by aphotographie6

March was a crazy month this year. In it were the seasonal changes of a new spring, paired with a roller coaster that I call “everyday life”. I do believe that our lives often reflect the changing seasons of the year.

Jon and I found ourselves packed into the car, headed for West Virginia and the people he calls family. I had images of rolling hills filled with old trees and gray clouds, and that image was correct. What I did not imagine were the people I would meet; some of them rough and some of the graceful, and some of them just plain wonderful. This post is about one of those wonderful people.

Donna Morningstar is the wife of an acclaimed local music legend in West Virginia, Mike Morningstar. My Jon has looked up to Mike for years, and their invitation to spend a couple days with them on their farm seemed like an island of hope in the middle of a hard month. So we packed the car, got on the road and set out with high hopes. Little did I know that I would be finding a calming soul in Donna when I arrived. I would get as much out of this visit as Jon would from sitting and playing music with Mike.

When we pulled up to their house after 24 straight hours on the road, we were greeted by a small woman with long black hair. The porch was filled with gourd instruments, grown in the garden and shaved by hand. This was the kind of home that had bad TV signal and chickens eating in the driveway. This was a good place.

Having trained horses for years, Donna had also become a “collector” of sorts, somehow acquiring her seven horses and ponies and a donkey through various friendships and clients. Each has their own story, and after hearing all of them I can’t help but wonder if every horse isn’t some sort of glorious and majestic misfit in the world. Big animals, they require an insane amount of care and can easily fall sick.

Below is proof of the morning I spent out on the farm with my camera in hand, falling Donna around as she made the morning feeding stops and let them out to pasture. I found that this small and humble woman embodied grace and beauty in the best way, from her soft voice to the way she cares for every living thing around her. Enjoy.

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