Where Do I Put My Stuff?

By: Joan Ledford

Inevitably it happens.  I realize that I am carrying baggage around with me.  Now don’t get me wrong, every girl deserves a purse, tote, backpack, and a couple of extras just in case.  The problem is that carrying all of these at once or in addition to other traveling gear can get cumbersome.  Add a pillow, blanket, suitcases, and I either become a pack mule or ask a friend or relative to resemble one.  Such was the case when I showed up for my initial experiences at Peace Ranch for Hug and Groom.

Even on my first day, this became a time when I needed to admit that I had one too many bags.  As I looked into my car, I knew that I had brought My Stuff:  bag, backpack, all of it.    Beach bag, office bag, grocery bag, and diaper bag, all with those necessary items.  The bag, filled with the just-in-case Kleenex or pads, the eventual “What do I have in here?” collection that create weight and take up space.  [Insert memories of science, matter definitions, and my own “gray matter” being in a state of solid, liquid or gas at times.]

My bag had thoughts of family, home, unwept tears, un-dried tears, empty moments, and a large black hole of lost expectations.  Heavy stuff that I didn’t actually ask for. I never knew for sure what should come out or be left at home.  Could I bear the burden in my bag?  Sometimes I didn’t know what would spill out thus bare-ing my burden for others to see.  I was not sure if bearing or bare-ing was easier or better.  For me.  For anyone.

I carried other stuff too.  Large backpack of responsibilities, a purse—full of reminder notes—take care of this or that, and a mirror to check on me, the outside part anyway.  So with the finesse of a well-trained wife and mom, who had abandoned all household responsibilities for the day, I shoved it all in the back seat and went off to hug and groom a horse.

I could have cried the entire time.  But I didn’t.  Did not even shed a tear…..on the outside.  I don’t remember the horses’ names or faces.  I only know that it was much like the 25+ years of grooming my kids…the biggest of whom lies in a grave just a mile or two from my house.

It was hard to be reminded that touch cannot be replaced.  It remains difficult to know that the stuff I carry is common, every day stuff.  Stuff happens.  To everyone.

07/01/11 and 07/08/11 compiled

This essay is written in honor of the many who come to Peace Ranch to assist in healing from loss, sadness, and depression.  Through participant observation, I was able to understand the reasons why they choose Equine Assisted Activities for learning, growth, and maybe even a little psychotherapy.  Whether horse or human, we all need a little “Walk-In Clinique.”  (French female noun for clinic.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s