We had an interesting week here on the horse farm. It is foaling season, and lots of babies have come into the world this year. I think we are about "half-way" into the total number to appear this season, and lots of "moms" are in the fields, looking a bit uncomfortable.
So...I was returning from errands the other day, and received a call from the farm manager, asking if I wanted to see a foaling. "It never gets old"...the quote from a friend who is a retired OB-GYN. The celebration of life is great in so many contexts, and the foaling process on a horse farm is no exception.
Charlie McKinlay is a marvelous farm manager who knows horses better than anyone. I love going to Keeneland Race Track to see the thoroughbred run when Charlie is in the house. He knows the business. He knows what everyone is saying about each horse. No matter how dirty, tough, and frustrating I know this business must be, everyone sees the beauty in bringing a new little one into the world. Baby thoroughbreds are just precious...
I was reminded that moms are the same everywhere...totally delighted with their young. They protect them from all dangers, and they begin to teach them immediately. Every now and then, you see the mom as she develops a relationship with this beautiful tiny creature. They are just now meeting, after months in the womb, and they are so sweet to watch.
We stood around for a while...waiting for the big moment...the moment when the little foal stands (usually around 40 minutes). This is where it got really painful for me. The little colt tried and tried to stand, and fell to the ground over and over again. I was encouraging the foal, but I knew it took an incredible amount of energy to get on his feet. The farm manager actually at one point went to the foal to put his legs in front, giving him the technique for success. Of course, he didn't necessarily "listen." Ahem......
After many tries, tumbles, and failed attempts, the little one did it! He stood! Then with those wobbly, never-been-tested long legs, he began to walk straight for the danger zone of the landscaping borders with rather large rocks. Catastrophic for a "new walker." To the barn ya go, baby!!
It only takes a day or so for these new little foals to begin running and testing out those little skinny thoroughbred legs...and they work!! They might appear awkward, but they do work! Success!!
It seems that thinking and transfer can be used in most professions. We work, struggle, and try to "get it right" every time. It doesn't happen, of course, but that doesn't lessen the sincerity of the journey to the goal through time. We know where we're headed, and try our best to arrive.
Take a look at the "products" of your life. What do you have to show for those struggles and attempts. It might be positive experiences, trips, applause, recognitions, changed lives in those we have influenced, etc.
I am currently completing the orchestration for an arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner, and it would be difficult to number the times where "not a clue" was the basic response of my mind...but...after consultation with another choral director, trial and error in maximum doses, and straight out tenacity, I somehow got beyond the "not a clue" syndrome. So...I began to ponder the number of products I've had where this same type of challenging process has occurred. I realized that every octavo I have ever written represents overcoming some type of musical struggle...possibly many struggles...not those that are life-threatening, just decisions that had to be made at a musical crossroads. I actually went back and counted the number of publications where success was accomplished in the eyes of an editor or (as with my company now)...my own eyes. I want you to know that at this point, I am grateful for (and celebrate) all 506 publications. Why? Tenacity led to the completion of a questionable task where music "happened" from beginning to end, and most of the time, I had no idea how it was ever going to come together. Did some octavos "fall by the wayside?" Yes! They were not all good ideas. Editors decided for me on numerous occasions, and I decided "no" for myself on numerous occasions. That's called "trashing a file" in my daily writing process. However, for all of those challenges, I say a heartfelt "thank you," because they all contribute to growth...and... I...can...stand!! Woo hoo!!