To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


It occurs to me I've been remiss. I told you about Charlie and Alan and Kit and Greg, but then I got distracted by topics other than introductions, and lately I've been avoiding talking about Joy and Karen because you don't know who you are...and of course your won't, if I don't tell you about them.

Joy was primarily our Healing master, just as Kit had Art, Charlie had Craft, and so on. Officially Joy's healing modality was (and is) veterinary medicine, though she does not teach anyone how to be a vet. Instead, she would help people already trained as vets work with their patients and cope psychologically with dealing with the sick. She did the same for people trained in other forms of medicine, or even psychology. She helped people who had learned medicine become healers. She was also the campus vet--remember, we had chickens and sheep and cats and dogs and horses and sometimes other species....

Unofficially, Joy's healing ability went much farther. She was (and is) a real, honest-to-goodness horse whisperer. She helped deal with behavioral problems for private clients, and even worked with neglected or abused animals for rescue organizations. Her own horses were rescues, whom she has trained to pull farm equipment. She has also trained them as therapy animals, and has a whole practice giving riding lessons to disabled, traumatized, or autistic children and adults. She does not bill herself as a therapist, only as a riding teacher--she gets referrals from therapists and physical therapists. But I've seen some of these people, spoken with some of paraplegics who think their lives are basically over, children who don't think they can do anything right, she takes these people and gently gives them meaning in the shape of a horse. Not always, but often, their lives turn around.

I was never one of Joy's students, nor have I ever really been her friend. I don't think I'll get around to telling very many stories about her--I don't know very many. I used to see her riding around campus, usually bareback. I found one of the cats once, obviously sick, curled up at the back of an equipment shed. I went to get Joy, and her face as she handled the cat was gentle, dispassionate, and utterly focused. The cat let her handle it, though it had hissed at me. I saw her help Sara kill a batch of chickens once, and her face looked the same--gentile, dispassionate. She called her horses wounded healers, and said trauma can be a great gift, because it means you can be a healer for others. I asked her once why anybody gets injured, if the reason we get injured is so we can heal others? It seemed circular.

"Go talk to Alan if you want logic," she told me. "But when I see a nineteen year old boy with a crushed spine who never did anything wrong, I don't look for the universe to have reason. I look for it to have meaning."

I'll tell you about Karen later.

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