The Quiet Time

20 Mar

Here’s 100 words for Friday Fictioneers in honor of a friend named Mystic whose picture below is this week’s prompt. Whenever he was in the pasture that abutted the back yard Mystic could see me through the window of the room where I write and never failed to visit late at night. He’d strum the bottom wire of the fence with his hoof to let me know he was there and I’d get up and go to the kitchen and grab an apple. I’d talk with him out under the moonlight while he made short work of his treat and together we communed with the stars. Mystic was a good listener and an unquestioning friend when I most needed one. He wasn’t mine, but we shared a common bond and over seven years I grew to love him. He was sold two weeks ago because he was meant for more than ten acres could provide. He has a bigger pasture now, other horse friends and a seventeen-year-old girl who rides him every day. What more could he wish for?

An apple or two from an old friend, perhaps? I hope so.

I miss him.


Mystic watering the lawn


The new moon has set.

Mystic has chosen a spot in the lee of the pepper tree to lie down, but keeps his head held high like a ghostly silver king holding court on a grassy dais. He watches as I walk the gravel drive down toward the barn and considers whether to stand and walk to the fence to see if I have brought him an apple.

We share the night, him at rest, dreaming of pursuit, me without rest, in pursuit of a dream.

I turn and head back before Mystic is tempted to rise.

I know peace.



aaaaMystic lies down

aaaMystic and friends

aaaMystic Fenceline


(Well, shoot, you made it down here. Maybe Mystic’s made another friend.)

[I did pretty good last week. 60 out of 88 or so stories read. I’ll try to catch up but the time moves faster than Mystic gallops. I’ll do better this week, I promise.]

Aloha, D.

79 Responses to “The Quiet Time”

  1. rgayer55 March 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    I love the pictures and the name Mystic. Just hearing the word brought to mind “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison. The lyrics make me think of you – “Hark, now hear the sailors cry. Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.” I love the line in your story – him at rest, dreaming of pursuit, me without rest, in pursuit of a dream. Very poetic, almost spiritual. Beautifully written. Peace be with you my friend.

    • dmmacilroy March 25, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Dear Russell,

      I’ll be looking up Into the Mystic. Thank you for turning me on to that song. Thanks for the peace. I appreciate your reading and taking the time to share your thoughts.



  2. sustainabilitea March 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    You know my heart on this one, Doug, and I completely understand. I have a horse of my own that will someday soon not be around and even though it will be a natural parting, it will be difficult. So I pray that we both find peace and cherish our memories of these two dear friends. Beautifully written as always and I love the additional pictures. Sunday is the horse in the picture with me. Both greys–great taste and great minds. Ha!


    • dmmacilroy March 25, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Dear Janet,

      Sunday is a lucky horse to have you as a companion/owner on her journey. I hope the passing is as easy as such things can be and that the love you share will always linger.

      Thanks for your friendship and fine writing. Your comments are my oat/alfalfa cubes…covered in honey and sweet to eat.



  3. moondustwriter March 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Ahh friends make the best horses or is that the reverse. Sorry that he moved on but glad he has others to make happy in his daily life. We had a grey when I was a kid – good memories. Thanks for sharing Mystic with us

    • dmmacilroy March 25, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      Dar MoondustW,

      Thanks for thanking me and for reading and commenting. Greys are beautiful creatures, aren’t they?



  4. valeriedavies March 20, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    What an exquisite being.
    As you wrote, I began to miss him too..I’m glad that life is good for him… but creatures have memories too, and he will remember and miss you…

    • dmmacilroy March 25, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Dear Valerie,

      I ask my dog, Widget, to please meet me in heaven. I hope he has a memory. I’m going to look for him when I get there.

      Thank you for your kind comment and for visiting me form the Southern Hemisphere.



  5. Claire 'Word by Word' March 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Beautiful horse and peaceful words.

    • dmmacilroy March 25, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      Dear Claire,

      Peaceful is what I felt that night and I carry it with me always. Thanks for visiting.



  6. julespaige March 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    I do hope you get to visit often. I remember summers in the country, I rode bareback once. But just being a little thing then I think the horse barely noticed me. Let me know if Mystic would like a post card from the Lancaster, PA area for his stall.

    I had fun with this photo. I’m up in the link thingy. Alastair and I both couldn’t figure out how to continue the vampire story with it., though. So maybe we’ll continue it next week.

    • dmmacilroy March 25, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Dear Jules,

      I’ll bet you still remember every second of the times you rode bareback. Revel in those memories.

      Thank you for reading and commenting so kindly.



  7. train-whistle March 21, 2013 at 12:42 am #

    beautiful words, beautiful photos. a sense of peace as I read. Thanks Doug for your words and for this week’s prompt.

    • dmmacilroy March 25, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      Dear TW,

      Thank you for your kind comments. I’m gratified that the peace emanated from the moment to the page and into the universe again. Echoes of that night.



  8. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields March 21, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    Dear Doug,
    Your story and the depth from which it came pierced my heart. YKILY

    • dmmacilroy March 25, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Dear Rochelle,


      Thanks for your support and friendship. You’re a good bus driver.



  9. elmowrites March 21, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    I think your intro moved me even more than the story itself, but both were full of the tenderness of friendship. Beautiful pictures and thank you in particular for the one that was this week’s prompt.

    • wmqcolby March 21, 2013 at 1:33 am #

      Musical. Really musical, Doug! Nothing like a loyal animal whether it be a horse or dog, cat, canary … to enhance life.

      As usual, a gem.

  10. Sunshine March 21, 2013 at 3:27 am #

    majestic animal, the horse and your story reflects a very special friendship. only one word fits here…♥love♥

  11. Lauraine March 21, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    Sweet words. He runs freely now, in the vast pasture of your heart.

  12. kz March 21, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    a beautiful creature. a beautiful name. and from what i’ve read, a beautiful friendship that the two of you shared. thanks, Doug, for sharing these photos with us..

  13. Sandra March 21, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    This was lovely Doug, and a lovely picture (even if it nearly did stump me). I can so identify with your feelings here; I once befriended the young dog who lived next door (my parents wouldn’t let me have a dog) and we were so close. Then one day our neighbour told my mother they’d had him put down… I was utterly devastated and I learned a dreadful lesson about being powerless that day. Very well done, and thanks for the picture.

  14. yarnspinnerr March 21, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    This is wonderful.

  15. Sandra March 21, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    I love the story you gave us, the images portrayed – but I also love the piece of introduction on top, the bit about the real Mystic. He must have been – must be – a lovely creature!

  16. nightlake March 21, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    a majestic horse. Hope the girl treats him well and he is taken care of in his new home. I am sure he would miss you though he cannot express it in words. This was a loving tribute

  17. David Stewart March 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Sounds like a great horse and a great friend. I can see why you’d miss him. I love your phrase “like a ghostly silver king holding court on a grassy dais” What a wonderful image. Paints the scene perfectly.

  18. kdillmanjones March 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Beautiful picture, beautiful writing.

  19. Catherine Louise Gurganus March 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    He’s a beautiful horse. I understand how you could miss him, but I’m glad he has more room and lots of friends to keep him company.

    I love what you wrote…”We share the night, him at rest, dreaming of pursuit, me without rest, in pursuit of a dream.”

    Well done.

  20. silentlyheardoncemysammy1 March 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Beautiful story. Both the one telling us how important Mystic was to you and the one you add for your beautiful photo. Mystic is a pretty horse.

  21. Joyce March 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Loved your story Doug. And the story above it. Sorry you lost such a good friend. I love horses too, although I never owned one, but the pets we have, then lose and have to put down or say goodbye to for another reason are sometimes harder and sadder than others. They can affect us that way at times. Maybe its because animals are so trusting. When we’ve had to put down a pet dog we loved and treasured, it was many times harder than any other decision made. Mystic was a beautiful addition to this week’s FF prompt.

  22. Anne Orchard March 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Ah, that’s a sad tale Doug. Knowing Mystic is being cared for won’t fill the hole in your heart. It’s all part of being human, and sometimes it hurts like hell.

  23. bridgesareforburning March 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    Wow, reallly beautiful photos and beautiful words to accompany them. Glad you got to have those years with Mystic even if they’re only a wonderful memory now. Ron

  24. vbholmes March 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    Great photo for the prompt, Doug, and enjoyed the others as well. I particularly like the mood of the last one–definitely shows Mystic as “a ghostly silver king holding court on a grassy dais”. Good story and glad Mystic is happy in his new home.

  25. jwdwrites March 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Doug I love your posts because you always speak with such honesty. I don’t know which I liked more, the background info at the start or the story itself. They were both great. The pictures that followed were lovely too. I hope you get to see Misty again. 🙂

  26. waitingforaname March 21, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Your introduction and story were equally tender. I loved the line, “We share the night…” And the photos – the last two were absolutely stunning.

  27. Jan Brown March 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    Thank you for this lovely story and the wonderful pictures. What a beautiful horse!

  28. rheath40 March 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm #


    What a wonderful story. I felt so much love in every word. Thank you.


  29. indytony March 22, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    This seems very personal. Thanks for sharing.

  30. kindredspirit23 March 22, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Excellent! I felt each word and movement!

  31. erinleary March 22, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    Beautiful. Peace with animals seems to be more easily achieved. I’m sorry for your loss.

  32. erinleary March 22, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    ….And you inspired me. This is the result.

  33. billgncs March 22, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    Hi Doug — I will only say that Mystic looks to be a fine fellow, and that kind of friendship is something few will ever know.

  34. Joe Owens March 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Ah a touching routine that turned into deep friendship. I love horses and think that would be such a neat relationship to build. Thanks for sharing your photograph and memories with us Doug.

  35. denmother March 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    This is simply a beautiful tribute to a beautiful friend. Loved it.

  36. anelephantcant March 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    Elegant prose.

  37. elappleby March 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Doug
    I know others have said this, but I have to congratulate you on the line “him at rest, dreaming of pursuit, me without rest, in pursuit of a dream.” Fantastic, seriously. A wonderful story befitting of a wonderful horse.

  38. annisik51 March 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    The meeting of two mystics. You offered an uncankered apple and Mystic knew that. Great love story. And what a breathtakingly beautiful creature. I hope your story and all the lovely comments make up a bit at least for your loss. And at least you know he’s happy. Ann

  39. Carrie March 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    sorry your buddy moved away Doug. He definitely is a beautiful confidant 🙂

  40. EmmaMc March 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    The bond between a man and a four legged friend is unquestionable, how heartbreaking it is to say goodbye. I am so sorry that Mystic has moved away Doug. Your story was so touching and a lovely tribute to a beautiful horse. May you cherish those memories and hope you manage to go and visit with an apple or two.

  41. JackieP March 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    Everyone so elegantly said what I could say. You were both lucky to have each other when you did. He is a great muse and I could feel the love you had for him. I’m sure it was reciprocated.

    • Beth Carter March 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

      What a precious, sweet story, Doug. I loved this photo and wrote a humorous piece. But your majestic story–especially the intro–really got to me. Thanks for this background and the beautiful photos of Mystic.

  42. EmmaMc March 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    If my story sounds familiar it’s cause my inspiration came from your intro!

  43. Sarah Ann March 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Thank you for the great prompt and other lovely photos. This is wonderful tribute to a dear friend. Love that, ‘We share the night…’ line.

  44. Lora Mitchell March 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Dear Doug: A beautiful, gentle, touching tribute to Mystic. Thank you for posting those stunning photos.

  45. MikeM March 23, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    I only got to meet mystic a couple of brief times. A gentle animal indeed. I’m sure Mystic will tell all his new friends about his apple-baring companion 🙂

    • dmmacilroy March 23, 2013 at 6:42 am #

      Dear Mike,

      I have a couple of nice pictures of you with Mystic. Will pass them along. I’m glad you got to meet him. Gives you a feel for why he’s got a pasture in my heart now. Hi and hugs to Malia.



  46. Shreyank March 23, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    The thing about friendship it seems is unconditional love.. transcends all boundaries ! a great photo ! its has made people come with great stories ! 🙂 loved yours too

  47. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) March 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    I loved the story you wrote and the background even more. I have never had a horse but I can so mcuch sympatize with parting with a friend like that.

  48. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) March 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Fascinating use of the prompt with a layer of feelings that I don’t exactly share but can now understand. Really like the additional pictures too!

  49. tedstrutz March 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Doug… thanks for sharing the photo of your friend. I think you said it all in your introduction. I enjoyed the photos, with that fantastic Hawaiian Sky, especially Mystic with the kids. That Seventeen Year Old is a lucky girl.

  50. Lindaura Glamoura March 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Gosh, so many of us who cherish the beauty of this creature. I too had a gray – an amazing Arabian, whose beauty was staggering and whose personality was abundant. He was murder to ride, however, and ended up being a pet, a fixture in our pasture, for everyone to visit and admire. I wish I had a photo of him with me, but that was long before I had this laptop, or a digital camera, but he led a long and comfortable life, a little king among his harem.
    I loved your first description of Mystic. That would have been enough for me. The time I spent simply gazing over the fence at the grace of these creatures, was a wondrous, peaceful time. Time I wish I still possessed.

  51. newpillowbook March 24, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    Aw, Doug. What a nice explanation of the photo…and I hope Mystic is happy with his improved life, and not missing you too much.

  52. lingeringvisions March 24, 2013 at 12:43 am #

    Beautiful stories and pictures.

  53. winterindecember March 24, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    I actually thought the first part of this story i.e. the true story was your article for this Friday! Very very beautiful and very genuine! My final words… WOW!

  54. Trudy March 24, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Wonderful post, so heartbreakingly honest, both the introduction and the story.

  55. Tom Poet March 26, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    Your photo reminded me of my youth, of ranches long gone and of friends who have moved on. Both your introduction and your story were excellent as always. Your story shows your character as well as Mystic’s. What I loved about the telling was how you started off with new moon set not seen but known by watchers of nature and how you ended with not tempting to rise Mystic. I am not sure if your intent was to show that all though not seen by the naked eye your love for Mystic is still there as sure as the moon is… and there was no need to make him rise. You both knew and there is peace in that. That’s how I read it. Either way it a great piece of work and I am sorry for your lose. Thanks for the kind words on my story this week.

    P.S. sorry it took me so long to get here it just been a busy few days for me.

    • dmmacilroy March 26, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      Dear Tom,

      First and foremost, thanks. Second and always, I know you’re there whether you comment or not. Time’s not a factor.

      Sometimes life gives you moments. What I wrote happened and though not a story, I knew describing the experience was the right way to say goodbye to my friend.

      I appreciate you stopping in and telling me what you did. (Your story was a time machine for me. Took me back fifty years and that takes some doing.)



  56. 40again March 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Dear Doug
    A great story, Mystic is obviously a great loss to you and it shows through in your wonderfully crafted story. A real treat

  57. Madison Woods March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    It was with great relief that I realized he’d only moved to greener pastures still in own world and hadn’t died. Mystic is a beautiful creature and I feel glad you got to know him.

    • dmmacilroy March 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      Dearest Madison,

      Yes, I daresay that Mystic, in the way of horses, ha filed ‘before’ away in his equine brain and has himself thoroughly ensconced in his new ‘now’. Like I said, i’ll miss him, but he’ll be fine. I was just saying my goodbyes with this story. Still makes me sad.

      But seeing you here makes me happy, so all’s well that ends better, ‘eh? How are you doing and do you know that we plank owners in Friday Fictioneers miss you very much. Rochelle is a great steward and is taking good care of your charges. Lots of new faces and three times the stories to read each week.

      Are you well and prospering? I certainly hope so.



      • Madison Woods March 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

        I’ve been dropping in from time to time to see how it’s going with the Fictioneers, and every time I am impressed and gladdened by the visit 🙂 Rochelle is indeed a great steward. I am prospering. A lot is going on in my personal life (new grandbaby any day, getting married in Sept, leaving the dayjob safety net in December) as well as with my writerly life. It’s still a growth, preparation and change phase, but over the course of the next year or so I should be able to begin more of the “doing” I’ve been preparing for. It was good to visit with you today and I’ll try to stop in again soon to see what all you and the other Fictioneers are up to 🙂

  58. pamtanzey May 31, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    That was wonderful!

    • dmmacilroy May 31, 2013 at 4:40 am #

      Dear Pam,

      Thank you for saying so. (How on earth did you find The Quiet Time.)



  59. jdclarkeauthor June 21, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Everyone should be blessed to own at least one good horse in their lifetime. I just wanted to share a little story with you,
    When my grandfather died it was very hard on my mother. Then a few days after the funeral she came to the breakfast table and told us that she had a dream in which her father came to her and told her not to grieve.
    “It’s beautiful here and I am happy, every dog I ever owned is here,” he told her.
    Although we all still missed him, I don’t remember anyone in our family grieving after that.


    • dmmacilroy June 21, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      Dear Mr. Clarke,

      Thank you for that story. It is, indeed, a good one that I will remember whenever I think overlong of Mystic.




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