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I’ve had a dear friend visiting this weekend. It’s been great fun reminiscing, talking about old adventures, looking at photographs, and getting caught up with each other. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other, so the time together is especially sweet.

Last night we took her with us to feed the horses. As we rounded the corner and drove toward the gate, we saw five horses waiting for us.

I looked closely.

It was the original cast of the Herd of Oldsters: Bud, Pepper, Red, Amigo and Chickadee. My heart did a little flippity flop.

No one else was around.  It was just five old friends waiting for dinner and/or snacks.

I can’t predict what will happen tomorrow. Who can? But for this moment in time, it was a weekend of reunion; an all round celebration of friendship and connection. It was perfect. And wonderful.

 It got me thinking how very important friends are to my well being. I suspect the same is true for you. Some days I get so busy hunkered down over my computer or other tasks, I don’t see anyone all day. When the days link together with more of the same, I start to feel this yearning.

I need to see my peeps.

Connect with the people who know me.

The ones who accept me for who I am.

Even when they know about all the warts and bumps.

There are many times when I don’t act on the yearning. I tell myself I don’t have time. “Keep you head down and continue working. You have a deadline to meet.”

Or a self-imposed goal.

Or a commitment to keep.

All good things in and of themselves. Until they begin to deprive me of the soul medicine I need.

 

Horses live in herds, as do many other animals. It’s how they survive. There’s a hierarchy, protocol and yes, politics that I sometimes don’t like. But all of it serves to keep them safe.

Spending these few days with my friend has made me realize how much I want my own herd. I need a predictable routine of time with people I care about, and who care about me.

Those who are near and far.

And with today’s technology, it should be easy enough to orchestrate. Facebook, chatting, texting (except for me) web cams, Skype, telephone, email, face-to-face time. To mention a few options.

And why is it that with more ways than ever to connect, many of us feel more isolated and alone?

 

How do you connect with your herd?

Is there someone you could reach out to today?

Do it!

One day last week after I’d finished feeding my two old sweeties, as I drove away, I stopped to close one of the gates I’d come through.

Once I’d secured the latch, I watched the herd of oldsters, curious about what they do when I leave.

They shuffled around the area where I’d fed them, and then began a single-file trek down the lane toward water or another part of the pasture.

On this day, Red was in the lead, followed by Baby, Amigo and Chickadee.

Bud brought up the rear.

And Miss P. remained by the gate. She seemed to be considering her options. “Go with my herd, or settle down in the shed for a siesta now that my tummy is full?”

Bud took a few more steps and then stopped. He looked back at Pepper, then toward the herd, which had continued to move away. He turned and walked to join his friend.

This is where my heart melted.

I know I’m putting human emotions on horse actions, but you’ve noticed I do that sometimes. And this was such a tender gesture. It was as if Bud didn’t want Pepper to be alone in the shed.

These two have been together for nearly twenty years. They’re best friends.

And it is so very comforting to be with someone who has known you forever. You don’t have to go to the work of learning about each other. That dance can be exhausting, though granted, it is also rewarding.

But old friends know you and love you in spite of your quirks. They love you – warts and all.

 

New Friends/Old Friends

Eons ago when I was a Brownie, we sang, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”

As a girl of eight, I had no idea what the song really meant. I was young on the planet and everything and everyone was new to me.

I hadn’t yet learned the sweet comfort of old friends.

These days, it’s a different story. I totally understand how old friends are pure gold, and new friends are all shiny and silver.

Both are precious commodities.

As for Bud and Pepper, they’ve known this all along. I shouldn’t be surprised!

 

P.S. This is Bud’s week to shine. All week I’ll share stories and photos of our personable Appaloosa. On Thursday he has a big birthday, and you’re not going to want to miss the celebration!

 

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