The Healing Horse, Ch. 8, Scene 03: Pegasus Waits

When Karen leaves Pegasus alone in the garage, he has his first opportunity to reflect on himself, on his purpose in life, and on what his fate might be. No longer an immortal carousel horse, he wonders what mortal life will bring.

Scene 03: Pegasus Waits

Pegasus watched his Kitten disappear through the narrow door, and he reflected on his situation. He had come alive to be of spiritual service, but he had not thought through the inevitabilities of mortality. He was no longer a wooden horse that could exist forever with a minimum of care and an occasional coat of paint. He rubbed his left front hoof against the smooth concrete floor. He had never felt anything like that, before. His leg moved at his will. It was not locked into a galloping position. He could put his feet wherever he wanted them.

He stretched his neck and let out the loudest whinny he could. Then, he asked himself why he had done that. Did he want his Kitten to come back? Could he exist on his own? His body not only felt different from how it had always felt, but uncomfortable. His feeling for himself had always been muted, and his weight had always ridden on the pole. Now that he could feel the weight of the little girl on his back and experience the flow of his muscles as he carried her, and now that he could feel the ground beneath his feet, he wondered what would come, next. If he had come alive to be of spiritual service to her, what would happen to him when she grew too old to believe in carousel horses? Or would that day ever come?

He found himself reflexively taking another deep breath and blowing hard through his nostrils, just as he had seen real horses do when his carousels had shared amusement park space with horseback rides.

I’m snorting. What next?

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

A Letter to President Joe Biden

Are you like me? Do your disabilities keep you from benefiting from conventional medical treatment? As you know, my disabilities began with a DPT shot that put my little infant body into a coma, and when I woke up I had CP and dyslexia. Since then, I have had much more success dealing with ongoing health problems by using alternative treatments, since the conventional ones often make me even sicker. The catch is that even though I have health insurance, it does not cover what I need. It covers only what makes me worse.

Yesterday, I mailed a letter to President Biden (cc: all my federal and state elected officials) pointing this out. I think he’s a great president. I support his many efforts to make life better for all Americans and for many people around the world. Now, I hope he will put some of his energy into getting us all the healthcare that we need.

If you have some thoughts on this, please share them with me.

Letter to President Biden

Dear President Biden,

My name is Karen Lynn-Chlup. I am pleased to have supported you throughout the years and to have voted for you in the last election.

I am a disability rights advocate, an inspirational speaker, and the author of The Broken Hoof. In 1979, I won the first Civil Rights case under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This enabled me to go to college. Since then, my victory has opened the doors to higher education for thousands of disabled people across the country.

That being said, I am writing to ask you to continue the wonderful work you are doing to change government policies so that they help all people with disabilities, not only in the workplace, but in healthcare and education alike.

There are not enough laws to protect us. Too often, we are minimalized, taken advantage of, and not taken at our word. We need policies that care for, defend, and secure the needs and choices of individuals with disabilities.

I would not be paralyzed today if a doctor had listened to my mother, seventy years ago, when she told him that I had run a fever after my first DPT shot. He did not listen, I almost died from the second shot, and I have been disabled since then.

It is vital that sound advice replace arbitrary judgments. I know my body’s limitations far better than anyone else does. My understanding should not be overruled or dismissed. It should be taken seriously to help heal not hurt. Refusal to consider integrative medicine for those who are sensitive and cannot eat certain foods or take drugs and herbs is causing people like me to get sicker, not better. Then, I have to pay out of pocket, even though I have insurance, to get treatment elsewhere. Plus, it is making it very difficult to consult with a doctor on getting the appropriate care or vaccination.

I am confident that under your leadership things will continue to improve. If you would like to talk further, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Sincerely yours,

Karen Lynn-Chlup

cc: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Alex Padilla, Representative Ted Lieu, Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Benjamin Allen, Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi

The Healing Horse, Ch. 8, Scene 02: Karen Hides Pegasus in the Garage

Karen continues to show good judgment, as she hides Pegasus in her mother’s garage and then leaves to get help from her Mama.

Scene 02: Karen Hides Pegasus in the Garage

Once at home, Karen rode her stallion down the driveway, around Mama’s parked Chevy, and into the garage. Reaching up, she pulled down the handle of the overhead door. With it closed, no one could see him. He would be safe for now.

A concrete-floor garage with no windows except for the little one in the side door was not what she wanted for Pegasus. She needed Mama’s help to find a better place.

“Stay here for a minute, boy, while I go talk to Mama. You’ll be shielded and protected here.”

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 8: Trotting Home, Scene 01: Trotting Home

After the long slog through the woes of the last chapter, Karen’s determination and loyalty to Pegasus pay off. She rescues him from the ruined hippodrome! She instantly realizes they need to get off the pier and back to her house, and she directs him which way to go.

Scene 01: Trotting Home

Kitten jumped up onto Pegasus’ back. For a sweet moment, she stroked his soft mane with her right hand before grasping his reins.

“We have to get out of here,” she said. “Go straight up the pier to the ramp, then we can take a special horse path to my house. Don’t say another word. We have to keep your talking a secret!”

Pegasus looked back and up at her. His eyes were wide. Silently, he carried Kitten through the dense Friday night crowd. As people stepped out of the way to let them pass, Karen and Pegasus heard gasps of surprise.

“I didn’t know horses were allowed on the pier!” a man said. A woman’s voice replied, “That must be a special horse. It’s so tiny, and look at those amazing colors!”

As soon as they passed under the arched sign at the top of the pier, the crowd thinned and Pegasus broke into a trot. Karen directed him to a horse path that ran parallel to the main street of town. Block after block, they trotted with a quiet inner gusto and gladness. Pegasus’ hooves resonated sweetly as they struck the dirt of the trail. No one else was on the path, so they relaxed and spoke freely about their time apart. Pegasus told Karen how much he had missed talking with her.

“I really don’t know what I would have done, either, Kitten, especially knowing that I came to life to be of spiritual service to you. I have been trying to get out of that awful abandoned hippodrome, where they left us. Without the calliope and lights, and with the windows boarded up, it was cold and dreary. No one took care of us. We were just left lying in a heap. I heard your voice calling me from time to time, but I could not call back to you in front of the other horses, and there wasn’t any way for me to escape. Then, today, the workers removed my pole, and I could get my feet on the ground. At the end of the day, one of them left the back door open, too. So, when I heard you calling me, I did not hesitate at all, though the prospect of living away from a carousel is a bit daunting to me.

“I’m supposedly only a merry-go-round horse that takes children for fantasy rides on a carousel, but here I am trotting up a lane in the real world. Remember, we can’t spill our secret to anyone. I’m a little nervous about being away from the carousel, but my destiny is to be with you and not to go back.”

“Okay, Pegasus. Mama knows a little about you, but not about your talking or your spiritual role in my life. We can keep it that way.”

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 7, Scene 19: The Calliope Was Silent

First, let me apologize for not posting this, as scheduled on Wednesday. My faithful editor spent much of the day getting his second Pfizer COVID 19 inoculation, so work ground to a halt.

Back to this scene, one of my favorites in the book—after struggling with her CP and dyslexia, after struggling to attain any level of freedom, after beginning to find that freedom and joy in the company of her mentor Pegasus, he was ripped away from her in a heartless land-grab that eventually led to a community uprising, as the people of Santa Monica stood up to stop the destruction of their iconic amusement park, which included the hippodrome in which Pegasus lived. But meanwhile, little Karen, little Kitten, dedicated herself to overcoming the emotional and physical shock of losing her mentor, and to returning to the place she last saw him, so she could rescue him. This is the scene where she calls upon her inner wisdom, her magic, and he responds, returning to her side.

Scene 19: The Calliope Was Silent

The calliope was still silent, and the hippodrome remained gloomy and dark, but now the high wire fence had a padlocked gate. Resting for a moment on a bench across from the hippodrome, she wondered if she could get in. The thick Friday–night crowd hurried by her, oblivious to the shuttered carousel.

Above the pier, though, the sunset filled the sky with profuse, otherworldly colors. Gazing up at them, she breathed deeply and released the discordant tension within herself. She had silenced her inner voice of discouragement. She had shaken the sadness from her spirit. She would find a way. She was ready to continue her search.

She left the bench and crossed the stream of people, back to the hideous hurricane fence. With the hippodrome windows boarded up, she could not see Pegasus or anything else inside. In her imagination, she heard the calliope and saw the flashing lights, but tonight it was dark and silent. She leaned on the fence, staring straight ahead, searching her heart for guidance.

Why did my strength blossom at this point—now, when I am wondering what they did with Pegasus? Where did they take him? What happened to all the other pretty horses?

Her heart replied that her strength had returned because of her newfound ability to visualize, and to make what she imagined into something real.

She turned away from the metal fence and the ugliness that surrounded the beautiful hippodrome. In spite of the Friday evening noise, in her perception she could hear only the distant ticking of the Bay City Building clock, just a few blocks inland from the pier, as it measured the minutes of life from its great height. Other than the sound of time passing, silence surrounded her.

Where was Pegasus? She forced her trembling legs back into action and hobbled through the crowd toward the end of the pier. Glancing at the rides and amusements, she saw nothing of him. She reached the end and looked out at the darkening Pacific, as the last light of the day faded to black. The distant sound of the clock disappeared, and she heard only the lonely sound of seagulls calling to each other.

She visualized Pegasus, just as she had visualized herself walking, again. Picturing and envisioning him, she saw him disentangled, unharmed and free.

Soon, he will be by my side.

Filling her lungs, she called into the wind, “Pegasus! Pegasus! Can you hear me?”

For a moment, she stood in silence. The sounds of the crowd and the gulls, the whisper of the sea disappeared. Then, in the distance behind her, she heard a soft sound, the sound of hooves on a wooden pier. Afraid to turn and look, she froze as the sound grew more powerful with each step.

Overcoming her fear, she whirled as her gallant rainbow stallion trotted up to her, the lights in his midnight eyes glowing like the stars in the sky above.

“Is it you? Is it really you?”

“It is I. I heard your call, and I came.”

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 7, Scene 18: K Races to Rescue Pegasus

Scene after scene, little Karen draws upon her inner strength as she struggles through life, facing one disappointment after another, but soon, everything will improve for her.

Scene 18: K Races to Rescue Pegasus

Smiling back at mama, she explained where she was going, and out the kitchen door she flew. Like an injured mama cat searching for her lost kitten, she limped down the street, her calm composure helping her endure.

“So glad to be outside, again,” she said to herself as she took in breath after breath of fresh air and soaked up the sunlight. “I am well, again. I am well. I can take this walk. I can take this walk just like I did before! Step by step I will move forward. I will make my way down the sidewalk, through the park, and down the ramp to the hippodrome, pushing, pushing on.”

The outside Karen shared this adventure with her inner Kitten, and her inner KItten provided the strength she needed. Block after block she marched, drawing strength from difficulty. With each step, she felt her weak muscles working hard, pulling with every contraction and stretching with every elongation. This was the furthest she had walked in weeks, and she knew that the journey was taking over twice as long as it used to. After an hour of trudging, she reached her destination, both legs trembling from fatigue.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 7, Scene 17: Karen Races From the School Bus

Karen’s strength returns with her determination to find Pegasus. She hurries from the school bus to change clothes before going to look for him.

Scene 17: Karen Races From the School Bus

The lowering sun touched the Pacific’s horizon, as she scurried from Mr. Hinton’s bus to her door.

She hurried to change out of her school clothes. From her closet, she pulled her lucky pink overalls and white crew neck top. These were the clothes for today. Nothing else would do.

After easing her paralyzed left arm into the sleeve of her red jacket, she slid her right into the other arm looked into her mirror.

That will do. The pink and red don’t clash. They’re fine together. Everything is complementary, today. Everything is in harmony.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.


The Healing Horse, Ch. 7, Scene 16: Karen Uses Her Imagination to Regain Her Strength

In this scene, the story begins to climb. The sweetness of autumn provides a contrast to Kitten’s mood, and she takes note. Within minutes, her imagination reminds her of the pleasure of riding on Pegasus’ back. Then she has an epiphany. She needs to take action. She discovers an encouraging note from her mother. She sets aside here crutch and paces the room, her head full of plans for the morrow. She is on the mend.

Scene 16: Karen Uses Her Imagination to Regain Her Strength

That Thursday evening, as she huddled in the warmth of her window seat, she found herself in complete incongruity with the sweet taste of the autumn air that came in from outside. The contrast between her jagged emotional state and the coziness of her home made her feel even lonelier than ever.

Looking up at the stars in the misty, blue sky, she daydreamed about the good times she had enjoyed while riding her stallion at the carousel, and about how he had come alive for her and for her alone. Yet, she could not stop thinking about what would become of him. Indulging herself, she envisioned everything working out for the best, but she knew that dreams were not enough. She would have to take action.

She envisioned the day when she would once more climb upon his back. Her imagination brought her back to her carousel experiences as if she were living them, again, and she felt as if her view of life were changing on some deep level, as if she were beginning to see with a new clarity, free from the scratched lenses of conventional conditioning that had clouded her vision all her life.

As the evening passed, she felt an urge to move. Forcing herself to stand, she noticed a piece of paper that had been sitting on her desk for several days. She had not felt up to looking at it, but now she did. Using her crutch, she hobbled across her room to her desk. It was a note in Mama’s handwriting.

Dear Kitten, This is another challenge in life—a trying situation you are facing. I wish you didn’t have to go through this. But you make me prouder than I could ever say. Your concern for Pegasus will break down all barriers and bring him back to you.

As she read these words, she felt Mama’s confirmation energize her. Her own strength returned to her legs. With renewed vitality, she leaned the crutch against the wall and slowly walked the floor. One careful step at a time, she picked up speed, bending her knees to make sure her legs were in good position and form.

This is wonderful! I just needed some encouragement. I’ll tell Mama, now, so she can stop worrying, and tomorrow after school I can go out looking for Pegasus.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.


The Healing Horse, Ch. 7, Scene 15: Karen Wastes Away

The story continues darkly, but even in the depths of her weakening, and even though she knows the doctors cannot cure her, little Karen knows in her heart that she can cure herself.

Scene 15: Karen Wastes Away

As the week passed, Karen became too infirm to walk without the crutch. Her mother left Kitten’s favorite foods on the bedside table—warm rice with butter melting on it, greenish yellow bananas, toasted rye or Challah bread, or Kitten’s favorite—a poppy-seed bagel with an eighth of an inch of lox and a quarter inch of cream cheese—but Karen did not eat.

Karen tried reading and watching TV to pass the time, but her mind refused these distractions. She was completely focused on Pegasus and on her own failing strength. Yet, even though the situation appeared grim and hopeless to her, she knew deep inside that this was only a passing appearance—an illusion. Eventually she would see the truth. A feeling grew in her heart that the problem with her legs was not medical. The doctors could not cure her. She would have to cure herself. She would have to rescue Pegasus, too, but she could not see how she could do either, not yet.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 7, Scene 14: Mama Takes Action

The story looks like it is about to turn a corner and become more hopeful, but do not be fooled. Medical help is not what little Kitten needs.

Scene 14: Mama Takes Action 

The next morning Mama set up appointments with several specialists. Kitten and Mama began a round of visits to medical offices. None of the doctors had an explanation or a cure. They could not find anything new wrong. One prescribed a crutch and exercise. Another suggested bed rest. None enquired about her emotional state or the conditions of her life. For the entire week, Karen didn’t leave her house except to go to the doctors.

©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.