I could feel myself closing up, shutting down. But that’s not how I want to be, It’s what I used to do, an old way of dealing with pain. Do just the opposite I thought, you know what it feels like to hide from the pain, try something different, open yourself up to it. I can’t hide from pain it finds me eventually, one way or another. But I don’t have to dwell in it either, I can let it pass through me, feel it in every way, then let it leave.
So as I stood next to Rocky, instead of being distant and cheerful,(a trick I learned a long time ago) I opened my heart to him and listened. “I’m too old for this” said the voice in my head. Was it Rocky’s voice? Had I listened and heard? Is this what animal communicators do? Or was it my voice, what I thought about Rocky. Was it my gut instincts, my intuition or just me trying to make myself feel better. Projecting my feelings onto this old horse.
Since the first time Simon the donkey, kicked Rocky the 34 year old blind pony, when we put them in the same pasture I began to be careful of my thinking. This is not a bully picking on a kid in the playground, I reminded myself, these are two equines working out how to live together. And when I began to think of how much we had done to make Rocky more comfortable, giving him shelter, good hay, grooming, love, veterinary care, I also thought of what he lost. His old routine walking the paths that he knew even though he couldn’t see them. Drinking fresh water from the stream and grazing the the far pasture which was now fenced off. I thought of the old people who opt to stay in their homes rather than evacuate during life threatening storms.
Was he better off now or before we came? He’s probably more comfortable in many ways now, but not knowing when you might be kicked or bit or run into a fence can’t feel too good. When some of the horse experts we knew and trusted said we may have to think about putting Rocky down, that it wasn’t humane to do this to him, my stomach dropped. And once again, I had to remind myself not to put my feelings and life experiences on Rocky.
It was only about me in that it had become the responsibility of me and Jon to do what we thought was best for Rocky, the donkeys, ourselves and the rest of the farm. So that’s were we are now. We spent the past week thinking of our options. New fences, barns partitions, water and how we would manage it all especially with the winter coming.
But for me, after thinking it all though, it comes down to the feeling in my gut, and the space in my heart. To trust our instincts and the knowledge we have acquired by living with these animals. And for me and Jon to make these decisions together and know we have done the best we could do not allow our hearts to harden.