Tuesday, February 15, 2011

End of An Era

{Off to The Great Green Pasture in the Sky}



It was a very sad weekend back on the farm, chickens. With her precious golden head resting in my mother's lap - eyes closed, little hooves drawn up underneath her woolly belly on the dirt floor of the stall -  Lemon moved on to the great green pasture in the sky. She's been fit as a fiddle and sound as a silver dollar almost every day of her thirty-something years, the past eighteen of which have been with us on the farm, and her gentle departure from our world into the next has marked the end of an era for my family.

Lemon came to us when my youngest sister was still in diapers (she's now a freshman in college); she taught all four of us Stockman girls how to ride, and she made a zippy little cart pony when my sisters taught her how to drive. Embracing our obsessions with Pippy Longstocking and Laura Ingalls Wilder, each of us at one point rode Lemon to school, swam with her in the snapping-turtle-infested cow pond, and trespassed all over Hopewell, New Jersey, looking for adventure. Whenever we took a tumble off her back she always skidded to a halt and nudged us with her velveteen muzzle until we crawled back on top of her. Like Nana the dog tending to the Darling children in Peter Pan, Lemon really took care of us. She's always been a four-legged member of our family, a conspirator in our greatest feats of hijinks, and a part of our happiest memories of growing up on the farm.

Even in her old-lady age, Lemon was always game for a bareback ramble with her now grown-up (and long-legged) girls. One hot summer weekend a few years ago when I was living in Manhattan, I took a late night train down to the farm to seek refuge from the sweltering city. I ditched my shoes and bag in the sleeping house and walked barefoot out to the barn in the dark, where Lemon greeted me with her familiar sweet nicker. Slipping a rope and halter over her head, I swung a leg over her little frame and we rode silently together through the moonlit hay fields, my legs nearly touching the ground. This past Christmas, my sisters and I piled on hats and mittens and took old Lemon out for a walk in the winter sunshine, perhaps wondering, in the back of our minds, if it might be the last time us sisters and our cherished childhood pony might all be together.

Farewell little Lemon. We've loved you so much, for so long, and we can't bear to let you go.
Goodbye old friend.


Top: Lemon the morning P. and I left for India, August 2010
Bottom: My sister Hopie on her beloved Lemon, Christmas 2010

51 comments:

  1. Aw, such a sweet post. Animals are members of the family and losing them is a painful thing. But I can't believe Lemon was 30-something! Sounds like she had quite the life :-)

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  2. Oh Lilly, I know how this feels. Lemon is probably running free with my Nietzsche in the wildest and widest and most beautiful praire ever. Big hug.

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  3. That was a beautifully-written tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  4. So sad. Sounds like an awesome horse. Was thinking of you because you'd love all the horses and donkeys in Ladakh.

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  5. A sweet face and beautiful words.

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  6. I'm so sorry for the loss of your sweet Lemon. Your words brought me to tears.

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  7. Like Emily above, your post brought tears to my eyes. So precious, your memories. Your writing, as usual, is gorgeous. So sorry for your loss.

    Hugs,
    Shannan

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  8. Oh no, Lily. I'm so sorry about Lemon. What a beautiful tribute you wrote for her. I'll be thinking of you and sending you big hugs and love... XOXO

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  9. Oh Lily, what an amazing tribute to your Lemon.

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  10. oh, lemon. thinking of your family today. <3

    what a lovely life she had with you.

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  11. Excellent tribute to your pony, Lily. I'm so sorry for the loss. She sounds like the perfect animal to have as part of your family.

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  12. i love you times a million. i'm sending you big hugs to india and let's have a skype date so i can make you laugh. she was the most loved pony in the world!!!

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  13. Good thing I had a hankie on me, because your beautiful words and love for Lemon opened the waterworks. What a lucky family to have such a wonderful pony.

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  14. lovely lemon....its hard to see such sweet friends go and sweet she was!

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  15. oh i'm so sorry. it's so hard to lose a pet so close to the family. stay strong! lemon is in the greenest pasture i know it :)

    looove.

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  16. In puddles here, trying to write through teary eyes. Horse people, animal people, understand. So sorry sweetie. I've been following your blog for sometime silently but today I just had to write. HUGS.

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  17. Love, Love, Love to you my friend~~
    I understand your pain and longing..Bless Lemon forever and ever x

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  18. I don't know you personally, but every post you have written about your sweet family and your beloved pets are always so tender. You have such a gift with words Lily, I hope you know how much they honor those you are writing about.

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  19. Oh, sadness. I'm glad she had such a long and glorious life with you girls.

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  20. Beautiful words. It's so difficult to say goodbye to our pets, but it sounds like Lemon had a wonderful life with you and yours.

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  21. Oh hon ~ so, so sorry for everyone who loved this gentle soul. Sadly, words just seem so inadequate when it comes to a loss of someone so majestic to our hearts. May Lemon's sweet spirit live on forever.

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  22. Aw, Lily, I'm welling up at work! What a touching tribute to what sounds like one damn amazing pony. Keeping you in my thoughts, lady.

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  23. oh Lily-I'm so sorry for your loss. Lemon was so lucky to have had gentle people like you in her life. I hope these beautiful memories will give you comfort although I know how much she will be missed. Thinking of you, love, Deb

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  24. This is sad indeed. Sending my heart your way.

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  25. this is very sad, i am so sorry. you honor her with you memory of her but i do wish they could live forever.

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  26. oh goodness, i'm so sorry about your loss. really and truly, from the bottom of my heart in california all the way over to india i am sending you tons and tons of love. love to your family too.

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  27. trying not to cry. very sad. what a beautiful creature and a love-filled life! why can't it all last forever?

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  28. One day, after several bottles of wine, I'll tell you about our pony Little Bug Ladybug. Wahhhh.

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  29. aw, lemon. goodbye, sweet girl.

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  30. Lemon sounds like she was a beautiful, well-loved pony. I'm very sorry for your loss.

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  31. Gosh, thanks for the sweet, sweet comments and emails, you guys. Clearly a great group of animal lovers here. You'd be amazed by how much comfort you've brought me and my three sisters. xo.

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  32. Thank you for sharing and wishing you peace and happy memories.

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  33. Lil, as you know your posts about ponies and dogs always get me teary eyed and missing for my little farm as well. Is it odd that as soon as I read the title of this post I had a brief moment of dread? While I had never met Lemon, I did have my own Lemon of sorts (except that his name was Pewter and he was quite a few hands higher than little L). I have tried to explain time and again to friends what it means to lose a horse, particularly one that has been a family member for over a decade but it seems that only horse owners themselves can ever really understand. It is akin to losing a best friend, a partner in crime, far more than a pet...all those years of soft noses and whinnies and escaping from paddocks and summer baths outside the barn. I know you and Hopie and Phoebe and Grier loved your horses with the same abandon my sister and I did ours and it's no wonder I'm sitting in my kitchen in Brooklyn with tears running down my face writing to you this morning. All I can hope is that maybe, on the other side in that big old pasture in the sky, Lemon and Pewter and our other boys Monte and Jack are all having a good gallop around and then nibbling alfalfa and carrots to their little hearts content, watching us move through life with the memory that these gorgeous sturdy animals have been and will always be some of our most beloved friends of our lifetime. Much love, K

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  34. love this posting, lily. growing up, i had a palomino pony called maralyn and a beloved welsh pony called prince. they were my friends before i could even explain what friendship meant. i'm so sorry for the loss of lemon... i'm sure she knew how loved and treasured she was... and i'm sure she's now in a peaceful field gobbling up as much grass as possible.

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  35. "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went."...Will Rogers. And ponies and horses, too!

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  36. She's so sweet and pretty. This is sad news, but hopefully she's happy in those greener pastures on the other side...

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  37. Oh, puddles describe now well.
    Tears
    Saying goodbye is so hard and sad
    Suffering
    Memories survive and with them
    Love
    Keep happy thoughts of life
    Treasure

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  38. she and your family lucked out with each other, lily. i'm so sorry for your loss.

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  39. Aw, thanks for all the sweetest, sweetest notes, everyone! My mom reminded me that Lemon wasn't always such an angel; she went through an evil pony stage in the late 90's in which she'd corner us little girls in the pasture with her ears pinned and teeth bared like a dog. But we all made it through childhood loving that damn pony just the same.

    Thanks for all the kind thoughts. xo.

    xoxo

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  40. Somewhere in time's own space
    There must be some sweet pastured place
    Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
    Some paradise where horses go,
    For by the love that guides my pen
    I know great horses live again.
    ~Stanley Harrison

    Hugs ~

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  41. I am sad, and I never met the Lovely Lemon. But I am remembering all my wonderful doggies in my past, and wiping away a tear or two. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

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  42. Sweet Lemon's cantering away and chomping sweet clover under the bluest sky she ever saw. Rest up, sweetheart.

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  43. many of us went through an evil pony stage in the late nineties.

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  44. I'm just reading this now, Lily, and I'm so, so sorry about Lemon. I teared up after the first sweet post about her and I'm bawling after reading this. It sounds like she had a wonderful life in the pastures of Hopewell with you guys. Much love to your family.
    Ps. Evil pony stage makes me love her even more, strangely.

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  45. Hi Lily!!! Thank you for your congrats on our baby news :-) We couldn't be more excited!
    I am sorry to hear about Lemon, losing a beloved pet/family member is so painful :-( What a sweet story though, sounds like this little pony had a wonderful life.

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  46. To be sisters four with a pony must have been the best thing; sisters four with a pony named Lemon even better.

    I'm so sorry, Lily. I'm so, so sorry.

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  47. what a lovely post, touched my heart really, and left me with a smile on my face, with the happiest feeling of love... this world is beautiful, and Lemon will always be a part of it.

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