It’s been six weeks since Bud, our sweet Appaloosa gelding died.

And now we’re coming up on his birthday. On Sunday he’d be thirty. Things have changed since his death. Things that I couldn’t expect.

For one, the Herd of Oldsters is different.

Amigo

Amigo

Earlier this week when I was out feeding Pepper, I had a conversation with one of Amigo’s peeps. She was brushing him down after a ride. She asked how the three of us were doing. I told her we were okay.

“The herd seems lost since Bud died,” she said.

I nodded.

“And I so often see Pepper by herself,” she added.

I nodded again.

“It’s as if they don’t know what to do without him.”

I agreed, a lump forming in my throat.

Grief is sneaky like that. One minute you’re fine and the next, you can’t speak.

She went on to tell me that she’s finding places on Amigo where he’s been kicked or bitten. “I think he’s trying to find a new friend,” she said.

I know it’s the horse way – all that power and posturing – but I don’t like it. I hate thinking that Bud’s best friend is getting beat up.

We stood for a moment or two, tending our horses and enjoying the silence.

“Bud was the glue,” she said. “He held the herd together.”

“I think you’re right,” I said.

This surprised me, but in hindsight I know it to be true. That sweet old Appy was the alpha horse in the Herd of Oldsters. And with him gone, they are struggling to re-group. They will figure it out. I’m confident of that. A new leader will emerge.

It got me thinking though about my own glue.

Who is it that holds me together? How do I re-group when the world seems to be nibbling pieces of me until I’ve lost my center? We all have times when we could benefit from a little glue.

Or a lot of glue!

My glue usually consists of spending time with friends and family. I have a core group of “glue dispensers”. I also find that certain routines help put me back together when I’m feeling like Humpty Dumpty.

One thing I’ve learned as a mosaicist is that all glues are not created equal.

You must find the right glue for each project. And if I may extend the metaphor a little, I think it’s true for us as well. I have many people in my life who each provide a unique kind of glue for me. And there are many activities/routines that offer the same gathering up of my assorted pieces and parts and holding them together.

The key is finding the right glue for the right time.

I would never have thought of it in this way, without my conversation about Bud being the glue in the Herd of Oldsters. I love it that he continues to be one of my teachers.

So I offer this question to you as well: Who’s your glue?

P.S. I’ll be lighting a candle for Bud on Sunday. A few years ago, I acquired a special memory candle for birthdays and other special occasions, to honor those who are no longer with us. It has become a meaningful tradition for me. One tiny way to be mindful.

Happy Birthday Bud!

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