I’ve been trying to sit with the sadness this summer. The unexpected loss of a dear friend who took his life. The upcoming first anniversary of my mom’s death. The absence of my husband, who has been travelling too much and working too hard. The frustrations of learning to work with new computer programs and video cameras – poking me with reminders of how I’m getting older and can’t afford to be out-of-date.
Like a lifeline, my horses thread through each day, greeting me warmly with their “nmm, nmm’s” each morning, watching me drive off and come home like two concerned sentinels at my gate. At night, when I crawl into bed, I hear them through the open window, stirring and making comforting noises in the barn like the lyrics of a lullaby on top of the noisy chorus of peepers and locusts chirping.
There have been plenty of gifts too. I’ve made strong new friendships with the young people and other amazing, kind souls at Blue Star Equiculture. I’ve discovered a beautiful web of women artists, many of them in their ‘80’s, who have a talent and passion for rug hooking and are eager for me to film them and share their art with the world. Through Paul and Pamela Rickenbach Moshimer, we have met Grandmother Nancy Andry, an elder, storyteller and skilled horsewoman, who lives right around the corner from us and has re-connected us with Native American culture and wisdom. All the years that we were in California, we had Native American friends who graciously shared their beliefs and traditions with us, but we had lost that connection when we moved to the East Coast. Now, through Paul’s urging, we have re-kindled it.
When Grandmother Nancy came to our house for the first time, my husband took her up on the hill above the barn to the cedar grove. There is an old stone altar and a ring of stones that is buried in the earth. She told us that she thinks it was the site of a moon lodge created by a small group of natives of the Algonquin tribe who lived in this area. The moon lodge is where the women gathered to rest and teach their wisdom. No men were allowed. At the time of a woman’s menses, she would go there to honor the last cycle of the moon, gain strength from Mother Earth and talk to her sisters and elders. It was a way to revitalize herself. It makes sense to me.
Later in the summer, on Saturday, August 22, Grandmother Nancy will be doing storytelling for children and families, spending time with the big horses and enjoying the magic of Blue Star. I hope that you will be able to join all of us. More details will follow. We believe in the good things coming.