• vslachman

Right Where You Are

My friend Jim Lindsey is a wonderful poet and photographer who lives in a wild and windy Nova Scotian coastal town. I've known him for many, many decades. Lately we've been corresponding more frequently. I've been nourished daily by his beautiful photos which capture the "Granite Coast," as he calls it, in vivid detail.

Jim mentions that lobsters favor fresh food, so these lobstermen discard old, rancid, spoiled bait which the gulls love. He comments it's "a very natural generosity and one to be remarked upon and contemplated . . . something possible, that can be done and is done and contributes to the spirit of richness in a place."

"You don't have to have lots of money to experience this kind of richness." Jim Lindsey.
Dorian and Simon, who has the stall next to his.

I learned a similar lesson in continuing to help Dorian through his recovery. He's now stalled next to Lucy on one side and Simon on the other. Lucy shares a paddock with Dorian which necessitates his stall door being closed because Lucy would choke if she got into Dorian's stall and ate his hay (she's on pasture only).

I had hoped that Dorian could be turned out in Lucy's lovely large pasture. Dorian LOVES to be on pasture, and having a friend out there would be his version of heaven.

But his recovery needs a bit more time before he can be turned out into such a large area. So . . . standing in a closed stall was apparently the only option for him. Horses don't do well in that environment, and that's especially true of Dorian. His legs swell and he gets in a very bad mood if left alone and confined for periods of time.

This is the pasture he'd share with Lucy, though this was last summer.

I emailed the barn owner and she made arrangements for Dorian to get turned out in Goldie's stall and walk-out paddock during the day. So he was shuffled there those days that the other horse who shares Goldie's paddock was turned out. Days that didn't happen, Dorian was back in solitary confinement in his stall.

Horse thrive on a regular routine, and generally dislike being moved from one place to another, having to get used to new horses. So . . . the situation was not optimum.

Then another complication, and Dorian was sent to a different stall, this one next to Chance, a cute Fox Trotter he was turned out with last summer--so at least they knew each other.

Sleepy Dorian and Goldie. He really loves her :)

But the inconsistency for Dorian was distressing. I felt stressed, pretty disoriented myself, and self-castigating for not being better able to control things for him. My agitation about it all got worse and worse.

But . . . there was a greater control at work, one I simply wasn't seeing.

My friend Jim's quote about richness came to mind one night as I looked at his photos. I didn't feel rich or blessed. More like I'd be thrown the lobstermen's rancid cast-offs while the really great things were given to others.

I was in a comical self-pitying funk, looking back on it all.

A photo I took at Notre Dame--kinda how I felt :)

Thank goodness, the next morning, out of the blue, a rush of understanding overtook me. Once at the barn I saw that, unlike me, Dorian didn't seem stressed at all. In fact, he was bright-eyed and a little sassy. As I led him to Chance's paddock, I realized he had SO many new friends now! Simon, Lucy, Goldie (his beloved), and Chance.

As I watched Goldie come to the stall window as we passed and nicker at Dorian I also realized that both Goldie and Chance had been alone in their smallish paddock before Dorian's arrival. Now they had Dorian to hang out with! And German mentioned Dorian and Chance play all day now that they're turned out together. All the horses had been blessed in what the night before had seemed to me so negatively confining.

Right where Dorian was, he was given the riches of friendship he hadn't had before. And I also realized that, in the course of our days at the barn, so many people asked me how he was doing. Judy had leant me her equine light pad, Cheryl had provided her bareback pad. And so many boarders who were trying to train in the indoor arena were consistently making room for me to work Dorian on the lunge line at the trot. Generosity and so much concern and care were show to us both.

I felt a rush of gratitude, too, for the owners of the horses being turned out and the horses Dorian was now spending his days with. They'd paid for the stall for their horses, not to house their horses and Dorian. Many, many people had been gracious and generous to us both--how had I not seen that before?

And Dorian's progress was remarkable. The first photo above is from 11/24, and the second one was from 1/19--his body condition is close to normal. Healing! Progress!

So I finally realized that right where we are what my friend Jim calls "natural generosity" and goodness abound. It took me a while to see that, but I'm committed to being more consciously aware and more actively grateful for how much love surrounds us the next time. Right where we are.

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