The horse's pasture to the East...

Thursday, December 17, 2020


One of my favorite places to think is in my barn and paddocks. While I’m scooping poop, cleaning and filling water buckets, putting out fresh hay in the slow bags and sweeping floors, my mind settles. It clears out all of the musty cobwebs and ill feelings and the doors begin to open. I hear my inner voice and it sings. This year we’ve added in ducks and chickens to our equation so I have my own chorus of our rooster calling and ducks laughing. The sun comes up while the gates are opened. How magic is that! No wonder inspiration comes to me while I get dirty and sweaty

I leave the barn doors and stall doors open while I am outside. Having that kind of freedom with my horses is as much a treat for them as it is for me. They all come to visit during the morning. And one or the other and sometimes all of them ask to play. I drop everything I am doing to follow that invitation. How many horsemen and women have that opportunity to build an open and honest relationship with their herd. It’s a gift I say thank you for every day.

Our place is far enough off the grid that we have a lot of autonomy. It’s quiet except for the early morning traffic of people going to work, farmers going to the fields. Although this year those sounds are muted with loss of jobs and business, a terrible sadness. And behind those sounds are the marching band practicing at the local high school and the carrolon at the local college. Sometimes we practice our walk/trot/canter transitions to the rhythms of the marching band, or the ground work (always a dance for me) to the music of the carrolon. But this year, no music. That caught my attention. No music at all.

I asked one of my young neighbors, a high school senior, about it. (Again, no gender or name here ever. People talk to me in confidence. ) That person said there is no music program at the High School. There is no band, orchestra, choir, theater nor is there any arts program. All Arts based programs have been removed from the curriculum. 

Somehow a virus that does not impact children or healthy adults, has a survival rate of 99.98%, has been used as an excuse to shut down all arts programs. I want you to pause for a moment and think about that. NO ARTS AT ALL AT ANY LEVEL IN ANY SCHOOLS. How interesting. What does participation in the arts promote?

 1. Observation. Children live in a visual world. They see every detail ; ants following a trail through the grass, patterns that birds fly, the light falling through the leaves of trees on a sunny day, the color of dandelion flowers and their aftermath of little puff balls and the way the wind catches the seeds and floats them away. And now they are being told to wear masks, look straight ahead, do not touch anyone, no recess, walk in a line and do not spend time talking or touching . Again, how interesting. 

2. Creative thought. Every time you pick up a pencil or paintbrush, a different part of the brain is activated. When you sing another part of the brain is, again, activated. In fact singing is part of a program to help people in speech therapy because you speak from one part of your brain, sing from another. Playing the piano uses almost all sectors of the brain. It’s very complicated, builds confidence and an awareness of rhythm and melody. A violin sounds like the voice of a human. A drum is so basic to who we are that all of us, at one time or another, has beat out a rhythm to something we are listening to, with our hands. And now children are encouraged to stare at a little glass screen and do nothing with their hands or voice or body. There is no social interaction at all. How interesting.

3. Critical thought and analysis. While a child is learning how to create, they will naturally stop and think about what they are doing. They look at a color, a brush mark. They listen to the way two notes sound together or sing in harmony. They move in a group when learning how to dance or march in a band, how to synchronize with each other and laugh together. They learn HOW TO ASK QUESTIONS. But now all arts programs are gone. They are being taught to sit inside little plastic cubicles, to never touch each other, to be afraid of everything and to never take a chance or try something new on their own. How interesting.

4. Independence. All of the arts encourage children to be self starters, to create, make mistakes, learn from what does not work for them, to try again, to practice and delight in the happy accidents that comes from play. They play games, make up games. Children need to move, get fresh air, interact and learn social skills. They learn to experiment with color, light, music, dance, language and they do it sometimes with friends or in groups, sometimes alone. They learn how to become independent problem solvers and grow in confidence while making happy, joyous messes. They make muddy colors, off key music and trip while trying to dance. And now they are being told to never touch each other, to follow all rules, to wear a mask and never to interact and all of that while staring at little glass screens. Adhering to rules is more important than asking questions or discovering something new on their own. How interesting. 

Somehow a cold virus combined with social media and a deeply corrupted news media with the monetary encouragement of big pharma and the AMA  have tried to make inroads into destroying the process of creative problem solving, asking questions, and independent thinking. The destruction of the arts programs in the schools is part of that process and all in the name of social correctness and being a good little cog in the machine. Our children are going to school in hell.

The so called Great ReSet is, weirdly, in progress. But only if you allow it to be. Children look to their adults to guide them, to encourage them, love and support them. If you want to be BORG, fine. But leave the children out of it. I don’t know what your solution is, but mine is to invite children here to run, play, dance, sing, paint and draw. I introduce them to horses, dogs, cats, chickens and ducks. We take them out in to the fields, explore ponds and hike through the woods. 

You can do that too. Turn up the music and dance, sing, laugh, blow bubbles. Paint on the walls. Do your own mural. Buy an old piano for fifty bucks and pay another fifty to have it tuned. Then learn how to play with them. Break some rules. Do your own play. Make up your costumes with what you have in the back of the closet. Find your way back to being the child you were all those years ago and take your children and grandchildren with you. 

Resistance in NOT futile. Oh, and take the masks off. NO MASKS. Hug each other, dance, tell stories, and follow an ant trail together through the grass. And make up your own marching band too. 

Go ahead. Be spontaneous. I DARE YOU! You ARE NOT BORG. Put the little glass screen away. Yes, you read that right. GO AWAY. Do something on your own that is utterly silly and over the top ridiculous and laugh while you do it. 

“ Everything you can imagine is real. “ Pablo Picasso

I am, ever yours, Nancy, smiling, dancing, painting and laughing at the way things go...

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