Editor’s Note: Trish Lemke is the founder of Joy Rides. She leads horse riding excursions around the world and is a certified Martha Beck life coach. Lemke lives in Durango, Colorado, with her family and horses. Her 2021 trips are full, but you can check out her 2022 trips here. Also, see links below.
I don’t know about you, but I’m fascinated by the past. Not so much by history, like dates and wars and who was president when, but more in the regular lives of people whose feet have walked in the same places where mine now do. They built a life here and raised their families. They grew their crops, planted flowers, watched the seasons change and tended to the land, their animals and their kids. They had triumphs and tragedies, great joys and great pains, births and deaths and everything in between – just the same as we do today.
I’m thinking about this because I came across this small copse of trees the other day. This will be my first spring at the new barn and these trees didn’t show themselves through the winter. They were barren, resting for spring and looking like ordinary scrub oak, but now they have new buds and are flowering. They are some kind of fruit tree that at one time had a purpose beyond simple beauty. Now they’re old and gnarled and not cared for.
At some time in the past though, someone planted them and lovingly took enough care to give them water and help them survive in this dry, desert climate. Maybe they gave food to a family, or shade, or were just a beautiful grove of trees to sit next to. Maybe the kids climbed amongst the branches. I can envision a house down here in this meadow, sitting just below the ridge, sheltered from the wind.
On my walk, I find old pieces of barbed wire and an old wheel. Tin cans and old nails surface in places after the snow has melted. There are remnants from the more recent past too, like cinder blocks and pieces of metal and a car tire. Those things are not very interesting to me. They just feel like junk, but maybe in 300 years, people might be fascinated with that stuff too.
The land tells stories of people. Even more so, the land tells stories of itself.
It tells the story of its animals and trees, birds and bushes. The land down here is wild with sage. A few feet up, it’s grown dense with piñon and juniper. I see tracks of mountain lions, deer and coyotes and so many little ground creatures. There are bones everywhere and scat and fur and feathers. The land tells many stories, most of which we will never know, but it feels good to know that the land has always been here. Long before we were born and long after we leave and there is much peace in that knowing.
I’m fascinated by all this because it makes me think about what story I want to tell. What evidence do I want to leave upon this land and this earth?
When someone walks in my footsteps, what will they see? What will they feel?
Will they understand how much I loved my animals and my people and the land itself?
I want to pass on the story of love and of care and of respect.
I think that’s why all of my offerings and programs have the same central themes:
- How do we connect more deeply?
- How do we become more of our true selves?
- How do we live in joy and compassion?
- What is the story we want to pass along?
If any of this has you thinking about your life, I’m happy for it. If it makes you want to delve more deeply into what it all means for you, I have lots going on this summer and spring to help you get there. If anyone wants to talk to me personally about how to start, I’m here to guide you on your journey. Just say the word!
Links for programs and offerings: