What a wonderful journey this has been since we have made Colorado our home. I have painted more than I ever thought physically possible for so many years. I have since summer been painting our beloved wild mustangs. I am learning more about them, of them, and the needs for them. The more I paint them, the more of them I want to paint. It has become my addiction. I consider it a favorable one at that, lol. The problem, like any addiction, it can consume you if your not careful. My desire to paint the wild ones, has turned to now want to be with the wild ones. To connect with the wild ones. To bond and belong with the wild ones. Oh, dont you fret...I still have my wits about me! Though I am loving the road I am on, it has its ups and downs, its glory and its crowns.
In our time here I have met a wonderful friend (and another addicted horse lover, hehe) Gabriele Moritz. She is in the throws of fulfilling her addiction. I joined her a few weeks ago to make the drive to Canon City to pick up her little mealy mouthed bay gelding. I didnt get to make it to the corrals where the masses are housed, as we brought 'Shawnee' her trusted long friend, her pooch. Unfortunately Shawnee could not beg her way in, so I accepted the 'sitting' out to baby sit the pooch while Gabriele and photographer Lourie Zipf made thier way to the holding corrals to pick up her mustang. This is all started with the 'Extreme Mustang Makeover' competition. Gabriele (nearing 60) took the challenge to submit her application to train and compete in this summers Makever. This is an event to help promote the wild mustang and thier viability as a wonderful working horse and companion. She was accepted, and so there the journey began.
I anxiously awaited until I could see the trailer behind the truck coming down the road to home. As they drove in the parking lot, I couldnt wait to peek inside and see this wild thing, this living legend, this representation of what I have been passionately painting the last several months.
Finally she put on the brakes and I immediatly jumped on the back of the trailer to take a look see. What I saw were the biggest 'doe' eyes you could ever imagine on a horse. Cautious, pretentious eyes looking back at me, wondering where the road would lead to now. Known as #900, he stretched his neck and nose toward my hand at the rail on the trailer. My first encounter with a wild one.
We made our way homeward, I considered it a good day in its end. No injuries, no accidents, actually pretty calm for all expected. #900 was unloaded and joined with one of Gabrieles other spanish mustangs for moral support.
And here lies the beginning of a new journey, a new passion, and a greater addiction than one could imagine. Within the week, I had my first opportunity to make physical contact with this little mealy mouth wild mustang. It was a quiet moment on the outside, but on the inside...a rumbling....
...'The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes...(John 3:8)
This was part of my morning facebook post. When I sit here at the computer the window faces the back pasture and I can watch the horses as I work. I am always amazed at how horses and other animals 'respond' to the wind. And so...it had me thinking this morning...
'How have I responded to the wind'?
Not always gracefully, haha. Sometimes I am like my horses, who when the wind blows and bellows through the pasture they take off and run much like the wind, trying to escape it, or stay in step with it. We know horses are much in tune with thier 'senses', more so than we are. We are so dependant on what we see, hear and touch. But horses and other animals have developed a keen ability to 'sense' what is in 'the wind'.
In the past I can say that when the winds blew, I have not always responded to them in a way that was the most productive. And, when I needed to perhaps 'run' with the winds and let them carry me, there have been times that I have hidden behind the cleft of a rock to escape my percieved brutality of them.
And so...I am more conciencious than ever to 'discern' and 'respond' to the winds as they bellow and blow in life. To discern the importance of 'hiding behind the cleft of the rock, and escaping for safety sake. Or...is it a time to discern the direction they blow and run with them to take advantage of the ground that can be covered as they push me forward in motion...
There have been times where I literally see the horses standing in the brunt of the force of the wind, just standing and being still. And I always wonder, why dont they just get out of the path of the wind, go to the barn, hunker down and wait for them to pass. To this day I still dont completely understand why a horse will stand in what seems the brutality of a wind, when they have the place of escape. It makes me wonder, they choose to respond in different ways to the wind. The response is never 'the same'.
Make me more like the horse, make me more sensitive and discerning of the wind that blows. Confirm in me, when its time to run, time to hide, and time to stand still and feel the force of its power.
In recent days I have reconnected with a lost friend from our days in South Carolina. One of the beauties of Facebook, is getting reconnected across the years and miles. In reconnecting with this friend, I have been reflecting on the changes that have come and gone in those years that have passed to present. We were in the later stages of fore-running a coffee house/concert hall outreach to the community, it was an all consuming work, inspired with great passion to reach young people. I find it interesting how our passions can consume us and get us so busy 'doing' that we forget to 'be'. In my days of connecting with this friend, this was the 'mode of operation' I was in for so long. They never really got to know the 'me' that 'be's' rather than the 'me' that 'did'. Am I making sense to any of you out there?
In 'those days' I was lost in the work of 'doing' rather than 'being'. I didn't paint for about 10-12 years during those 'doing' years, and honestly when I finally did pick up a paint brush and begin the journey of 'being' again, it was a bit frightening. The idea of 'relaxing' in 'being'...was such a foreign mindset for me. For the last 14 years I had allowed myself to become a 'doer', losing the essence of just 'being'. If this isnt making sense to you yet, let me try a little harder to explain...
There are things we are created to 'be', and there are things we create to 'do'. None of it is wrong, but it isnt always necessarily right. I was created to 'create'. The gifting was deposited in me somewhere between conception and about 8 years old. Unsure, but that isnt the point, the point is that there is a gifting that was such a part of my 'being' from the time I was a child to present, that in the 'doing' I lost all sense of 'being'.
I dont know why it takes some of us longer to come to an understanding of accepting 'being' instead of striving through our 'doings'. But for me personally, I seemed to be on a mission of 'doing' rather than 'being' for years. In my journey of what I call 'healing heart hurts' from 'who knows where exactly'...I have finally entered the interstate of 'being' rather than 'doing'. I have accepted and welcomed 'who I am'. A huge statement from a compulsive 'doer'.
Its a place I have welcomed in my heart, my life. Its a place that I have learned to 'value'. I have learned to accept who I am without 'doing', but rather 'being'. In this I have found a greater joy and passion in what I 'do' as 'I am'. (I love the word play here, lol) Things are less complicated, things are simpler, there is less striving, more relaxing as I 'do' what I was created to 'be'.
Life is different here for us as we have made our transition to Colorado. Life is different because we are different. I am different. I have learned over the years to be at peace with 'being' rather than 'doing'. Now to confuse the word play a little more...Its not that I dont 'do'...but its an effortless outflow of me 'being' rather than the work of 'doing'.
So back to the reconnecting with the friend...in my time in relationship I had not painted that I can recall even one painting. In reconnecting, my friend has had the opportunity to meet me in a way that was nearly impossible before. I am more me now, then I have ever been. Now, in the effortless attempts of 'being', my friend is reconnecting to who I really am, not just someone who 'does'. I am more honest in my relationship now than ever as the pretense of engagement is simply 'being' rather than the 'doing'.
In some regards I feel like I am breathing again, I have tapped into who I am like never before. My passion for horses is more alive than when I was a child, my creativity is being tapped into like a well gone dry that has sprung fresh water. I am thankful for the land of 'doing' as without living in that land for a season of my life, I may not have had the longing and desire to search for more...finding 'being' much more natural in daily rythm and definetly more lifegiving.
Cip, my husband and I took a drive to Estes Park CO yesterday. It was a wonderful day as I packed a picnic lunch and we just reminiced from our honeymoon a few months over 25 years ago. I was overwhelmed the same yesterday as I was then with the beauty of the mountain range. 25 years ago, I was 'being'...I was painting and creating, somewhere that part of me was lost for years. The journey of 'reclaiming' who I am, and learning to 'be' rather than 'do' has been a rough haul. I feel like I have come full circle in some sense, though I know I haven't arrived yet either. There is still much work to do within this heart of mine, but strides have been taken that have become the proving ground of good change.
On our way home yesterday my husband shared some insightful reminders that were encouraging to affirm that he see's the fruit of my 'being' rather than 'doing'. It was good to hear, sometimes we forget how far we have come until someone points it out to us.
The air was brisk the day before we left for Estes Park. I watched the horses in the pasture, Belle leaping on her daddy, Liberty, and them bucking, running and playing in the chilled morning air. They were 'being' who they have been created 'to be'. It was a gentle reminder as I watched them frolicking through the pasture together.
I encourage you, just 'be'.
5 months, thats the time that has passed since we made our transition to Colorado.
There was so much transition in those early months of our arrival here. We pulled in the driveway after an arduous 4 day haul from the east coast with my husband driving the budget rental truck with car in tow, and me in the pick up hauling our 3 dogs and cats. Our horses were left behind in the care of friends while waiting for the hauler to pick them up 2 weeks later. Those 3 weeks of empty pasture were gentle reminders of the reality of our transition. We made preparations and waited patiently with weekly phone calls to check on our two loved horses until thier time of departure to meet us and complete our 'family'.
The morning finally arrived early in TN for their journey to begin. We got the phone call and I started praying from that time for them to have ease in the transition that would follow. I often wonder what goes through a horses mind...here they are eating grass in pasture they have declared home for months at a time, and all of a sudden thier caretakers up and dissapear on them. No more hugs, familiar whistles and affection from the hands that have been thier provision from birth.
The truck drivers arrive and they slip the halters on thier heads and lead them up a ramp into a semi-truck loaded with other 'rider's'. The look on Belle's face from pictures recieved pretty much draws a picture of whats going through her mind. So for the next 4 days they ride day and night making new aquaintances in the trailer stalls next to them.
From there, they arrive in Colorado Springs, unloaded by 'new' hands again into a barn and stalls that have been frequented by a number of prior 'visitors'. I can imagine thier noses were going crazy with new smells and ears flicking with new noises. I wonder, were they looking for us, listening for the whistle that had grown so familiar?
And then, 4 days later...they are loaded back onto the truck, with a new host of friends for a 10 hour ride to thier final destination. Clueless I am sure, wondering where they were headed now, and where they would land when it all came to a stop. It was midnight when the truck pulled up to the driveway off the road. The drivers left the engine running and jumped down from his seat to open the doors. My husband and I stood anxiously outside the ramp, trying to eye our beloved horses in the dark trailer. I could see Liberty and Belle haltered to thier 'stations'. They looked weary, and unsure of what was going to happen next. Liberty stretched his neck across to the horse in front of him and they nosed each other as if saying goodbye, and Liberty almost seemed to be affirming him that all would be well. Tears were coming down my face as I saw our 'babies' after a long 31/2 weeks of seperation. Liberty came right down the ramp, eyes wide trying to percieve in the dark where he was. I don't think even then he realized who he was standing next to as Cip took his lead from his halter and held him waiting for Belle to make her way down the ramp. She wasnt quiet as anxious to leave, it took a little coaxing to get her to come down. More wide eyes full of fright not being able to see in the dark either, not sure of the voices she was hearing, but some familiarity at the same time.
So we bid the drivers a farewell as they left to deliver more loved ones to Montana that early morning. As we walked Liberty and Belle up through the pasture to the barn, I could sense thier weariness. It had been a long haul, a long week, and another long day of riding. So we got them to the barn, Liberty's legs were trembling from the exhaustion of the trip, his eyes looked so tired. We fed them good to begin to fill in thier ribs where the road trip had worn thier stamina and stolen some of thier body fat. They nickered as we bid them goodnight. We stood just outside the barn and listened to them as they chewed the hay and began thier new life with us in Colorado.
The next morning we went early to the barn to find them more awake and responsive to us. They remembered who we were, the whistles, the rubs and the familiar voices and hugs. We took a long walk around and through the pasture to welcome them to thier new home. I was so happy to have them, we were a family again, a complete unit.
After walking the pasture, we turned them loose and they cantered across to investigate thier new home. Liberty took a good roll in the sand, at which point tears fell from my face again, to see him be a horse, a happy horse, brought much joy and point of closure to a season of transition for all of us. After his roll in the sand, he trotted over to the fence line, and stood and gazed at the horizon for a half hour. Just looking at the mountains. I stood there with him and we just nuzzled and took deep breaths, wondering, dreaming of what was on the horizon for the future.
If you have never spent much time with a horse, this may all seem like nonsense to you. But horses have so many similarities in spirit and heart as we do. The more time you spend with them, the more you begin to understand how they think, what they think. The days that followed were days of re-connecting and bonding. I will always cherish those times as we walked together unbridled in the pasture and napped in the sun resting and regaining strength from the journey we had all just completed.
A new season ahead. New vision, new horizons to travel. A new maturity attained in our horses from being well seasoned over the last year of events. A new trust developed in relationship with them towards us, that even when it seemed uncertain, we were still 'with them, and for them'.
And so here we are, 5 months into our journey. I am riding Liberty our 4 year old, and Belle our 2 year old. The way they are responding to us as we continue training them is remarkable. The affection they hold for us is tender to the heart. They have learned that we can be trusted. They have learned that they can depend on us. This is the foundation of our remarkable beginnings, it will only get better from here.
And so the moral of this story...haha, there is always a deeper truth in the things we experience. The future is ahead. The past is behind. The lessons have been hard, but learned. We can trust our 'caretaker' Creator God. He is ever watching out for us, caring for us, providing for us, nurturing our hearts, even when with all good reason, for appearances sake, it seems we have been forsaken. He is there, leading, guiding, loving us with a whole heart, anxiously awaiting...our arrival.
You can visit my website to see an Original Oil painting that I have completed and titled 'New Horizons' from this story. Visit the web at http://www.runninghorses.weebly.com/
And remember...even when you think you have been left forsaken...He is planning, purposing for your future.
Oil on Canvas
This is my 'boy' Liberty. His posture remained for a good half hour, just taking in all that had transitioned over the last few months, and finally, coming to closure.
A new beginning.
After being 'consulted' by a good friend...It has been recommended that I move my blog to my website, Hm...who'da thunk it! And so...it begins...I have posted two particular blogs from my previous blog address as they were the beginnings of our journey here. So...enjoy my Ramblings!
Owner/Artist of Running Horses Studio