This past Saturday, families from Cedar Brook Community Church’s The Bridge program came out to enjoy a restorative day in nature. This group of single moms and their families was led by Angela, a volunteer we have seen before with one of our favorite past groups, The Samaritan Women. Angela remembered how wonderfully peaceful and healing our farm had been for these past women – and was excited to offer this experience to the women and children of The Bridge.
We began the day with a slow hike around the farm. We stopped often to take in the natural beauty and catch our breath. Occasionally, the kids would bolt ahead to fawn over an interesting something in the trail. The moms chatted with one another and asked what kind of tree this is, and that is (magnolia, weeping beech).
We ended the hike at the main barn, where we went out into the field to love some animals. As is common, the goats were the first to come over, demanding love and attention. Everyone obliged, scratching behind Flint and Arrow’s big floppy ears, and stroking down their backs. We then collected our horses, Bylgia and Fandi, for the main event.
Before we could begin doing some art therapy (finger painting on the horses), we got out the grooming kits and set everyone to work brushing and currying all the dirt and mud from the horses. We love to watch people really lose themselves in this process – it is such a deep sensory experience that connects them to this much larger animal.
Once the animals were all clean, we got out the paints and brushes. Immediately, every got down to business – painting flowers and bumble bees on our horses. It was wonderful to see the moms and children work together to create this piece of art. We were especially delighted to see their program pride as one woman wrote ‘Bridge’ on Fandi’s back. It was the group’s signature.
When painting was done, everyone grabbed a soapy sponge and got to work cleaning up. Fandi and Bylgia were grateful for the bath – and showed that gratitude by promptly rolling when we released them back into their field!
After a quick lunch in our pavilion, the families rejoined us for some time with the animals. After all, chickens hadn’t been held yet and the cows hadn’t gotten the opportunity to lick everyone! Everyone enjoyed the comfort of the animals and was exceptionally grateful for the day at the farm. We hope to see this group again soon!