In all honesty, as I spend more and more time outdoors with my animals, doing daily cleanup chores and generally getting things ready for winter, I find myself doing a lot of reflecting.
I never quite understood why my horsey friends used to say they loved spending time cleaning up their pens. After having our two beautiful boys join us about six months ago, I find the lure of being around them very soothing. I can be out in the paddock in the lousiest of weather and find I can smile at whatever they may be doing.
Neither boy is too fond of the hose being turned on to fill the trough and don't like to be bothered when eating. While I push the wheelbarrow around to collect their manure, one or both will come up to investigate and have a 'cuddle'. Floyd, our big paint gelding tends to be the more curious of the two and will quite often come up and snuffle me, nibble at my jacket sleeve or will just hang his head over my shoulder to have his chin and throat stroked. Quite often he will snuffle my face, sharing his breath with me. I find that at once a bit unnerving and yet very comforting.
My boy, Gold Rush, tends to ignore me. Or at least gives the appearance of ignoring me, but I know he is watching and aware of everything I do. He's pretty much bomb proof and rarely reacts to anything. He'll stand nearby with his head hanging down, appearing to be snoozing where he stands. He'll just stay like that and enjoys being groomed, until he feels the need to eat. And of the two boys - Gold is ALWAYS eating. When I do go out to load up their hay nets, I laugh as both boys hang their heads over the fence and let me know very clearly that they would like to be fed. Right. Now.
The boys are actually quite affectionate. They like to be around us and act very much like giant puppy dogs, following either or both of us around, checking out whatever we may be doing. I am very well aware that our thousand pound animals are NOT puppies, but it is comforting to be around them.
I find spending time outside with the boys very peaceful, very calming. It also surprises me at how quickly time passes when I am doing so. What feels like just a few minutes often turns out to be at least an hour, if not longer.
So why might this be of interest?
Six months ago, owning a horse hadn't even crossed my mind. I was still quite uncomfortable being around them and was working on my own therapy to release fear and trauma. In a few short sessions, I realized that I actually wanted a horse of my own to work with, through a whole range of emotions and fears. I've always loved watching horses but since my big wreck back in my late teens, I've been terrified to be around them. Now, to be spending time with them and just hanging out is a special kind of joy. I feel no pressure to be 'doing' anything with them and look forward to working them when it is safe in the snow and riding in the spring. The process of just "being" is healing on it's own.
I am learning more and more to just "BE" in the moment, and my soul craves these quiet moments.
I find I do a lot of reflecting as I work around the horses or take the dogs for a walk around our acreage. Just to watch our now almost 10 year old boy Tank run freely and happily, playing and bouncing around with Lacy, barking at the grey jays or squirrels is another quiet joy. Another chance to enjoy and be in the now. To be at peace. To be grounded. To be grateful. To be able to enjoy feeding my soul with these simple pleasures on a daily basis.