Mules are the infertile offspring of horse and donkey parents. Known for their hybrid vigor, calm disposition and wicked smarts, Chief our resident mule, is someone I listen to with rapt attention. He is perplexed by the human interest in sexual orientation. Labels paradoxically help us define diversity, but then confine the infinite spectrum of possibilities into…a label. Chief uses his sharp instincts to size up the kindness~trust factor in a person. He never labels, nor do the other equines. Geronimo, an animistic Navajo pony, thinks dogmatic religious narratives defining the expansive divine are crude. He senses for a tender, curious heart to determine whether someone is of interest to him. Traveler, a mixed-breed mustang, could give a fig about hide color, ethnicity or race. A Radiating sweet energy is how he accesses friend or foe.
Imagine all the people sharing all the world. John Lennon. Chief thinks this almost perfect song should include those not categorized as people. If people could only learn the gentle nose nudge technique (widely used in equine circles), combined with close-eyed dozing and an occasional nip if the object of your adoration crosses a boundary you didn’t want crossed; a new world could emerge. Very simple stuff. No heady distractions, pounding the pulpit or taking things personally. Of course, all people would have to adhere to these courtesies. Therein is the rub. But imagine….
In his previous life, Chief worked for an outfitter packing out dead elk from the backcountry. He enjoyed having a job, but walking along a scenic trail with a live human aboard would have been more civilized. He is not a prissy sort, but having a sentimental vein running through his gentle heart, the elk-slung-on-back routine was less than desirable. He was a “dumb beast of burden” and albeit a skilled elk hauler, his present employment as my respected counselor is preferable.
Chief prefers dancing over hauling dead elk
Geronimo and his mom, along with scores of other mares and foals were gathered up in drought conditions on their home reservation. The Navajo had tried to sell the horses, $50/head, to those with inclinations towards wild ponies, but government bureaucracy put a halt to such a sensible idea. Instead the moms were disposed of and their terrified babies delivered to rescue facilities in Colorado. Because of this, Geronimo has a propensity to form attachments to anyone with a need-to-mother complex. His supple nose noodles into hair, hats and shirts, in search of foundational love. This endearing trait gave him the unfortunate reputation of being a “biter” at his rescue facility. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Wild Navajo boy
Traveler found his redemption in cowboy Jim after a horrific beginning. Jim saw his sad plight; overweight, frightened and penned into a tight, dark corner. Plunking down too much money for the broken horse, Jim introduced him to a world of love and respect. Traveler still has a worried eye and the repetitive head toss of chronic anxiety but this habitual tic is much like my own quirky need to giggle inappropriately. He is very handsome and when his muscular neck is arcing and flexing, he is a stunning specimen of wild beauty. A “lazy neurotic” certainly does not describe his showy flamboyance of today.
They all concur: Get on with the business of a messy life with humans and hope you end up with a nice one. Never stop the spontaneous urge to buck and flatulate with joy. Slow down and stay in the neutral sweet spot. Label no one, no thing; it dumbs down the potential of everyone, everything. And, Imagine all the beings sharing all the world.