I went to our Post Office Box yesterday afternoon (Post Office Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816), it is a magical box often filled with sparking jewels of feeling and communication from everywhere. Bedlam Farm has a long arm now, it reaches far and wide. Yesterday was no exception, there was a photo and letter from an old online and blog friend, once known as Cheryl-By-The-Sea, now known as Cheryl-In-The-Mountain since she moved to the mountains of Oregon. She and Maria are good pals, I gather. Maria has more friends than Red, it is a joy to see how many other people lover her too.
Cheryl Brondstatter may think she is a stranger, but in fact she is a familiar and very valued friend. I have been seeing her e-mail and messages for years, always loving and wise and supportive. As she put it, "my retirement date and your blog were born the same day seven years ago I am one of the thousands of "orphans" who call Bedlam Farm 'HOME,' checking in every day for our dose of balance, spirit, and a never-ending love story."
Cheryl has been following my writing about the New York Carriage Horses and while she says her bones are too thin to ride any longer, she is awed by the ancient connections people have with horses.
"Yesterday," she wrote, "I gave myself an afternoon off from home chores and spent hours puttering through an antique/collectibles store in town. What stories these places hold! When I came across this very old photo of another "John and his pony," (the inscription on the back of the photo) something about it made me think of you. Perhaps it's the determined facial expression or his ease astride the back of a beautiful companion. It spoke to me of your dedication to working animals everywhere."
Cheryl asked me to forgive an unsolicited photo from a complete stranger, but there is nothing to forgive, of course, and Cheryl-In-The-Mountain is no stranger at all. She has walked the long walk with me, and seems to know me as well or better than I know myself. That she thinks well of me after all that she has read and seen of me is humbling. There might be hope for me yet.
"You speak our truths," Cheryl wrote, "your voice echoes from many hilltops and valleys, coast to coast. May you continue the good works with words that so many of us ordinary folks cannot articulate as eloquently." And then she added, "P.S. I love your wife too! – You are a lucky man."
Cheryl, you are no slouch with words, your voice echoes from my heart right up to my brain, how touched I am you saw John and his pony and thought of me. He does look a bit determined and opinionated, for sure. He seems to know where he might be going. And I am a lucky man, I remind myself of it a dozen times a day. You are too generous to me, but as my blog enters it's eight anniversary this coming Memorial Day, I see that I have collected some of the most meaningful, loyal and loving friendships of my life. John and his Pony will sit astride my computer for a good long while, and I thank you, Cheryl-Of-The-Mountain, for reading me, thinking of me, and sending me that photo. I am happy to have it.
People so inclined can write us at Post Office Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.
I thank you for your love, your own spirit and passion for life, your curiosity and passion for the creatives spirit. And I thank you for hanging in there with me. I'm just getting started, as I suspect you are.