A summer storm

13 05 2018

Meadow 2

As the evenings linger longer, I love being with the horses in the summer meadow. There’s a feeling of space and quiet here that refreshes my mind and allows all the thinking of days that seem to get busier to simply drop away. Just a half hour in the meadow, listening to the horses swishing through the long reedy grass, the drowsy bumble of bees and the bright notes of the skylarks spiralling into the blue, returns me to a more balanced and peaceful place.

It took me a long time to realise that looking after horses could be so natural and calming. In the early days, I would wake with a feeling of knotted anxiety as I drove up to the yard, convinced that today would be the day that I would have to call the vet for an emergency. I mentally prepared myself for all the incidents that could have happened in the night, such as a horse getting trapped in a corner of the stable and not being able to get up, or an eye pierced by a rusty nail I had missed removing with my claw hammer, or a gust of wind taking off the roof, leaving the horses exposed and shivering from cold. None of this happened. It was all in my imagination and in the early days, my imagination concocted such lurid dreams of disaster, I was convinced they had to be true. Unbelievably, I was sometimes disappointed when I arrived to find all was well.

Around a year into looking after my two fine-coated, highly sensitive Arabian horses, I received one of many life lessons that helped to shift my thinking. A summer storm broke in the early hours, and I was immediately awake, pulling on my jeans and boots in the dark, dashing for the car in torrential rain, blaming myself for not checking the forecast and putting on waterproof rugs even though it was July.

I drove like crazy, wipers on full, barely able to breathe as I clung onto the steering wheel, imagining the horses soaked and terrified. As I got out of the car, aluminium jagged lightening split the sky. Heart racing, thoughts tumbling in my mind, I ran to the field, climbed over the gate and another thunderbolt shook everything. In the metallic flash, I saw the horses with their backs up against a hedge looking into the spectacular theatre show of light and rain and noise. They were soaked and warm and perfectly quiet and still. They looked at me in wonderment, surprised I had come for them so early, and in that moment a whole layer of misunderstanding fell away.

“Right there in the uncertainty of everyday chaos is our wisdom mind.”

Pema Chodron

In the middle of the storm, we can find a point of calm, a place of deeper understanding. Indeed, the storms can show up what it is we need to see. Mental health awareness is having the courage to see what we need to see unflinchingly. When we know that we need not turn away from any experience because that experience is an opening for us, we can compassionately use whatever life gives us. And in this knowing, there is peace and freedom.




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