We've all heard the cliche "Stop and smell the roses." Right? Meh. Who has time for that? Sure, I'll stop. Once I have the book written, and the blog updated, and the checkbook balanced, and...and...
Well, yesterday I discovered, once again, how much beauty there can be in slowing down. In taking a moment to breathe. In letting yourself .... just ...be.
And it was wonderful.
I have been one of those "driven" individuals for most of my life, and the past few years have been off the chart go go go! Build a career! Support the family! Spend every spare moment working at home! Read more! Improve improve improve! Now, in addition to all of that, I am blissfully focused on getting this story out of my mind and into a Kindle somewhere. What a pace!
But last night, I stopped. No one was home. Not even the dog. I said to myself "Alex, tonight - turn the computer off. Leave the books upstairs. No pen and paper to jot down ideas for future chapters or new blog posts. Just enjoy the simplicity of a comfortable chair and a good TV show."
So after I overcame the guilt that the other half of my brain was trying to force feed me, I ran through the 200 options at my disposal and landed on a program that I haven't seen in years. So You Think You Can Dance. Lovely show! I cried like a sap at their stories of inspiration, at the beauty of their movements. When they teared up so did I. When their chests heaved with exhaustion and their parents beamed with pride I felt reverence for the magnificence of it all.
OK, so maybe I was long overdue for a night off.
The bottom line for me is that there is real beauty in watching people strive to do something well. I could see the joy on their faces when they knew, even before the judges responded, that they had reached a place deep within themselves and had brought it out for the world to see.
It was uplifting and inspirational. Today, I am back to doing what I enjoy most. Writing about Rachel and Leo, Alex and Lea. Hoping that I too can dig deep inside and find the best that I have to offer this world.
Leo did so on a daily basis. It's all he knew. But before Rachel entered his life the best within him was usually reserved for the horses he trained, and his small herd at Highland Rim Stables.
Leo had three horses of his own, and they filled a gap in his existence that few people could. His first love was a feisty black and white paint mare by the name of Spirit. She was undoubtedly the leader of the herd, regardless of who else Leo brought home to train. Spirit liked being the boss. All she had to do was stretch out her neck, bare her teeth, and flatten her ears for a second and the entire herd would move to her liking. Then there was his gelding Chester, a sturdy, easy going plow horse that held his own but typically got along with everyone. Chester worked hard when Leo needed him too, and relaxed quietly in the pasture when he didn't, staying just out of reach of Spirit and her moods.
The most recent addition to the Highland Rim family was Talia, a striking Palomino mare with a perfect white blaze, blond mane, and flowing tail. Leo had rescued Talia from an auction in town last fall. At the time she was muddy and skinny as a rail, with spur scars across her flank, and an already defeated look in her eyes. Leo knew he couldn't leave without her. He hated auctions. They always left him angry and bitter, wondering how anyone could ever treat these beautiful creatures with such malice and indifference. So Leo brought Talia home, fattened her up, and brought life back into her eyes, all the while distance and solitude were reinforced in his.
Leo rarely understood people. Horses he knew. He could feel them. And I am quite certain that with horses, Leo could...