Thursday, February 11, 2010


When I drew the image above in January of 2008, three months before Richard died, I was thinking about a story Richard told me in 2001.

His story was that late one night he went out walking down the hill in the direction of the ocean in Half Moon Bay, California. Before he reached the ocean, he noticed a horse standing in a pasture. After talking to the horse, he climbed over the fence and slowly and quietly approached the horse. He stood there talking to the horse at length, gaining its trust, and finally asked the horse if it would be okay for him to climb onto its back. The horse allowed him to do that. He told me that he took off his belt and was able to use it as a makeshift bridle.

At that point in his story he stopped to explain to me that although he had not known how to ride a horse at the time we went riding together in 1970, he had learned later. At the time when we had rented the two horses and rode on the bluffs at Half Moon Bay, I had about four years of experience riding horses.

Continuing with his story, he told me that he rode the horse around the pasture for a little while and then opened the gate to the pasture and rode out into the night. He said that they went through the neighborhoods, out along the bluffs and then down to the long sandy beach. He said that they wandered for a good part of that night, and then they returned to the pasture where he left the horse and went home and went to sleep.

He ended the story by saying, "When I went back the next day to see the horse, it was gone. I never saw the horse again. It was a magical night."

In January of 2008, remembering Richard's story, I pictured that magical horse coming to him at night, coming to the bed where, depressed and anxious, he tried to sleep in the stroke rehabilitation unit at the V.A. hospital in Palo Alto. Richard was blind in one eye, unable to speak, breathing with the help of a tracheostomy tube, having difficulty swallowing and requiring tube feeding, and only able to walk with great effort. I pictured the horse talking to Richard, asking him if he would like to leave the hospital for a night ride. When Richard said, "Yes," the horse lowered itself down so that Richard could pull himself over onto its back. Once Richard was on the horse's back, he found that he had the energy he had had as a boy and that he was no longer in the hospital room but out on the hospital grounds. By the light of the full moon, accompanied by a single bird, he and the horse went out to the coast. They returned before dawn. Richard felt a peace of mind and heart that he had not felt since he was a boy. He asked for an easel and began to paint again.


If my father were still alive, today would be his 96th birthday. He died just a little over a month after his 89th birthday on St. Patrick's Day of 2003.

In the last year of his life he wrote this:

My Daily Prayer to My Almighty God

You are above all of creation.

In it You have created all universes and everything in them.

In it You have created millions of stars and planets, far apart.

In it You have created the greatest physical force in our Universe, the magnificent sun.

In it You have created the planet for us all to live on, the Earth.

In it we have You, the sun, oceans, mountains, caves, rivers, lakes, rain, snowflakes, waterfalls, forests, land, air waves we cannot see, every living creature and the most powerful force of all, Love.

Thank You my Almighty God for everything on our planet, Earth.

I ask You, my Almighty God, to forgive me for any harm I have done.

I ask You, my Almighty God, to forgive anyone who harmed me, whether I knew it or not.

You are above all human beings that You have created.

No one on Earth can be compared to You, my Almighty God.


June 17, 2002

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