Sunday, January 1, 2017

Shapeshifting into a New Year


These are strange times. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to what 2017 has in store for us, but I’m certainly glad to see this old year pass away.  I’ve crawled into my shell for the last six months, wrestling with intensely painful knee and back pain, the rejection and disloyalty of a close friend, and the chaos and expense of renovating our kitchen. When I woke up this morning and trudged out to the barn to feed the horses, I didn't feel the sense of anticipation and hope that I usually feel on the first day of the year. Looking around me, I thought about how the trees and the rocks and the horses don’t fret about the passing of time or worry about the future the way I do.   I had a short talk with Silk while she ate her breakfast about letting go of my expectations.

The weather has been wreaking havoc in the corrals and pasture.  It rains, then it freezes, creating moon craters and small skating rinks. Often, it’s just too dangerous to let the horses go out anywhere beyond the edges of the barn.  I used to worry that they would get antsy and pent-up from being confined, but recently I’ve noticed that they don’t seem to care at all.  They accept whatever happens, gate closed, gate opened, and don’t go racing around, frantic to move just for the sake of movement, even if it is dangerous.  They know better.

“Maybe it will warm up enough that the ice will melt today and you can go out there,” I said to Silk.  She just kept eating her mash.  She wasn’t concerned about anything except licking every last crumb from her feed bucket.   I took the shovel and carefully navigated the black ice to begin to chop up the skating rink in the middle of the pasture so that I could open the gate for the horses. As I cracked the ice with the edge of the shovel, getting a good workout for my arms and shoulders, I considered the lessons that water teaches us. 

Water reminds me that sometimes it’s good to be a shape-shifter, to open up to change and to let go.  Water is unpredictable, flowing gently, rushing wildly, turning hard and sharp as stone. We humans are mostly water, and water is absolutely essential for all living beings on earth. It is also very endangered, as we are witnessing more and more often.  The recent confrontations at Standing Rock have taught me that women must be the guardians of the water.  The strength of being genuine, allowing our emotions to flow and raising our voices to express what others might be afraid to say makes us powerful as a great river.   I believe that water is connected to our feelings and desires, and it can show us many ways to express ourselves.

One thing that I have absorbed fully into my bones this past year is an appreciation of how inseparable I am from Mother Nature and how we never stop learning from her.  The ice thawed, the horses spent a sunny afternoon in the pasture, wandering through the big puddles and tonight, it will totally freeze up and be a slippery mess again.  But this too shall pass.

8 comments:

Raining Iguanas said...

Strange times indeed but goodness as always will eventually prevail. Giddy up! Happy New Year!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Have a Happy Healthy New Year.

Lori Skoog said...

Victoria! Good to see a post tonight! So sorry that 2016 was not so nice to you. Sounds like everything has happened at once. Is your knee and back pain improving? 4 1/2 years ago I had to have a knee replacement and do not have one regret. I know what you mean about ice/melting/ice. We have some old hay that we keep in the loft and when the weather gets like this we spread a layer in the front paddock so there is some texture for the horses. So far it works very well.

The importance of clean water and it's availability is going to get greater as time goes on. We had a drought here last summer and many homes had NO water at all. Fortunately many of the wells are recovering now. Hang in there. I'll bet you are going to end up with a beautiful kitchen. Happy New Year! Stay healthy....

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks for stopping by to leave me good cheer, Everybody! Happy New Year!

Bonnie said...

Good observations about nature and horses. May this new year find some relief physically for you but I suspect as we continue to age that will be intermittent. I started at midnight unable to walk without my left leg 'shouting' and so I groaned the New Year in while listening to illegal fireworks. :-)

billie hinton said...

Thanks for this perfect reminder as I look out on a field that looks like a pond! I always remind myself that the earth needs water and try not to complain about the ensuing mud/mess that comes with rain and horses. Mine are in the barn today except for the painted Shetland pony who stands out in the rain until he is soaked to the skin. He hates being blanketed, has a fine layer of fat, and after years of trying to keep him dry against his will I have learned to let him Do His Shetland Thing. That's a lesson I could apply to many other scenarios! I'm working on it. Happy New Year to you and your family.

Diane Brown said...

As always, this is poignant & timely post. I am also working through an unexpected rejection of someone cherished for a lifetime but am finding my way back to a different and hopefully, better version of myself.
I love that your girls are still teaching. We all have much to learn.
Be safe, and know you are loved!

aharrismac said...

Love your blog. Lots of interesting horsey things to think about. I’ll be back soon horsesofsweden.com