What I Need to Know in Life

by Soul Places | Diane Ludeking

The Now-Abandoned Art's Orchard

My paternal grandfather was a man with great passions for the earth.  With a seemingly fearless, entrepreneurial spirit he began an apple orchard.  He sought out the perfect, south-facing hill for his vision and purchased it.  He planted trees, nurtured them, learned about them, much how I imagined him as a father with a young and growing family at that time.  A very introverted, thoughtful man, he learned how to graft trees, press apples into cider and how to market his products through relationships.

What he needed to know about life, he learned from an apple orchard.

I remember listening to his stories and how they always seemed to come back to the land, his orchard, his family.  I reflect on his memory, his words, his ability to make meaning with what he knew best.  A thought was a seed.  An idea was a sprout.  The fruits of his labor were apples and children.  He understood the world around him better when he could compare it to growing apples.

I find myself doing the same with what I know intimately.  A lifetime with horses as mirrors and teachers has led me to making meaning from what they have taught me:  work as a unit, always fight for your life in the presence of danger, never take things personally, be congruent in body, mind and spirit.  Understanding their nature has given me tools for processing life.

What I need to know about life, I learned from horses.

Disclaimer:  While there are as many ways to process life as there are people on the planet, it is interesting to apply the lessons we learn from our dog, cat, plant, career, spiritual practices, etc.  An orchard was a significant metaphor for how my grandfather lived his life, but I’m sure there were others.  Horses are the most significant metaphor for my life, but also not the only one.

How can your area of expertise help you make meaning?  Where is the metaphor, the mirror, in what you know most intimately?