I saw the first holiday decorations come out a few days before Halloween. I did not burst into a rousing rendition of Here Comes Santa Claus. Christmas is not my holiday.
Thanksgiving is my holiday; low expectations and high reward factors. It is a holiday that is nearly impossible to mess up. Thanksgiving begins a long weekend focused on languishing in the afterglow of a large meal. Comfort food and a nap make being grateful very easy.
Abundance is bliss but even in a bad year we know things could be worse and back-fall into being grateful. The Thanksgiving miracle is awareness- always the precursor to gratitude.
Too many times Thanksgiving feels like a speed bump between Halloween and Christmas and this year I have decided to fight back. This year the plastic Santa on the roof is going to be replaced by a turkey. It’s going up early and staying there till spring. Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukah will come and go, but it will be Thanksgiving every day at Infinity Farm.
And if thanksgiving is my religion, then the barn will be my church. (Now that I think about it, the barn has been my church even when I had a church.) Sometimes the Infinite can seem more accessible around animals, and if that shortcut is offered, I am grateful for that, too.
Barn/Church, Part One: Grooming.
The barn/church service begins as we walk through the door. Most times there is a greeter- a horse with a deep Barry White sort of nicker, “Hello, Beautiful, Glad you could come.” And you feel welcome.
Grooming is the beginning meditation- a shared time of acknowledgement when both horse and human leave their herd to be with each other. The day’s concerns retreat and shoulders loosen; the act of currying, brushing, and cleaning hooves becomes mindful activity. Go slow- take time to gain connection with your horse on the ground first. This is where the ride begins.
Soon breathing is matched and eyes are soft-both horse and human are present in the moment. Dawdle here, make this sacred place your default position.
Sometimes the horse is old and retired. The grooming is an acknowledgement of years of friendship and memories shared. Grooming begins and ends as a conversation about gratitude.
Sometimes the horse is young and not under saddle yet. Grooming is starting a promising habit; an affirmation of the dreams to come and the opportunity to start again.
Sometimes grooming is enough; taking time to acknowledge beauty, kindness, acceptance.
(to be continued…)
Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.