A long walk is shortened with the right shoes, just like a high obstacle is manageable with a small step.
This week I was gifted with what I have christened as the ‘four wheel drive’ of wellies. As light as a feather with fleece lined comfort. My toes have never been so happy since they got acquainted with ‘The Swampmaster’: a short and cute welly that probably won’t turn heads!! Until they came into my life, wading through the muck in some fields had me repeating the same defeating mantra, ‘I can’t do this anymore’. ‘This’ being lifting bales of hay and being sucked into the muck with wellies unfit for purpose. My new wellies have literally put a ‘spring in my step’.
It was a week of gifts: a beautiful mounted photo of myself and Rian, a foal that has imprinted on many hearts including mine. Saving him became a priority when his soft personality became evident. He was his mommy’s boy unable for the sulky but we got him to heaven! So grateful to my friend who sent me this amazing gift.
And then there was a surprise gift of Buddha Jeans. Sometimes you love how they are given to you as much as the gift itself. There I was pouring hayledge over a fence along a busy road covered in muck and the constant ‘just out of hay’ hair. A lovely friend of mine jumped out of her car ‘picture perfect’ and waved my gifts in the air. Of course the two ponies stopped eating their hayledge at the prospect of there being something in it for them. And as she handed me my new and very shiny jeans, I pictured where I would go with them as I mindfully kept an eye on a pony who might just jump a fence for Buddha Jeans and chocolates.
Another special person made me a card with various pictures of horses along with meaningful and poignant words. Inside were scratch cards that remain unscratched: I just don’t feel lucky enough yet!
This week it felt like it takes buckets of kindness to dilute a cup of badness. I felt the full concentration of that cup this week. It nearly took away from the generosity of friends who gave up so much this Valentine’s Day to buy hay – but you can’t let it. Since October, I have lifted nearly 1000 bales along with a well of water. A lot donated with loving kindness by people who care. Lots of people care!
So, back to my step. My purple step. To get to the donkeys I feed, I have to climb a fence with bales of hay. So to make this daily climb easier, I bought a baby step for the other side. Today it disappeared. It didn’t meet the same fate of my first step placed here: it was broken into pieces and the wooden remains were thrown back to the roadside of the fence. You know sometimes it’s not what happens that hurts the most; it’s people’s intent. Some people don’t want me feeding animals that are starving. Protecting their owner is their priority. Soon, there will be a replacement step installed that won’t be going anywhere. Thanks to a friend who has promised me this. I’m sure the promise was made in the same way you hand a tissue to a person in tears: to stop them from falling.
My mother always asked me to strive for a simple life: a life where you had just enough of what you need; a life with little stress, uncomplicated, and with someone who would love me (probably as much as she did!) The more I go into rescue work, the more I feel simplicity is becoming out of my reach. There is more stress than I ever imagined I could cope with and if there aren’t complications – well you are probably not rescuing!
So in an effort to chase simplicity for a moment in my feeding/rescue world, I went out to feed the horses at 2am the other night. Just me and them, at the various gates. Simply beautiful. There was a calmness and stillness that seemed to cloak us all together. With less traffic and people spectating, you get to just ‘be’ with them. You can nearly hear their unspoken words! Everything seemed simple again.
Yes, rescue and feeding work is stressful, but, with the right shoes, the right mentality, everything is manageable and yes, there are those golden moments, where your mind and heart sync, where the shared words are ‘isn’t it worth it?’
It is worth it all and more. Decades ago, in a far off ‘other life’, I remember being in a competition and someone said to me, just say you love animals and they will love you! I had no animals in my life and loving one seemed alien at the time. I still used the rehearsed words, ‘I love animals’. Just glad I wasn’t asked for names of pets!!
Today, I love animals, and the magnetic pull is unbreakable! I adore the animals I wake up to everyday and the ones waiting at gates for me and the hay of course.
Yes, life became more stressful with rescue work! But it’s a small price you pay for the complete and fulfilling feeling of purpose. Besides, I’ve never slept so well. Whether that comes from complete exhaustion or contentment – well it just depends on the day!
So, today I cried because someone took my step. . . but there will be another one put in its place. One man angrily takes away what another man gives back with kindness.
Thanks to Linda, Pascal and Wilma who have literally got me from A to B in the last few days! x