One Senior's Opinion: Spirit of community not just human nature

We were seated in a circle at Pebble Ledge Ranch in Geauga County, cancer survivors, caregivers and family members, when someone began giggling. She looked  across at me and said, "Do you know there's a horse behind you?" I looked up and there was a large brown horse whose head was inches from mine. "Oh my gosh," I wondered, "how did this happen?"

The morning retreat was about horses and healing. Ten of us plus several staff members from the ranch were getting briefed on horses' innate ability to tune into human emotions. That morning I was feeling lonely and uncertain.

"That's Rojo behind you," someone else said of my new equine friend. I knew Rojo was forty-plus years old, blind and hard of hearing. She had been the leader of the herd for many years but had stepped down in favor of a younger horse's stamina and leadership abilities. She was now the grandmother of the herd. How appropriate, I thought; I, too, am a grandmother.

My heart jumped. The two-thousand-pound animal began nudging my neck. She would nudge, snort, and nudge some more. This continued for several minutes. I felt an immediate connection to this gentle giant. Someone commented that horses don't often approach humans so quickly. Rojo touched my heart. I was impressed with her sensitivity and patience.

I came home that day with some valuable knowledge. I learned the herd was a microcosm of our larger society. Each member is valued and accepted, as the herd is all inclusive.

This brought to mind my vision of community. In a successful community, each member is important. Each contributes to the betterment of the whole. Each member contributes their unique  talents and knowledge to help ensure the community functions well.

In community, communication is important. Horses communicate very clearly to one another and humans. Perhaps we can learn a lesson from the herd and practice open, honest, clear communication.

Horses are peaceful animals who care for and respect one another. Wouldn't it be great if more humans did the same? Many thanks to The Gathering Place, the Spirit of Leadership group and Pebble Ledge Ranch for providing this amazing experience.

Dianne Borowski lives in Bay Village.

Read More on Readers' Opinions
Volume 2, Issue 13, Posted 1:12 PM, 06.20.2010