“Through thick, thin and some horse sh*t!: Ed Williamson Photography
This picture right here and the title that Ed gave it are a pretty good summary of our event yesterday. We dealt with extreme winds and cold, several falls, our first major injuries at Avalon in a lonngggg time, mud, equipment breaking, tears, fears, and more. Through all of it there were hugs, laughter, support, trust, magical moments, bravely saying yes in spite of the fear, and the outstanding love that seems to permeate everything at Avalon. It is a day that I will not soon forget and I believe many of us will look back on in future years saying “Remember the Spring Mini Event of 2018. Wow was it a doozy.”
From the very beginning of Avalon 10 1/2 years ago, I have felt a connection so deep to the land, the people, and the horses (all the creatures really) that words are inadequate to explain what it feels like to me to be the caretaker. I try over and over again, and will try again now, but when I read the words that pour out of my heart they are never enough. It’s similar to when I try to explain to my kids what they mean to me. How does one communicate a love and sense of responsibility that seems to be boundless? I don’t really know.
Avalon and its’ community of creatures and humans is not just my job. It goes so, so far beyond a job. Each and every living, breathing thing at Avalon is MINE. Every person who drives into this sacred space. Every horse who roams our fields. Every deer who wanders in. Every cat and dog that calls us home. Every child who lights up the farm with their joy. Every parent who wanders around, bemused that this is their life, trying to understand the unwavering love their child has for a horse. Every bird who flits around singing their songs for us all. Every person who comes to Avalon and finds a space to breathe a little deeper. Every tree and flower that makes me smile. All of it is MINE. I stand at the center of it all, filled with love and wonder, that this has been given to me in my life.
Every joy; every frustration; every injury; every brave choice; every goal reached; every dream realized – all of these are part of the emotional swirling I feel each and every time I am at Avalon. It is an honor and a gift that I feel these things and get to experience it all. It is also a struggle for me at times to remember to allow these things to flow around me and through me without allowing them to get stuck inside of me. The last 5-7 weeks, with yesterday especially, have provided me more opportunities to realize that caretaker I may be, but responsible for everything and anything that happens I am not. My sense of responsibility and driving need to create the safest, most open, most healthy situations possible for all events and occurrences can wreck havoc on me. Combine that with one of the most challenging winters/springs we’ve had and oohwee can I do a number on myself. It is an active part of my learning path right now to learn how to love myself as fiercely as I do all around me. And more importantly, to learn that all I can do is the best I can do and ultimately very little is in my control. To think that I am responsible for all things that go wrong is a self-damaging lie that I must stop believing.
Every event we hold at Avalon, be it big or small, I stand in awe of the bravery I witness. I don’t know what impresses me more, the bravery of the riders or the bravery of the loved ones who watch them ride. Yesterday was a day filled with WARRIORS! It was a day of hearts lodging in our throats and saying YES anyway. It was a day of constantly shifting puzzles and problem solving. It was a day of seeking joy and goodness in the midst of the chaos. It was a day of being willing to say “No, it isn’t okay right now. But I know, somehow, it will be.” It was a day of the community rallying together with a speed and efficiency that is awesome to behold. It was a day of staying committed to continuing even with the cold and chaos. It was a day of love for each other and the horses who bind us together. It was a day that makes me proud of all that we are.
(I wrote this musing to my community at the horse farm I own/manage on Monday about our first horse event of 2018 we held on Sunday. It was 35 degrees and a day of many challenges.)