By Barb Hauge
The expletive I most resented as a child was being called bookworm, but my favorite gift of all time has always been a carefully selected book. Now that the moments of life are no longer rushing by I find myself simultaneously reading at least three books.
On the coffee table is the beautifully illustrated Lewis and Clark Voyage of Discovery by Stephen Ambrose. During a lifetime in Montana, our family, too, has traveled many of the trails laid out by Lewis and Clark, Sacajawea and all the others.
In our den lies The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts. He takes me back to my childhood on the ranch and especially to Beautiful Bob, a black horse with a white star. I immortalized him in a poem:
Beautiful Bob was my freedom. He carried me far and wide. He took me up yonder into the buttes and over the countryside. Id lean on his neck as he galloped scarcely touching a rein. He carried me fast and swift and sure over the open plain til at last we reached a Secret Place where he grazed while I looked at the sky and watched the pictures in the clouds as they made their journey on high. Its a beautiful world if well let it be and that is really our job; to keep Planet Earth as safe and secure as I felt on Beautiful Bob.
Monty Roberts tells about gentling horses, as my brother, Allan, called it. You start by learning the language of horses, who are essentially herd animals. You use eye and hand contact telling them to go away and then encouraging them to return until the horse willingly joins up and becomes your trusted friend. This can be done even with badly abused horses who are healed by your kindness and trust. Only then will they desire to be a part of your herd.
I wish we could learn to employ this same method on all of those criminals who were and are created by an uncaring world. Perhaps then we would not have to keep on building more prisons and would not be sucked into endless war which slaughters so many innocents.
By my bedside is Nicholas Sparks The Notebook, a heart wrenching love story which begins at Creekside Extended Care Facility. The loving husband tells his adored wife, Nothing is ever really lost the embers left from earlier fires shall duly flame again.
One year I spent Mothers Day with my Aunt Henrietta. She was then the sole survivor of my fathers birth family. I was working on Baird family history. When I suggested it might be her bedtime, my cousin Vernon said, No, Mothers really on a roll and shes enjoying herself. Keep going. She filled me in on so many family events and finally I said, I have been religious all my life, but still its hard to let go.
She had borne nine children and raised all but one against great odds. Now she was very old and very tired. It was then I told Aunt Henrietta that I am one of those who chooses to believe in reincarnation. Though religious hierarchy denies it, some of the so-called Lost Books of the Bible are said to give ample evidence that the human spirit or soul does not die, but is born again to another life on this Earth. Some believe we must be born again and again until we get it right or achieve nirvana and can rest in heavenly peace.
Others believe that if we despise any group of people in this lifetime we will henceforward be born a member of that group. This would indeed be poetic justice. My beloved aunt died quite peacefully.