dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Finding the Joy

"...keep knocking, and the Joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who's there."

In the past the barn has been my refuge. It was the place I went to when I needed to restore my soul. It was a place that I could find comfort in simple tasks- sweeping a floor, cleaning a water bucket, organizing tack.  I loved the smells of the hay, shavings and horses. The sounds of horses eating always brought a smile to my face and a feeling of peace in my heart.

When Steele died the barn became a place of pain, not of solace. I felt like I was spinning- the first place I would normally head to feel better was taken away. I would go to the barn and do what needed to be done and then head back to the house. It was very draining.

Last week I had a very bad day. I spent most of the day flooded with tears. Fortunately it was a day that I could close the door to my office and hide. Ed phoned me to talk about something and he could tell right away that something was wrong. "Come home" he told me. I didn't go home but I decided that I needed to try to take back my joy. So that night I made myself go out to the barn and spend some time. I puttered. I took Irish out and gave him a good grooming. Lexie watched over her door. She has the most steady gaze, it's amazing. After I finished Irish I brought out Lexie and gave her a good going over. She lapped it up. When I put her in her stall I headed back to the house. I won't say that I felt restored but I felt a bit better. Or at least not worse than when I went out.

Ed commented about my time in the barn. I told him that I was trying to see if I could find the peace I used to find when I was out there. That I decided that joy wasn't going to seek me out but I had to see if I could find it. He listened carefully and said "you know if you can't find it here any more and want to sell and move, I'm okay with that". I was stunned by his offer. It made me stop and think. This place was my dream but became his as well. I'm not ready to run away yet.

So I've started running again. I go to my Zumba class and curling.

Yesterday I picked up the framed painting of Steele. I know that I'm biased but it is stunning:

It was a gift to me from a  person I have never met in person. Years ago I sold a saddle to a woman in the next province. We 'knew' each other from a dressage bulletin board we both belonged to. She also had a young gelding she was bringing alone and we shared our hopes, triumph and progress over the past year. When she heard about Steele, she sent me a message asking for my home address. I gave it to her expecting a card in the mail. Instead I opened a package to find this incredible painting of my boy. She has captured his beauty and spirit perfectly.

It is hanging in my dining room and I see it multiple times a day. And every time I see it I feel not just the grief of his passing but the joy that he existed. It makes me smile through tears.

I need to keep knocking.


  1. That painting is breathtaking, wow!

    I'm happy to hear that you had more positive barn time. I had a hard time visiting the barn after my guy Blue was put down but after a few weeks of forcing myself to go things got better.

    Keep knockin'

  2. What an incredible gift... the painting and Ed's offer to move.

  3. She did such an amazing job. That's a gorgeous painting! I hope the pain eases for you a little each day and that the happy memories come to the forefront. I'm glad you're not giving up on your dream. I know it must be hard to stick it out. Hang in there.

  4. Incredible painting. I'm glad you made the time to go to the barn and try to find peace. I hope that feeling of solace comes back to you in time.

  5. I know all too well that pain that comes when the barn has lost its purpose. When a beloved friend is lost and that time and place that was so cherished feels empty instead. Eventually, the solace comes back. It comes back in little ways, when you aren't looking, as you fill the feed tubs and the muck buckets. Take your time and let it happen.

  6. That painting is amazing! I lost my favorite horse last Fall and know the pain caused by going to the barn and not having them there. I know that it does gradually get better, but think that you are doing the right thing by trying to find the peace that you previously had in the barn. My heart goes out to you and I am wishing you the best.

  7. "We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
    Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
    We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
    never fully understanding the necessary plan."
    Irving Townsend.

    Hi Teresa, some years ago I came across these magnificent words from Irving Townsend. For those of us who cherish our animals, I think they capture the true essence of what that love is all about.

    The painting of Steele is magnificent...it captures so much more than bone and muscle...it seems to have captured the essence of his soul as well.

    I hope you begin to slowly find peace and inner light in your barn again...in the chores that need doing, in the two horses there who know and love you, in the smells and sounds that make a barn such a wonderful place.

    Baby steps. Maybe it comes down to that. Baby steps, with no expectations or schedule. If there is a way to regain your joy in having acquired your dream place, I think that will be the way. Let it find you, without you looking too hard. I believe it will, given time.

    There are no words to express how much I hope it happens for you.

    Wishing you only the very best.

  8. I thought today might be a very hard day for you, and although I'm posting this on your Jan. 10th entry, I am writing it on the 14th.

    Hope you're OK, and thinking of you.

    Milestone dates are always hard....

  9. Oh my. That painting is beautiful. What an amazing gift from a generous heart!


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