A friend who chased foxes

I once had a friend who chased foxes on horseback. I met her at a makeup counter at the mall. I sat on her high stool and she pressed the thin skin around my eye sockets, rubbing shimmer across my lids. The most skittish strangers trusted her with the lining of their lashes. When you were in her hands, you closed your eyes and let go. She smelled like lavender. On the first day I met her, I spent $100 on credit and decided she should marry into my family.

She was young and in love with so many things. She especially loved horses and the stray dogs she was always picking up from the side of the road. She used to be a professional snowboarder, and when she rode the lift, her dogs would run up the mountain beneath her chair.

She told me that some foxes seemed to enjoy the hunt. If the hound dogs lost their scent, the foxes would come out of their hiding places to taunt them and prolong the chase. I admit that I didn’t believe her at the time. What kind of animal would laugh in the face of death, just for the thrill of the hunt? But now when I imagine her galloping across the countryside, always grinning behind the fox, behind the dogs, behind her horse’s bucking head, I can see that she too was being chased. A heavy fate was following her as well, but it never fazed her. She kept running, kept laughing, kept teasing the bitter wind that tailed her like a baying hound. And I like to think that maybe when that hound caught up to her, she wasn’t sad or angry like the rest of us; she just took it in stride like the fox who enjoyed his run but knows his time is up.

Amy Saulter’s memorial was yesterday afternoon. She died after a long illness that still remains a mystery. She was in a coma in the neurological ICU for five months, during which time her hair was cut short, she endured over three hundred thousand medical tests, and her parents had to touch her with rubber gloves.

But that’s the sad part of the story. The happy part is that Amy’s life blessed so many of us, if all too briefly, and that her energy will always be fixed somewhere in our thoughts, and that she was a sly and ecstatic sport in this foxhunt life that will one day catch up to us all.

14 Thoughts on “A friend who chased foxes

  1. This was a beautiful story about Amy and it is so true. She will be missed. Thank you for writing it.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful story, it made me cry and smile at the same time!

  3. Dick & Georgeanna on February 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm said:

    Yes SHE was a Trooper and a Joy to be around, We will miss Her Greatly. We are glad you had the chance to know her. Thanks for the story !!!

  4. your story made me actually see Amy as she rode fearlessy to whatever destination the hunt would bring. I’ll remember those smiling eyes.

  5. Jason and Kim Robbins (Amy's cousins) on February 15, 2008 at 8:37 pm said:

    Thank you so much for your beautiful story and tribute to Amy! It captures the essence of her life and her inspirational spirit. She will never be forgotten. All of our lives have been blessed by having her be a part of it. God Bless all of you!

  6. Kelly & Josh (also Amy's cousins) on February 15, 2008 at 9:10 pm said:

    Thank you so much. You described her well and the way she approached life. We all benefited from having her in our lives and she is and will always be greatly missed. Thank you for sharing your memories!

  7. I am honored by all your comments. I will also be forever grateful that I knew Amy for a short time.

  8. Shelia (cousin) on February 17, 2008 at 2:56 pm said:

    Thank you for the great story. I always looked up to Amy and she got me into my love of horses which I have passed on to my daughter. Amy will me greatly missed, and I will think of her when I watch my daughter ride. Thank you again.

  9. Anonymous on February 17, 2008 at 9:04 pm said:

    Amy brought me closer to God, seeing her almost everyday, her peacefull and almost at rest. Strange how you can lean to care and love a stranger without fully knowing that person. I think of Amy and then of God’s grace. we are here but for such a little while, so let try and be kind, helpful, patient, and pass that little smile along.

  10. Your story is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it.

  11. Justin on March 10, 2008 at 1:20 pm said:

    Beautifully and poetically written. Amy was a friend to all, animals and people alike. She will be missed and remembered by all who had the pleasure to know her.

  12. I can relate to so much of your beautiful story about a very special young woman, and you added so much depth with the foxhunt. I only knew her passion for horses, not the hunt. She was so loving and compassionate to me several years ago. Thank you so much for remembering her this way. I found out so late about her passing. Tomorrow is Easter and a beautiful time to remember Amy’s spirit.

  13. Janet on April 5, 2008 at 9:09 pm said:

    I am sorry that I never got to meet Amy; I would have liked to have met her from what I heard about her. I knew her mother, as well as her extended family. My heart goes out to them. I have been where they are now. In one year’s time my husband lost his two older brothers (in their 50’s). Then completely, unexpectedly my sister’s husband was killed in a car accident at the age of 47. We never know when our time is up, but it is important to know for sure where we are going when we die. We know that 10 out of 10 people die.

    The big question is what happens next? What’s on the other side of the grave? There has to be something. Many people believe it’s Heaven. Some also believe there is a Hell. Then again some people don’t believe, but it doesn’t matter what we “believe”. What MATTERS is what is TRUE. We can believe that the Earth is flat . . . but it’s not. We can believe that grass is pink . . . but it’s not. We can believe that wrong is right . . . but it’s not. It doesn’t matter what we BELIEVE. What matters is what is TRUE. The truth is that “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this is the Judgment”. Where will you stand on that day, [when each one of us faces the judgment]? Will you be judged innocent, or guilty? By what standard will you be judged? God has told us what the standard will be; it will be the Ten Commandments. How will you do?

    Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything (regardless of the value)? Have you ever taken God’s name in vain (using it in less than a worshipful manner)? Have you ever dishonored your parents?

    If so, and everyone has at one time or another broken one or all of the commandments, then you will stand guilty before the Judge of the Universe on that day.

    Eternity is a long time to pay for our sins and the price is terrible. The only way to avoid paying the terrible price ourselves is if someone were to pay the price for us, but there is an offer on the table. Someone has offered to pay for your sins and mine. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, has offered to pay that price. The offer is for each of us, but it will not be applied to our debt unless we repent of our sin (in sorrow, to turn away from) and receive it.

    What an offer! What a gift! What a terrible mistake to leave it on the table offered, but never received!

    How will you do on that day? Will you hear, “Guilty-depart from me into everlasting punishment of fire”, or will you hear, “This one is innocent. The price of their guilt has been paid by Another. Enter into My house of joy and blessing forever?”

  14. Melissa on May 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm said:

    Amy was my good friend from college. This was really nice to read.

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