Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blackwater Woods

Every year everything
I have ever learned in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side is salvation,
whose meaning none of us will ever know.

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver  


It is the season of Lent. The time before Spring, before renewal, before growth explodes upon the world. Things lie deeply dormant, deathlike, dreaming.
There is anticipation of change. The yearning of life. 
But the darkness lingers yet.
The time of light is not upon us.

We are heading into Lent, the lengthening of days.
We are heading into the loss of life which miraculously turns into rebirth.

The earth renews itself, seeds germinate, blooms appear, tender shoots of grass thrust up through the mud toward the sun. The cries of babies, human and animal are heard. 

In order to celebrate the birth, we must let go of the death. 
We must embrace the cycle and with the earth's rotation and tilt we must lean toward the returning light.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Horse High~ Equine therapy begins.

I spent yesterday learning hands on about horses. I have volunteered for barn duty at Central KY Riding for Hope, an equine therapy program.
I have a great love for all animals and have been blessed to have dogs and cats. I have loved horses but never really had a chance to work with them. Now all that has changed.

Two weeks ago I went through the orientation, observing as a trained wrangler showed us how to pick hooves, curry, brush and tack a horse. So much info to absorb in two hours! Yesterday I finally got to touch the horses. Under the eyes of experienced horse wranglers, I curried mud off the horses' coats, picked hooves, tacked them with saddles or surcingles depending on the need of the therapy client.

Now these are highly trained, calm and forgiving horses. I wasn't afraid of them and I had an innate trust in them. I approached each one, looked them in their huge luminous eyes and talked to them softly. As I curried them, I kept one hand on them, feeling their rough winter coats and their body heat on a cold day. As I practiced what I observed, I became thankful they were so cooperative and calm. I felt that they knew they were my teachers.

I have often felt connections with various animals but these horses are amazing to connect with and to watch. I would walk out to the arena as they were working and observe them with clients. I watched as one horse shifted his weight to accommodate the wiggling child on his back, helping her to find her center of balance and to relax. These horses know their riders's foibles and work to teach and help and heal.

Equine therapy is amazing. I learned about kiddos who started in a wheel chair and over time working with equine therapy, they began to walk. The horses helped these kids to WALK. How amazing is that?

Looking into their eyes, I saw a wisdom and depth surpassing anything I have ever witnessed. I saw their soul. I saw God incarnate. I saw healing. And I am humbled and honored to be working with this incredible, beautiful beasts.