After I woke up, I sat in my bed in the dark and thought about the herd back there, hastily growing winter coats, eating what's left of the grass, huddling together at night while coyote cries sound all around them.
All night I lay awake, worrying that they might not have enough grass to last them, fearing one of them might have broken a leg, imagining the horse I'd dreamt about and trying to picture him just fine, sleeping peacefully with the rest of the herd there to protect him. My mind turned over this way until three o'clock in the morning.
Today, when I drove out to check on them, I saw that the horse was fine. He stood grazing, looking perfectly normal. I hugged him and stroked the side of his face. It was not a premonition or a vision -- it was just a dream. Two other horses were lying down, snoozing in the sun. I'm not new to horses; I know that they like to lie down sometimes on sunny days, but I still made them both get up, and I put my ear to their bellies to listen to their gut sounds, just so I could be sure they were fine. I made Eric help me bring extra hay out to them, just in case the October grass wasn't enough.
I am spooked. I have an anxious feeling inside of my chest when I picture the herd I'm supposed to be caring for, out there all alone. But it's not a new place for them -- they go out there at least a dozen times a year to run free and eat grass and be horses.
I don't know what I'm so afraid of.
This is just one thing like everything else.