Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bye, Bye Bernice

     I regret the end of winter for just one reason. It means Bernice Ende will be leaving us. Bernice along with Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit have spent the last few months in Fort Edward, taking a break from their cross-country travels. But there's 4000 miles yet to go and the two Fjord Mares and their loving owner/rider need to get to it.

     Gwenne and I had a pleasant visit with Lady Long Rider and her horses Friday afternoon. She told us she hopes to be on the trail before the end of March, heading first to Lake Luzurne, then Athol and on across the Adirondacks, eventually crossing the St. Lawrence into Canada. From there a wandering route will take her to the West Coast and finally back home to Montana. Don't expect her to stay there for long though. She's been riding for the last eleven years covering some 24,000 miles on horseback!
     Bernice is a warm open person who has made many friends in her short time here. She grew up on a small dairy farm and I sense she felt at home in Washington County. She was as interested in our farm as we were in her travels. Before she leaves she will have given more than two dozen talks in the area. The last will be at the Fort Edward Visitors Center at 7pm, March 21.
     Ende is a fine blend of thoughtful and thought provoking. In an America that seems ever more divisive she brings a considered perspective to the chasm between the time-honored traditions of the East Coast and the rugged individualism of the Mountain West. (Montana friends warned her against coming this way. Maybe they feared she'd be run off the road by a liberal Democrat driving a foreign car to a session with their analyst while taking a cell phone call from their investment advisor.)
     She embodies the adage that you get from a place according to what you give to it. Traveling at her horse's clip-clop pace she has time to get to know landscapes, communities and people. She often stops at schools and senior centers, inspiring everyone with her beautiful animals and courageous lifestyle.

     Listen to one of her presentations and you'll be left with many things to ponder. How you need faith to be an adventurer, to live deeply and fully. Faith in yourself, in others, in a simple belief that things will work out for the best. You'll think about simplicity and the siren lure of possessions. We live in a world that prods us to covet more and more things. But too many things, too much comfort and security, often comes with anchors and chains that keep us from freedom, spontaneity and fresh experience.
     I've heard the admonition: be a traveler, not a tourist. Bernice personifies that wisdom. She travels across the land and thru life with a deliberate, measured mindfulness. Few of us are ready to ditch everything for years of long riding. And we shouldn't. What's right for one gutsy little lady may not be right for us. But we can take some lessons from her. We can live a little more bravely, be a little less controlled by what's expected of us. It could be as simple as, say, if you live in Hudson Falls, going over to Granville and walking around town, eyes wide open, really seeing what's there.  Or maybe biking all the backroads in Hebron. How about canoeing the Hudson/canal corridor from Stillwater to Whitehall as some friends of mine did. And then (why not?) continuing up thru the Narrows to Ticonderoga, portaging over to Lake George and spending another week headed south!You get the idea - the world is out there waiting for our exploration. Even this little slice of the world called Washington County offers a lifetime of discovery if you engage it with lively curiosity.

     Thank you Bernice for sharing your warmth over this coldest of winters, for inspiring us to look at our time and place in a fresh and invigorating way. As you ride off towards many sunsets, the gratitude and affection of your new friends will be with you.

1 comment:

  1. No Comments! Or on the Black Mountain trip either! Does anyone KNOW about this site?