Living In Two Worlds

Pamela riding Piper
Pamela Rickenbach with Piper  (photo by Jon Katz)

There was a lull in the crowds coming into my art gallery during the Open House.  Carol Law Conklin was at the farm most of the day, she was there when Pamela walked into my Gallery to look at the work.  I introduced her to Pam and immediately saw something happen between them.  It was the horse connection which both women intuitively have.  Carol told Pamela how when she had to give away her horses she felt like now she was alone and had to walk on her own two feet instead of the four feet of her horse that felt most natural to her.

Then Pamela told Carol some horse stories from the Native American Blue Horse to the Ancient Greek Pegasus.   Carol listened, soaking them up, I know I’ll see those stories  appear somehow  in Carol’s Batiks.  I could feel the connection between these two women who had just met for the first time.   A knowing energy pass between them.  An understanding that went beyond words.   Neither of them doubts the importance of horses in our lives.  Carol expresses it in images, Pamela in stories and the way she lives her life.

I’ve seen this type of thing happen with Pamela before.  And I’ve experienced it myself.   When Pamela starts to talk to me about the horses, their hearts and the way they think, when she tells the stories of us and them, I feel myself shift.  It’s similar to what happens to me when I’m making my art.  It’s as if this world that I live in, my day to day existence starts to slip away.  And soon I’m inhabiting a different space.  I slip into another world.  And the stories become more real than the chair I’m sitting on.

I think there are some people who are not of our world.  People like the saints and the mystics.  When I think of Pamela my mind goes to Johnny Appleseed (who was a real person, a lover of the earth and animals who traveled around planting trees and had the first horse rescue farm in what is now Ohio) and St. Francis of Assisi.  Both of them lived a wild sort of life, not fitting into society in any traditional way, if at all.   But with meaningful messages about our connection to the earth and nature that have lasted through time.

The more I get to know Pamela, them more I feel she’s not of our world.  She doesn’t have the same sense of time, money or ownership that most of us have.  Her passion and calling is to protect the horses, to remind us of the important part they play in our lives.   She does this by bringing the horses to us one at a time, and by telling their stories.

I understand Pamela, because I’m a visitor to that other world.  I’m drawn to it.  It feels like a safe place I forgot existed but am very familiar with once I’m there again.     I go there, but I always  have one foot grounded in this world.   The other world,  is boundless and mysterious,  more of the air than the earth.  And when I think of it, my heart swells and I can’t help but cry.  It’s a place where time melts  and there’s hope for what in this world seems impossible.

But I have this practical side to me.  I think it’s always scared me, the idea of staying in that other world.  As much as I’ve felt that I don’t fit in here, I keep trying.  And I’m finding in some ways I do fit in.  But I’ll always go back and forth, because that other world calls to me.  And I think living here on Bedlam Farm with Jon and the animals and being able to do my work, I’ve figured that out for now.     How to be a part of both worlds in a way that works for me.  Surrounded by people who understand.   But I imagine that will change and evolve too.  As nothing in life is fixed.  I think there’s a place for all of us, no matter which worlds we inhabit.  It’s just a matter of trying finding it.  And to never stop searching.



17 thoughts on “Living In Two Worlds

  1. Great post, Maria. My mother, who was very spiritual, used to tell me that we live multple lives while on earth, going back and forth between “planes”. So what you wrote really resonates with me.

  2. Maria, your words reminded me of the special places and people in my world where I have been able to free my soul to work on being my true self – other worldly but in this world. My heart yearns to be there again. I wish I could have made it to this open house – next year my husband and I will do it. It sounded so lovely and I have fond memories of when my two friends and I came up there 2 years ago. Thank you for doing the Open House and sharing the experiences online. Please thank Jon, too. I love both your blogs and get so much encouragement from them.

  3. I think you will enjoy the book I loaned you RIDING BETWEEN THE WORLDS. It resonates with what you’ve expressed here.

  4. Wow..Bingo. I wish i could have come to the open house, Maria, but I needed to North (home) You really expressed the ‘visiting the other world”. Also, my mouth dropped open when I saw you describe your friend as having had to give up her horse and stand on her own two feet. That is EXACTLY my experience. A very talented/intuiitve ‘natural’ horseman/trainer told me this the last year I had French. He said French was there when I need a leg to stand on, and it was time for him to ‘move on’. The magic is hat now my sister has him, whose husband has alzheimers (my age) and French is now HER other leg. Also, I get to see him, and he is having a ball with her.
    Last year I attended a Native American horse/healing ceremony at Old Friends Thoroghbred Rescue in Greenfield. It was so amazing , I was able to “let go” of some great guilt and sorrow I’d held over passing on Frenchie. The awesome thing was..HE KNEW!! Thanks, and Love

  5. I follow Jon’s blog and would like to be included in yours. I am in the process of getting a password from Google to do so.

    In the meantime, I would love to buy some of the note cards with Jon’s photography and don’t know where to access those choices.

    Your note about Pamela is so very touching — as is Jon’s Open Letter. Sharing yourself and your lives is like a ripple that spreads to the lives and hearts of so many others. Thank you.

    1. Lynne, I’m going to be putting some note cards for sale up on my blog probably today. what I have left from the Open House. Then you can just email me and let me know what you want. I’ll try emailing you too. Thanks for reading and asking about the notecards.

  6. Maria, you’ve put it very well, this explanation of the passion anyone has for any one thing. For Pamela, who is likely still in shock from what happened to her husband, her passion of these magnificent horses speaks for itself. Education of the general public is important and hearing it first hand from someone like Pamela is important. Rescue groups, PETA in particular, can be dangerous. I don’t mean the grass level rescue groups for specific breeds, I’ve been involved with the Australian Shepherd Rescue organization, I’m talking about the danger of something like PETA. They are not what they espouse to the general public. Online their mission sounds perfect; the inner workings of it remind me of a cult. Only people like you and Jon, and someone like Pamela can help in the education of the general public as to what rescue is really all about. This is her purpose in life. A singular passion, a singular purpose.
    SandyP in Canada

  7. Maria,
    This post is so lovely and heartfelt and deep I can’t find the words to express how moved I am by it.
    So often I want to comment and then think that whatever I write just won’t be enough, but this time I just had to say thank you. You and Jon and Chloe and Fate and Red and Pamela and everything you share with us – so many gifts.
    Thank you.
    Sending you much love from Cape Cod,


  8. I missed this with some others due to medical issues. Holy Christ, This is beautiful. So are you Maria and so is Pamela. I’m turning on the printer now. This is a tale I will read over and over. I need to go to Blue Star asap. Ron has a little time off now so we’ll do it.

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