Seeing My Way Out

 

A shocking change of perspective was the key to unlocking my mind. Once I believed life was really mine to live, there was no going back.

My best friend, Aquila – now my husband – asked me to travel with him and I said YES. We had no idea where we were going, but we knew we were leaving the city where we felt suffocated. Leave school. Leave expectations. Leave unhappiness.

My understanding, free-spirited mother told us about WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, where you volunteer in exchange for room and board. It sounded like the perfect opportunity for us to experience country life without being bound by a program with rigid timelines. Instead, we could choose from a variety of WWOOF host farms, and make our own arrangements as we travelled  throughout Canada.

We signed up to get the list of hosts with their sometimes wild and hilarious descriptions. One in particular jumped off the page, and we knew that would be our first destination. Horses, vegetable gardens, and maple syrup were all enticing features, but I could only envision horses. I could feel, and hear their hoof beats beckoning.

Romantic notions of being surrounded by their energy fuelled each day I had to wait before following my horse heart. They gave me wisdom when Aquila broke his hand just before we were supposed to leave. They gave me strength when life told me to wait, to care for my mum with breast cancer and support her during treatment.

When the day did come to finally leave the concrete jungle, horses gave me courage to step up onto that bus and journey into the unknown.

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To my future.

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Woke Up With a Bang

How did I change? How did I go from a city dwelling honor roll student to dropping out, moving to the country, and living a life enthralled with horses?

My life’s alarm clock went off  September 13th, 2006. I was studying Social Services at Dawson College in Montreal, listening to presentations that uncharacteristically went over time into our lunch hour. This literally saved my life. A school shooting was in progress as we were leaving our classroom heading to the Atrium where the ricochet of shots were blowing holes in the walls and people. My classmates and I were sent back to hide under the desks in a dark room for the next 45 minutes until we were escorted out of the building by police.

I am grateful for this experience. Grateful we were part of the lucky ones to be physically unharmed. Grateful my friends and family were also able to walk away, and not be rushed to the hospital or sitting in a morgue. Most of all, I am grateful for the lesson this day gave me: life is short, live it.

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Sunrise on my farm. 

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