Cooper: Happy-All-Days Unicorn

Sequim evenings come early in December making it hard to resist the impulse to stay inside, be warm and read in the quiet of a winter night even though it’s only 5 p.m.

Sequim evenings come early in December making it hard to resist the impulse to stay inside, be warm and read in the quiet of a winter night even though it’s only 5 p.m.

On just such an evening I was well into yet another article on Quantum Theory in my long quest to understand that everything is a moving part made up of moving parts which are, of course, made up of moving parts.

It’s the kind of reading that can put you to sleep, but on this night I was imagining physicists all over the world giddy with excitement at the revelations that can be gained with enough thought, study and inspiration.

I’ve read more than one article which notes the essential illusionary nature of all things due to this constant movement. Just at the brink of my mind exploding at the thought that the chair I was sitting in didn’t exist, I heard sounds outside.

Someone or something was stepping on broken limbs and rocky landscape causing shifts of dirt and stones. I listened closely. It was more than two feet, possibly four and something heavy-footed at that. I peered out and saw a horn … A-ha, a deer or an elk.

Only, I heard crying as if someone were lost. I put on a heavy sweater, grabbed a flashlight and crept outside trying my best not to make sudden noises.

“Hello, hello,” I called gently with the same tone I use with hummingbirds.

Sniffle, sigh, snort came the reply.

I got closer and stopped at the sight of a horse the color of purple washed with silver-streaked grey highlights and sprinkled with tiny yellow spots, some of which sparkled. Unbelievable! Not possible! It must be the moonlight. Or maybe my mind did explode.

The horse turned its head and I froze on the spot. Rising from the forehead of the horse was a pointed horn, although the horn was slightly bent. Big black eyes surveyed me and spilled tears, each big enough to fill an espresso cup. I can imagine what you are thinking but I had not had any stimulant since my morning coffee and had yet to have a glass of wine.

I admit to being impressionable but this is too much for even me.

Sniffle, sigh, snort. “I am useless.”

My unicorn illusion was talking!

“Useless? Why, what do you mean?” I answered hoping no one was watching.

Unicorn turned and his/her horn sagged a bit more. “I‘ve been retired to Sequim.”

“And … ” I urged, “how does that work for a unicorn?”

“I don’t know, I thought we lived forever in the magic land of children who play and dream.”

“Can’t you still be that? I don’t understand.”

“In Sequim?!”

“Well, sure. I saw a child at Walmart just two weeks ago,” I teased.

Seeing the unicorn wasn’t laughing and his/her horn bend even more, I quickly said, “Just joking, there is a school that teaches many children just three miles from here. Besides, there are a few adults that could use a bit of magic and fantasy in their lives.”

“Oh,” said unicorn and, to my surprise, his/her horn straightened a bit and some of the yellow spots began to sparkle.

“You should see the center of town with all the holiday lights. Santa comes just after Thanksgiving!”

More spots turned to sparkle, grey started turning to silver and the horn stood straighter yet.

“Not everyone in Sequim is old and retired and those that are often volunteer in ways that make children’s lives better. Where were you before that you would think that about Sequim?”

“I was happy in Seattle; I had the perfect spot around the viaduct. Did you know that a number of homeless children are around there?”

“Yes, a perfect place for magic and hope for children,” I said. “What happened?”

Looking sad again, Unicorn said, “A strange humongous drill named Big Bertha came to town and started drilling causing the ground to shift. We all had to move and I landed here.”

“Oh, right, I read about it,” I said, feeling glad that Unicorn landed in our yard and not in our mailbox. “But what made you think Sequim was only for the retired and old?”

“Well, we do read lists of the 10 best places to do anything,” Unicorn said, looking as if I just didn’t get the lives of unicorns — which, of course, I don’t.

I said in my most sincere way, “I have told you truth about Sequim and you will be happy here, especially during holidays.”

His/her horn straightened fully, all the yellow spots turned to sparkle and grey to silver. Unicorn heaved a big sigh and disappeared.

I soon found myself in my chair and felt as if I were awakening from a dream. Yes, that was it, it was a dream.

My husband came in and wondered, “What’s that in your hair?”

I looked in a mirror and saw sparkle!

Silently I thanked Unicorn, illusion or not, for the magic and wished him/her and you Happy All Days!

Wishing those who made it to the end of this story and those that didn’t the magic and joy of the holidays!


Bertha D. Cooper is retired from a 40-plus year career as a health care administrator focusing on the delivery system as a whole. She still does occasional consulting. She is a featured columnist at the Sequim Gazette. Reach her at




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