A lot of time has passed since I last wrote on here. So many things have happened.
A few days ago I backrode with a boy named Lance, who is such an outpouring of joy I sometimes feel like my life no longer belongs to me when I am with him; that we are simply taken by something else in the time he spends with us. He’s started turing around in the saddle and saying “HUG!” and throwing his arms around my neck and squeezing, with his eyes turned back and looking into mine. From an autist, this is such a huge gift. We go into the woods and call out the names of every animal we can think of, and pull on the vines as if they are train whistles (whoo! whoo!), and come back to the house with all 4 of us (Lance and I and our two sidewalkers) neighing like horses. This is my life now. What it is for.
Last month when I backrode for the first time with this boy, Rupert offered me a job down here. Continental plates colliding. I said yes. Since then, a life has begun to take shape for me at New Trails. And I keep saying yes. First softly and in the spirit of great awe, and then with certainty. Yes and yes and yes. The days are huge and filled with so many things. I sat outside a few nights ago, lay on my back on the round bales of hay in the front yard and talked to a friend on the phone. The stars were big above my head, and the wind- that amazing liquid wind that blows all night all over Texas- was on the move. ‘What’s the difference between this and all that’s come before?’ She asks me. She means all the other 13 hour days I’ve worked, all of the other apprenticeships. ‘How is there no resentment?’ ’Because there’s love here.’ I tell her. ‘And it’s tribe. There isn’t even the faintest hint of hierarchy. We’re all here together, and we would all walk over fire for each other.’
There are other nuances. But the basic cohesion is that. Love. That’s what drives it. That’s what’s behind what happens with the kids here. That and a terrifically rigorous foundation of work that is so precise it slips into the background, becomes the set for the play that unfolds when the kids are here. Because you don’t want it to even look like work, or look like therapy. You want it to feel like play. Play and exploration and adventure and belonging. And that’s what brings Lance’s arms up around my neck, makes his eyes look into mine, what makes the mare who is carrying us transition into an effortless canter and fly us back up to the house- that’s what has landed me here and enabled me, through an offer I cannot refuse, to stay. To make a home in this. It’s magic. Magic and love and a monk’s regime of hard work and dedication. When you look carefully enough they are almost the same. The lines between become transparent, until work dances with love and love dances with work and you are not quite sure who is leading; your own will or the will of the dance; the thing that is larger and greater than you could ever be on your own two wings.
It is still my intention to bring this work up to BC; however, it may be as a clinician and trainer as opposed to founder of a full-time centre. But who knows. Rupert and Iliane have said they would like to have a Horse Boy Centre somewhere on the West Coast of Canada. And I feel that my roots still tie me to the mountains and the rivers of the Sea to Sky. I’ll be returning in September to gather things, sell my car, and ship my horse, and hopefully host a few more movie screenings as well before I pull stakes and head back down to Texas in early October. Those are the bones of the plan; the skeleton that is dancing to the beat of music that plays softer than I can hear.