• Sherri Phibbs

When Nature Speaks

An excerpt from "The Accidental Shaman, 42 Steps to Awakening"

The weather was cooperating for a change, and the sun was out. I could smell it in the long hair of my horse, a warm body comfort sort of smell that drew me in heart, body and soul. There was no jingle of metal from a bridle, no squeak of leather from a saddle, there was only me, a horse and a rope. We shared space together and the hay was fragrant. I could hear the sound his jaw and teeth made as he ate, and it was soothing. The subtle shifting of feet and the soft blowing of breath gently added delight-filled layers to a sensual feast of contentment and serenity. This was horse time, and it spoke directly to my heart. I was one with, in a sensual haze of togetherness wrapped in the moment.

And, there was N.

N had had a bad day. Over-whelmed, over-stimulated, his only option to shrink away from a world that hurt. With loud shrieks, agitated movements and a wailing rejection of all contact, he sank violently to the earth, rocking and seething, poised to race away at the slightest jolt from the external torment. He was certain he didn't want to be here today.

Quietly, I ran a brush through the long warm coat, allowing the grounding feel of the horse's calm weight in his feet to pull to my insides, easing out the knots and worries in my thoughts. The repetitive motions of the grooming, the sounds, the breaths, must have called to N as they did to me. I invited him into my experience, and he brushed. Once, twice. Dropping the brush to move quickly back a safe distance and sit, picking at the earth. He didn't want to ride today. He shrieked and fussed side to side.

Leading the horse to the top of the trail, the softly falling drumbeat of his hooves upon the earth, the thread of a pull from his motion must have called to N, as he rose to his feet. Keeping a slightly disengaging distance between himself, his mother, the horse and I, he followed.

The others had already gone, and I asked if he wanted to come close, to ride now. Alone in the dirt of the paddock, we stood in a stand off. Stress lent a distinct and harsh feel to the air, an acrid taste to the back of the throat, but the horse seemed to stay calm, to call to N. Agitated, N moved, side to side, up and down, no eye contact, a bundle of seething. energy seeking relief. But the horse seem to call. Suddenly, N stood still. And Neo, the heart to my soul, slowly lowered his head.

Eye contact. And there they stood. Not touching, yet deeply connected. Sharing each other's soul, eye-to-eye, and seemingly oblivious to all else. There they stood. Wrapped together in a silent conversation, embraced within a private bubble of I don't know what. Then, a violent shudder raced through N's little body like a tidal wave, and he released a deep breath, as he let it all go. Peace reigned.

Leading Neo to the mounting block, I held the blur of unshed tears in my eyes. N followed and mounted without a fuss. And he talked. The whole way. First it was a scene by scene account of today's episode of Fraggle Rock, an all-time favourite, but then there was talk of school. A sharing of the day, unprompted and free-flowing.

Reaching up, I ran my fingers through the long and silky hair on Neo's withers, close to where N sat. N ran his fingers through Neo's hair, too. I felt the tears sting and burn behind my eyes again as I sank deeply into the connection of the moment. The feel of my body as I walked beside the horse, the heat of the sun warming my shoulders, the simple joy. I will remember that for all time.

The sound of a child's happy voice and the soft footfalls of a horse. Nature spoke and magic happened.

An excerpt from "The Accidental Shaman, 42 Steps to Awakening"

#naturespeaks #momentstoremember #connection #ilovehorses

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Cochrane, Alberta, Canada