“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left”.

Summer has come to end. The heat and rain of 2018 will be long remembered, but most memorable will be my 2680 mile road trip. As I mentioned in my previous blog I did not go to any exotic location. My trip was charted by destiny. It started with me placing pins on a map of where old friends, horses I knew and relatives still lived throughout the eastern US. It also included seeing old homes, special roads or views that I loved.  I learned that my bones take a bit longer to straighten out after being in a car for any length of time, but my eyes were just as bright exploring new roads and re-experiencing old trails.

The last part of my trip took me to SW Pennsylvania. The scenery; hills of green, winding rivers and forest so lush and thick they were intoxicating, brought me back home.   I visited my old work place and got caught up with my co-harts.  I rode horses down familiar trails and even went to visit my old homestead(s). It was nostalgic and a bit sad, but clearly evident to me that the home and land was no longer part of whom I was.

But one thing, above all stood out to me on this trip. One evening my girlfriend got all the other ladies together that I knew.  When I lived there I was part of a monthly “horsey girl night out” where we shared stories about our horses, training we learned about or brought a video or two to discuss. I loved this group of women but really didn’t imagine I’d be able to see so many of them during my stay. When I walked in, I briefly looked around and took note of their changes and then there I was. Again, smack in the middle of stories, laughter, crying and hugs. I had to pinch myself to remind myself that I was no longer a regular part of this group.

What made this group just like going home to family? I quickly realized that it was not necessarily the monthly get togethers that bonded us, but really quite more.  We all had been there for each other through snow storms, loss of electricity, helped each other with sick or injured horses, rode the hills together, vacationed with our horses together, lifted each one up when a job was lost, a child became sick or a family memeber died.  We loved each other just as much for our faults and as our virtues. We had seen the worse of each other, the quirky sides and even the best from time to time. Is this what binds a family, a group, a village or nation I mused about during those 2 1/2 weeks on the road?

For me, growing up in a military family and moving often, I used to believe that the wonderful places I experienced overshadowed the many, many friendships I made. I was wrong. Here was a group of strong, independent women that became my family for only 12 years and yet when we met again after 5 years, we were as connected as ever! Most other people, I suspect know and understand the value of friendship and may not even questioned or think much about it. But for me the profound ability to reconnect and not be the one looking from the outside in (as was my regular pattern) was amazing and something I will cherish always.

To friendship and the journey!

Barbara is the owner and president of Wayfinding with Horses, Inc.  She is trained in the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method, a retired Professional Engineer and Qi Gong Instructor but mostly she is a woman passionate about horses, their wellbeing and their gift of being present. The horses help her clients to trust their true nature and lead from the heart.  Clients often report a heightened awareness of their surroundings and others while experiencing a deeper, more profound understanding of their relationships and connection to others.  Barbara lives at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida.