I’m a sucker for any type of bizarre road side attraction. Balls of twine, reptile ranches and giant rocking chairs; these attractions seem to have some type of gravitational force field that draws me in. So when a friend of mine told me about a rocking horse graveyard not far outside of Boston, my ears perked up and my sense of intrigue overcame all rational thought. I simply had to find this place. A few inquiries, a little bit of online detective work and I was set. Armed with directions from Google earth, I headed out one evening after work towards a farm field in Lincoln, Massachusetts to witness this gathering of cast off childhood memories for myself.
I had navigated down the back roads for several miles, passing through small towns, plowed corn fields and pastures, thinking perhaps I had the directions wrong, when I rounded a corner and there they were. Dozens of them, grazing in the setting sun, partaking in different social scenarios. Some circling a Christmas tree, others attending a tiny tea party. A herd of rocking horses were being led by an aged but pretty palomino crowned with a silver and pink rhinestone tiara. Two horses decorated for the holidays, their rocking platforms long discarded, reared up against the pasture fence as if longing to be free to rock once more. Perhaps they are all holding out hope that Santa will come and magically transport them to the island of misfit toys.
This is certainly the stuff that legends are made of. Why this particular field? How did they get there? Is there some sort of rocking horse “call of the wild” that draws them here? If you were to venture down this lonely road after dark, would you see new comers rocking across the moonlit countryside, slowly making their way to this pasture in some sort of bizarre nocturnal equine migration?
Of course it’s more probable that actual people are bringing them here. Someone must be the self-appointed ringmaster of this strange little circus, tasked with moving them about and configuring their social circles. As once beloved toys, they are deserving of a final resting place where they can wait out their remaining days with others of their kind, eventually being overcome by the elements and a few harsh New England winters.
For me this is not a graveyard. Lacking the grimness of a nursing home, this is more of a retirement village or an assisted living facility. I imagine them engaging in ice cream socials, making holiday crafts, playing bingo, Parcheesi and shuffleboard. Occasionally there will be one, damaged beyond repair, who will have to be put out to pasture. Their loss will be mourned, their life reflected upon. But until the time each one is called home to the great toymaker in the sky, like the rest of us, they will continue to rock on.