Prior to selling all of our things and hitting the road with our three young children, we had some pivotal experiences which led to our decision. Our trip to Pendleton, Oregon in 2012, was one of those experiences. My parents met a couple during a trip to Mexico and discovered they owned a horse ranch in Oregon. They invited my parents to come around sometime and bring their grandchildren to meet the horses. The weekend we visited their home changed the course of our life.
When we arrived at the ranch in 2012, we had no idea what to expect. Our daughter was only four-years-old and the boys were eight and nine. We walked into the open pasture, hundreds of acres of golden hills stretching as far as the eye could see, with 70 plus horses peacefully on the ridge. We knew we were standing somewhere we had never been and yet we were completely at peace. I remember my husband whispering, “I want us to have these experiences more often.” I knew exactly what he meant. It was that feeling of completely opening ourselves up to something new with no expectations of the outcome. We felt free, wild, yet tranquil all in the same breath, and we knew we wanted more of it.
Almost three years later, to the day, we returned to the ranch. We were anxious because it had been a while and we were not sure if we had built up the experience in our minds to the point where it would be different when we arrived.
Minutes, after we greeted the owners with hugs, a foal, was born. The kids rushed outside to see it stand for the first time, unsure of its footing and yet so determined to run through the parched meadows. Our children were the first humans to touch the filly and the owners gave the kids the honor of naming her. Her mother’s name was Chili, so after much deliberation, they settled on Miss Pepper. As we watched the sunset from the covered porch, keeping an eye on mom and baby, letting silence fill pauses with ease, we felt the overwhelming freedom from the past two years wash over us.
There are certain places that command presence – places where cell phones and tweeting would be so discordant that it would be offensive. These guidelines are not stated or written anywhere. They are understood the moment the beauty and majesty of such a place come into focus. The presence of such places never leaves us, and can even change our lives if we are open and aware of the moment before us.