Last night was my last night at the barn, and stupid Sandy ruined it.
There was no power, hence no lessons, hence hardly anyone around. I saw and said goodbye to a few people, but am missing many more. I had to pack all Tristan's things in the dark, consolidating everything and making sure his foot wrapping supplies were handy, packing all my saddle pads away. I wanted both to keep clutter out of the barn aisle in my absence (not that I am ever messy, but sometimes things fell off my trunk, and I wanted to avoid that) and to make sure that everything was snug and secure so that when I return to pick him up, I'll just be able to hitch and go with a minimum of fuss.
It took about an hour and a half, all told; it would've been less if I hadn't had to keep picking up and putting down a flashlight to check on zippers and comb the floor for anything I might've dropped. It was also pouring rain, such that it made every trip from trailer to barn to car a misery. Figures. I battened down the trailer, closing all the windows tight, making sure nothing was leaking and everything was packed in a tupperware or trunk.
Finally, I put my flashlight in my pocket, grabbed a brush, and groomed Tristan in the pitch dark. I'm not sure I could have done that with just any horse, but I kept one hand on him and one hand on the brush, and talked or sang softly to let him know I was still there. I ran my hands over every bit of him, the swoop of his withers, the scar on his left hind, the bit where his mane falls on both sides of his neck. He paused eating his hay every so often and stood quietly and tucked his head in toward me, letting me trace his blaze and kiss the softness of his nose and fuss with his ears the way I used to when I was teaching him not to be head shy.
Then I gave him some peppermints in his feed pan, and latched the door, and sobbed for the first 15 minutes of my drive home, great big wracking sobs that hurt my throat and that I just couldn't stop. Leaving good places is never easy, no matter how good the next step will be.