"I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake. " ~J.D. Salinger,
SPECIAL MOMENTS AS A FATHER
We live in interesting times. People have lost connection with Nature-the natural rhythms of life. As our disconnection from the natural world deepens so our lives and relationships are diminished.
Our disconnection from the natural world has devolved to the point that
astute observers alert us to the emergence of a new phenomenon-NATURE
DEFICIT DISORDER afflicting most people though most evident AND
INSIDIOUS in our children. We have raised the first generation in history to grow up without some meaningful connection to nature.
The worst aspect of this dis-ease is lack of awareness, denial, or contempt for the thought that this unprecedented phenomenon warrants exploration. Maybe it is't such a far fetched notion that complete disconnection from the natural world might cause problems.
It's worth remembering that people walk around not knowing
they suffer from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases of
civilization until it's too late. Realities of life care not whether we acknowledge them or not. A compelling intellectual case supports the assertion that Nature Deficit Disorder is real,it's symptoms are visible and worsening, and the prognosis isn't looking so good at the moment.
The antidote or best medicine for this modern ailment is spending time in nature, observing all creatures, living things, and invisible forces of nature.
Volumes have been written about how important our pets are to us, how they bring joy, and boost our health and well-being. Everybody has their own favorite animal.
Increasingly horses are getting attention for their unique way of teaching people and enriching our lives. They are used in the treatment of a host of physical, mental, emotional, and genetic disorders and conditions.
Fathers look for sacred encounters and "teaching moments"
That said, I will share a bit about my son's thoughts about animals and his
first real encounter with horses. Since he was old enough to talk my son has insisted that animals have souls, that many species are smarter than people, and most are easier to get along with than people. Since he was 5 or 6 he told me he wanted no part of Heaven if the nuns were right in saying that animals don't go to heaven (he hadn't watched the movie "All Dogs go to Heaven so this was his own conviction.
He has listened to his father make frequent references to horses and the difficulty I have finding words to describe my experiences with them. Recently, he joined me for the first time on a weekly visit to a local horse farm.
We spent some time hanging out with the horses in the stables before moving out to visit the horses in the fields. About 90 minutes into the visit, while sitting on a rock in a field, horses moving around, some
stopping to visit, I asked him if he 'got the horse thing' I'be been going on about.
Without missing a beat, an inspired smile on his face he quietly nodded.
We shared this special moment in time, experiencing the holiness of the ordinary
We're no longer just dog people. We "get" the gifts and lessons horses have to offer us.
It's worth repeating Salinger's character speaking in the Catcher in the Rye because it is a reminder of our the profound influence of our first time together with horses.
"I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.
I am so proud of my son.