11 March 2015

Sacred Spirits: The Sanctity Of The Working Animal

Sacred Spirits

Sacred Spirits

There is something sacred about the working animal, this has been seen all through the twisted history of human beings, it has been forgotten only recently. You can not read a spiritual text – the Bible, the Koran, the Kabbalah, Buddhist teachings, and not see the sanctity of the working animal captured and reflected and honored, from. The ancient texts bow to them, thank them, they grace so many of the great paintings of the ancient world, of the Renaissance, their figures sculpted and painted and honored in all of the great museums of the world.

The humble donkey, the strong horse, the human being's great partner through history, in work, in peace and war. The dog and the cow, the sheep and the oxen, the elephant and the goa.  The sled dog and the border collie, the therapy dog and the guard dog. Plato said human beings would never have crawled out of their saves if not for the horse who took them there and the dog who protected them while they slept and helped them find food and the elephants who hauled lumber through forests and jungles.

In our time, we have dishonored ourselves and our own history, so obsessed with work and money and security that we have forgotten these sacred beings and our need for them, and destroyed their habitats and ours. We drive them from our world and pat ourselves on the backs for our virtue and compassion.

Instead of keeping our bargain with them and making sure they survive in our world, we have turned them into piteous and needy versions of children, we exploit them be seeing them as fragile and weak, and we patronize them by emotionalizing them and projecting our troubled minds onto theirs.

Working animals are vanishing all over the world, sent away, confined to animal ghettos, forgotten and trivialized. Watching the horse Tex this Sunday at Blue-Star Equiculture, and watching my border collie Red this morning, I bow to these animals and respect them. I remember that there is hardly a wise man or philosopher or general or great painter in the history of the earth who did not appreciate their loyalty and great hearts and service. I will make it a point to  honor them and remind fickle and selfish human beings what they really mean to us.

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The Big Horses

The Big Horses

The Big Horses

Some of the big horses are old and retired, some are young and learning how to work. Many have been rescued from awful and frightening places. Some are retired New York Carriage Horses, they still have lives of purpose and connection. They are curious, they stare at me, call me over, sniff me and check out my pockets. Some stay with me, say hello to me, others walk on by. i am somewhat awed by them, they are big and beautiful and powerful. I came to Blue-Star for a visit Sunday and announced to everyone that I was not riding on a horse or in a cart, I just wanted to take some photos.

I left knowing that I need to take a ride on a horse and understand more about them.

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The Big Horses And Their Messages

The Message Of The Horses

The Message Of The Horses

How curious life is, not too long ago, the very idea that horses would be sending me messages would have been beyond my comprehension. Now, the horses talk to me often, they touch my heard and remind me to think differently about the world and my role in it. They challenge me to try and speak for them, and for their right to remain in our world at the time of their greatest danger, when they could very well disappear from the sight and consciousness of most human beings for good.

They bring my writing to life and give it purpose, they kiss my conscience and give it new life.

Beyond that, the have messages for Maria as well, in this year of awakening and revelation, I see that they are speaking to both of us, our love and connection for one another has captured their attention, their messages are all about love – the way we treat them, the way we treat one another. These are hard earned lessons for Maria and for me, of course they would find us and call us to them, in different ways, for different reasons.

The big horses are mystical beings, gentle and intuitive and filled with history and magic.

My gift is words, I can reach out beyond my own narrow life and sound my trumpet from my little farm, put my words and my voice to good use.  People are listening, their message is strong. Maria's journey is internal, they are reaching deeper inside of her, calling her to see her own strength and beauty and talent, and to advance her art, her voice to the world. We each speak to the world in different ways, and now, the horses are speaking to us and through us. And we are speaking for them.

Already, they have given me so many gifts. They have given me a new mission, to write about the new awakening for people and animals, a new and wiser understanding of animals and their place in our world. They call on us to treat one another well, and to treat our mutual Mother, the earth well. They have so many messages to share with us, if only we listen.

Tell the truth, they tell me, tell the truth. The truth will make it's own way.

Last summer, I sat with Chief Avrol Looking Horse in Central Park, he told me that the horses had pray for me and asked me to decide where I stand in the world – did I wish to be part of saving it, or part of seeing the planet in ruins?  We are, he said, at that moment, that turning point. We will either see it or not. The horses have called upon me to seek out the truth about them and tell it, to alert the world to the great loss we will all face if they are driven away again, and for the last time. And to understand what it will cost us.

The world is at a crossroads, he writes, it is time for each of us to decide where we want to be in the struggle to save the world, save the animals, and learn how to save one another.

How wondrous at this point in my life to connect in this way with this wonderful animals, I was waiting for it.  i thank Blue-Star Equiculture for this gift. And I thank my good friend Pamela Rickenbach for this message she sent me today, she has seen the way for people and animals, Blue Star is the future for people who love people and animals and wish for them to keep their sacred and ancient connections. I am one of those people. The horses have messages for me, and I imagine, for you as well.

As the Chief told me, all I have to do is listen.

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Chicken Liberation

Chicken Liberation

Chicken Liberation

All three chickens came out today for the first since in many weeks. They could finally see some dirt on the ground and things warmed up a bit. It was very nice to see them pecking around so industriously, as they will do.

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Life Unearthed

Life Unearthed

Life Unearthed

The temperatures were in the 40's yesterday and today – cold weather returns tomorrow – and Spring began to assert herself, life was unearthed. The last day we saw the earth was the day in January when Simon died and was buried, the snow and cold came the next day and stayed. If he had died a day later, we would never have been able to bury him on the farm, I'm not certain how we would have removed his body.

Today, signs of life. We found a mitten buried in January, the sheep figures – brought from the first Bedlam Farm, two very old  garden ornaments – emerged after months of hibernation under tons of snow and ice. We saw some grass and some soil. The farm is a mess, mud, manure and water all mixing together. Mud season seems to be here. Lambs are the purest sign of Spring.

The sunshine and relative warmth has allowed me to take a deep breath and admit that this was a difficult winter for us. My recovery from open heart surgery was very much underway, the farm was under siege from the worst cold I have seen here, and snow covered everything. We could not go outside for long, we spent a lot of time scraping and digging. Our frost-free gave out a few weeks ago, we burned through six cords of firewood for the stoves. Disney World seems like a century ago. We had one busted pipe and there will need to be some roof and gutter repairs.

The stoves performed heroically, the heating oil bills were shockingly low  even though the burner was on much more often than last year. Maria was nothing less than heroic, shoveling every day, chopping at ice, cleaning up manure in -22 temperatures. Many days, the manure had frozen to the ground, each chunk had to be dug out.  I worked alongside of her every single day, that was a beautiful thing. My medical advisers were divided about my shoveling snow, so I cast the deciding vote and did it every day, along with roof raking and cleaning out the barns and hauling hay to the animals. It felt good.

It was too cold to walk for a couple of months, we are happy to be walking again.

Some days, we could not be outside for more than five minutes. Tyler came over several times to help us shovel paths, and to repair them when the wind blew them apart. It was a lot tougher in some other places than here. I think this was the hardest winter I recall for the animals here, they are beginning to relax and seek more attention.  They are getting comfortable again. Red was astounding,  helping us keep order through the drifts and cold and wind. He made our lives easier and safer, I am appreciative of the great hearts and souls of working animals.

We planned well. We still have some firewood left, we have enough hay to get to late April. Vince Vecchio did a fine job plowing the driveway, keeping a lane open for the cars to get out.

I am grateful for Red every day. Some days he hopped up and down, the ground was so cold, he helped us every day.

So time to move along, we will have a messy Spring, lots of mud, water and some floods. We are giving our Manure Mountain to Scott Carrino, who wants it for his vegetable gardens at Pompanuck Farm, it is good stuff. We are planning an expansion of the Dahlia Garden, I am able to dig this summer and am looking forward to it.

For all of it, I loved working with Maria through this winter, she brings light to the coldest and darkest days. We have fun together, really, no matter what. We find ways to laugh and smile and connect to one another.

And I appreciate my heart, it keeps on healing and helping me to return to my life, and then some. Lucky, lucky, lucky, in so many ways.

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