumanity meted out to donkeys everywhere. God’s grazing herd recognised a Very Special Being, and respectfully lined her route home.
Lilith glanced left and right. With a slight drop of the nose towards Grandfather horse, and a long-ear flick towards Buck, she wobbled unsteadily down the centre of the assembled horses. As cantankerous in death as she was in life, she threatened to kick or bite anyone who stepped out of line.
When she reached the bucket of tinned pears (her toothless favourite) she stopped and sniffed, gathered her frail body into a semblance of order, and thought about braying. Then she buried her nose in the nectar of Heaven and ate to her heart’s content.