“The Horse” by Ronald Duncan
Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
My horse, Leo, has taught me a great many lessons about riding and just as many about life. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- It’s okay to be startled on occasion, but when you are, there’s no need to dwell on it. Examine the source of your distress, but move on as quickly as possible.
- Routines are good; they establish a basic underlying rhythm in an often chaotic world.
- Don’t limit yourself to routines. Patterns engender familiarity and familiarity breeds complacency. Change it up on occasion to revitalize your mind.
- Rhythmic suppleness leads to balance. Likewise, flexibility in dealing with both the predictable and unforeseen rhythms of life sets the conditions necessary for a balanced perspective.
- Subtlety is routinely underrated. In fact, less is more, more often than not.
- Conserve your physical, mental and emotional energy. Thrift is poetic.
- Be mindful of the fulcrum of opposing forces. It is wiser to work both ends from the middle than to play both ends against the middle.
This is a short list, though I could probably spend an entire year of daily posts just examining the implication of these seven lessons (and likely will in the recesses of my mind).
I’d love to hear from you about lessons you’ve learned from the animals in your world! Feel free to share in a comment…