Working on a farm makes it easy to follow the rhythms of nature and the changing cycles of the seasons. Right now we are surrounded by the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of nature preparing to slow down, end the time of growing and begin the time of rest and restoration. The horses’ winter coats are growing in shaggy and warm. Smoky white vapor streams from their nostrils as they are turned out each morning onto frosty, sparkling pastures. The grand maples are in a riot of color and the tall oaks are dropping carpets of acorns for busy woodland creatures below. The sound of dried, crunching leaves accompanies each step along the forest trails. As the horses munch the treat of ripe fallen apples the mellow sweet smell fills the stable. Birds are flocking up and huge Vs of geese call out as they fly high above the farm. The days are growing noticeably shorter and the nights are noticeably colder.
In late December, the winter solstice will mark the shortest day and longest night of the year. At Hidden Acres we are preparing to use this special time to refocus on our connections to nature and one another. As we approach the darkest part of the year, nature gently reminds us to slow down and mindfully appreciate the beauty of a quiet, resting world. It is the perfect opportunity to create rituals of celebration and gratitude for nature and her many gifts. Gathering with friends and family to decorate a natural giving tree with hand made birdseed ornaments is an activity that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Taking walks and using special awareness to notice signs of the changing season helps us to be mindful and attuned to nature. Preparing a meal to share with others around a table in a warm house will encourage us to feel grateful for simple blessings. Together we can experience the power of hope and faith that the days will once again begin to lengthen as we celebrate the solstice and begin the journey back towards summer’s light and warmth.
If you are interested in celebrating the Winter Solstice with us at Hidden Acres Therapeutic Riding Center, please save the date of December 19. We are hosting a Winter Solstice Celebration from 2-5 p.m. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram @hiddenacrestrc for more details as we get closer to the event. Or you may visit our website at hiddenacrestrc.org
Written by Rebecca Caruso, Clinical Director