Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
John W. Gardner
The blogosphere hosts an abundance of smart, educated, interesting and unique individuals. There is a range of Ph.D, JD, MD, you and me and everything in between. People who travel all over the world, often to far off places, people who live in countries not of their birth. People native to countries that I will never visit. Artists, writers, dreamers, smart, witty, urbane people who can delight you, make you think beyond your borders and people within your borders who through their intellect make you wonder about their lives and your own.
So as I explore these places, these often deeply personal spaces, sometimes flip and irreverent glimpses of life, I wonder at my own ordinariness. Where, I wonder, do I fit into this unbelievable arena of extraordinary? I read their words, I am pulled into their places and I think, whoa. I'm so ordinary.
Just Jules is doing something called 'I Am' and you fill in the blank. I must put a photo of my response on my blog on white paper in black marker. Those of you who have followed me from the start know I am Wonder Woman and you know why. My answer got me thinking about my extraordinary ordinariness. How we are all extraordinary, but we don't look and see. We see the lives of others and we sigh. That is so much different from my ordinary life. And it is. It really is, and it probably is wonderful and exciting and fulfilling. But in some way it is also ordinary to the person living it.
I thought of my ordinary life. I thought about the things in my life that are extraordinary and yet so ordinary.
The ordinary things: giving birth to a child and rearing him to a kind, productive manhood. Or witnessing and sometimes aiding in dozens of lives being born to my mares over the long years. Listening to that nicker as mama talks to her baby for the first time, seeing that small body attached to so much leg struggle to rise and stay standing. Hearing the first suckling sound as baby finds the source of life in mama's udder. Watching them run for pure joy and being so fortunate to see them thrive.
Facing the extraordinary that sometimes happens in an ordinary life. Working in concert with volunteer firefighters to free a pregnant mare from a collapsed pole barn on a February morning. Feeling the rush throughout the body of relief when she is up and out of the wreckage and alive. Then the heartbreaking sadness when the filly she carried and nurtured dies at four months.
Ordinary on a breeding farm, but not in my core, to watch my foundation mare bleed to death after foaling her colt. Realizing I can't mourn the mare, I have her son to raise. Keeping him alive and raising him to be Zing. So I mourn the mare still, because I never got the opportunity to do it when I needed to. So I cry as I write about her. And I wonder in amazement at the foal I raised to this gentle horse.
I have managed to stay married to my second husband for many years. This is not always easy, I think because it becomes so ordinary. Maintaining a marriage is ordinary and very extraordinary.
Being bitten, stomped, tossed, pushed, trampled, dragged. And I still like raising horses. An often ordinary day on a breeding farm. Watching the breeding horses talk to one another over the fence line and knowing its not all ordinary, sometimes it's magic.
Holding an animal in your arms as it takes its first or its last breath, around here that is ordinary. And it is another moment of magic. The coming of life and the final wisp of breath as life leaves its shell. It's just as important to tend to dying as to arriving. Very ordinary, but so extraordinary.
Knowing I'm so much more than I ever thought I was, but realizing I'm less than I could be. And having to live with it.
And I am Wonder Woman because I am. I don't live in an exotic location, I don't spend my days with clever people. I spend my days with clever horses and annoying dogs. I go to these places via the internet and I yearn a bit for the lives so different from my own, these people who look beautiful, are funny and smart and chic. I look at my ever expanding waist, my feet encased in work boots, my gnarled hands with dirt under the nails and my wardrobe that consists of elastic waistbands and tee shirts. I tell stallions to put it away, I give a balding horse his herbs and hope he will be OK, I pull burrs out of manes, notice when they are sick, spend my life in their company. I often believe I speak their language better than my own. I made the call to live this ordinary life. They in turn made me Wonder Woman. I am deeply grateful.