Tuesday, September 08, 2009

the brave and happy life

Happiness comes more from loving than being loved; and often when our affection seems wounded it is only our vanity bleeding. To love, and to be hurt often, and to love again -- this is the brave and happy life.

-J.E. Buchrose

The phrase "brave and happy life" sticks with me. I'm not sure what I have to say about it here, but it sounds like the kind of life I'd like to live.

This morning after equine breakfasts I put Salina, Rafer Johnson, and Redford into their stall and paddock area so I could have the barn aisle free for chores. It was a cool morning, but I'm still turning on the fans out of habit and I like having them on when I muck.

I've developed a routine of cleaning out Salina's stall first, while they're all eating (she eats in the middle stall, which I think of as the donkeys' stall, and the donkeys eat in the barn aisle) so that when she and the donkeys are done they can move into the clean stall with the paddock and I can have the barn aisle free to do the rest of my chores.

Usually I muck, clean out the hay manger, de-web with a damp broom, and then serve hay.

After I move Salina and the donkeys over, I shift to the opposite side of the barn and start with whichever of the geldings finish first. As they finish up, I let them into their paddock and move on with the stalls.

Cody generally gets moved out of his stall during the summer days so I try to get him set up first, with his stall door closed so he can lie down for a nap and munch his hay without needing to pay attention to his back door.

Periodically I let Keil Bay come into the barn aisle with me, with the barn doors open to the big barnyard so he can saunter in and out. I don't know why he loves this so much, but he takes great joy in grazing the barnyard, snacking on the round bale, and then marching into the barn aisle to check in with me. His comings and goings create a nice rhythm to the work, and when I'm done I can either tack him up and ride or groom/check his feet/etc. before letting him back into his stall/paddock.

The only bravery associated with the morning was the management of a black widow spider. Otherwise it was one more happy day with the horses. (and of course, the donkeys too!)


Maddy said...

"I don't know why he loves this so much, but he takes great joy in..."
The very first thought that came to mind when I read the post is perhaps "he loves this so much" because in his very own way, Keil Bay is "brave".
Animals are unencumbered by the vanity that makes us "bleed".
They "take joy"in the present moment and so can we.
Very nice thought provoking post. Thank you.


billie said...

Maddy, I was thinking about this more after posting it last night, and it hit me that of course the bravery of yesterday's morning was in opening to its joy.

Because we have an older horse, a Corgi with cancer, and an older cat with a seizure disorder, I am reminded regularly, if not daily, that attachment is a risky business. But what would be left without it?

Matthew said...

Yes, we definitely have more than our share of black widows!

billie said...

I think so too!

ponymaid said...

Billie, yours is such a civilized world. We are banned from the barn when Herself is doing chores, except in the dead of winter when we have our hay in the aisle and access to all three stalls. Jack and I are very brave - we have to be, given the miserly temperament that rules our every minute. How are my dear nephews? Still bearing (or donkeying) up?

billie said...

Sheaffer, the nephews are fine. They are incredibly helpful when I'm doing chores, as they come in and check each stall as I go, usually leaving me with some little pile of something or other to add to my wheelbarrow. :)

This morning they were running like crazy in the grass paddock, enjoying the 60-something morning, and waiting on breakfast, which is a favorite part of the day for all the equines.

One day I will get a video of the quite impressive "spin and win" technique of taking control of another equine's feed tub.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Just from reading your blog religiously I can tell that all your animals and family bask in the glow of happiness each day.

As for bravery, well black widows are nasty little spiders but I'm sure you were very brave in dealing with her.

billie said...

Arlene, we try! :)

That you read here religiously is a high compliment indeed. Thank you.

Michelle said...

The description of the morning's events brought a smile to my face. I always loved the quiet peacefulness of barn chores, surrounded by horses munching hay, and the routine of it all. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

billie said...

You're welcome, Michelle - it's funny with this crew. It can be very loud and slightly frenzied as they wait for their tubs. But then it does get very quiet and you can feel the absorption and the contentment as they eat. It's one of my favorite things.