All day, people came. Some stayed for hours, some for a few minutes. This was a constant at Blue Star Equculture, where I stayed the last three days.
It’s rare to find the barn empty. If it’s not feeding time, or the stables aren’t being mucked, then someone is either grooming a horse or saddling a horse. Shy girls who started volunteering at Blue Star when they were nine years old are now young women, talking about college. When the chores are done they sit in the doorway braiding each others hair. Everyone is good to each other, no one is judged or labeled. Whether you’re there for the first time or you’ve been living with horses for years there’s a generosity of spirit that permeates Blue Star. Pamela will tell you the that the horses are mostly responsible for that, but she has worked hard to make sure that everyone feels welcome.
The other place that’s never empty for long is Pamela and Paul’s kitchen. Coffee is always brewing, the fridge overflowing with cream and leftovers. There’s always at least one loaf of bread, fresh from the cafe next door and a stick of butter on the kitchen table. More than once we came in to find a box on the table with a pie in it or a Tupperware container of home made soup. Then the guessing game began, Pamela and who ever else was there, trying to figure out who dropped it off.
Friends and volunteers sit around the table making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches thinking up new ways to bring Ben and Tommy and the other horses at Blue Star into the community even more than they already are. How to get more volunteers or raise money. Someone was inquiring if they could rent the horses and a driver to plow their one acre garden plot. (Blue Star also rents horses and drivers for logging and transporting maple syrup. The horses have less of an impact on the land than a truck or skidder and can go places they can’t).
Through out the day, little miracles happen. Someone knocks on the door and drops off a check, they tell us they follow the horses on facebook. A neighbor stops by to help with the morning feeding and brings a plate of cookies that her mother made. The couple who visit Sonny regularly, bring him a bag of horse treats to put inside the ball he loves to play with, just as he ran out. A woman, who was recently diagnosed with a debilitating disease drives two hours to be with the horses. And young couples and grandparents come all day with their babies and grandchildren to pet the horses and feed them carrots.
I’m beginning to feel like a Moonie, I told Pamela on Saturday. I’m smiling at everyone I see and they all smile back. Not too long ago I would have found all this joy unnerving. But then I don’t think I would have found myself at Blue Star back then. Pamela told me the horses have survived so long throughout history because when trouble comes, their hearts don’t harden, instead they open their hearts more and more. This is the spirit of Blue Star. The spirit of the open and generous heart. And you’ll find it not only in the horses, but in the people there too. It’s one of the many beautiful gifts the horses have to offer us. Now all we have to do is make sure they’re around long enough for us to accept it.