Dirt roads are places where the journey gets real. When your wheels leave the pavement and turn onto a dirt road time changes and the pretenses of a more ‘civilized’ society is left behind for a simpler more authentic way of being in the world. In my journey, it was at the end of many a dirt road that I found strength I did not know I had in times of greatest trial and where my ego has been checked more than once during times of greatest accomplishment.
In my experience, real people live on dirt roads. Not that real people do not live on city streets, as I am sure they do. However, the people I know that choose to live on a dirt road have been my favorites, and I think the times in my life that I have liked myself best were times when I lived on a dirt road too. As a matter of full disclosure, I no longer live on a dirt road, but I frequent one often. My body lives in the heart of our small town, but heart and soul lives on a dirt road, however.
Oakwell on the St. Mary’s River is a wonderful place where the therapeutic farm that “owns” me lives, breathes and has it’s being. LightHorse Healing, Inc. is a non-profit farm where myself, another therapist, Debra Tait, LPC, a host of volunteers and the occasional intern engage people in a healing journey that includes horses, donkeys, gardening, wildlife, yoga, meditation, prayer and the expressive arts all coming together wrapped up with a dose of Creation Spirituality that we think would make St. Frances himself proud. Through the generosity of the farm’s owners, the program is allowed to thrive and each week people find community in creation that brings comfort and healing from whatever ails them. Those of us lucky enough to work there find a lasting community with each other, our therapy partners, the land itself and the wildlife that visit us making for the best office anyone could ever wish in which to work.
LightHorse Healing is the last and final iteration of my therapeutic journey with animals that began officially in 1998, when the idea that relationships with horses could be therapeutic was just getting off the ground. This blog is not specifically about the program, but certainly there are wonderful program stories to be shared and not so wonderful that at some point need to be put into words as well. More so, this blog is a place to tell the stories that people so often tell me “you should write a book!”. Better start with a blog and see if anyone reads it for free first before putting something on a shelf that costs money.
A word about the name and ‘logo’ for this blog. The word “Dialog” is in the name as that is my hope that this will become a dialog. I would love to hear from readers, so feel free to engage if a post speaks to you. The dirt road featured is the actual entrance to Oakwell on the St. Mary’s River and the black horse is a representation of my first official therapeutic equine partner, Cisco. He receives top billing for lots of reasons that I am sure will be in the early writings. The text is from the internet and an unknown source. If I knew who wrote it, I would surely give credit because it says EXACTLY what I feel and they should be honored for such a perfect sentiment. I have been richly blessed to have had several horses in my lifetime that carried me both through heaven and hell on several occasions (I evidently am hard headed). I guess this blog is the beginning of telling the story of some of those trips in hopes that those going through hell now or already having gone through and still bewildered by the journey can see heaven clearly on the other side.
The first Bible, before words were written, is Creation. Organized religion might have gotten in the way of the written Bible being able to speak to God’s people as it was intended in our current times. I meet people every day who classify themselves as “Christian, but not practicing”, “Spiritual, but not religious” and those that just acknowledge “Confused”. So, if my church friends take offense I am sorry. These folks aren’t going to our churches unless something relevant reconnects them to God first and then still maybe not unless we change what goes on in our churches.
My trips up and down ‘the Dirt Road’ have shown without a doubt there is a God, God cares and intervenes for all Creation, including the humans who are the chief destroyers of it and the human relationship with God is more relevant now than ever. Maybe there is something in this journey that can connect the reader to a broader understanding gained through experiencing a walk through heaven and hell, both here on earth. Thank you for reading this beginning. The journey begins with the first step….down the Dirt Road.