Friday, January 2, 2009

PhoenixDown Farm, what IS in a name?

My little patch of God's Green Earth has gone through several names over the years. It started out as Caledonia Hills Farm back when I first bought it with my ex husband in the early 1990's. There wasn't really a reason or meaning behind that name, I just like the sound of it. Being a bit obsessed with all things Scottish I got the name from reading far too many books about Scotland and seeing it called Caledonia.

Somewhere during the years of my marriage to my ex my dreams of this ever being a farm of any type slowly faded and died as I realized that my dreams were never going to come true so I might as well just give up. For a while my farm had no name. But then my ex was kind enough to leave (I mean that sincerely, I was unable to realize it at the time but now I know his leaving was the second best gift he ever gave me. The best gift being my daughter, obviously).

After he left I decided my place needed a name again. I renamed it when I got it put entirely into my name, and I called it Braidwater Farm. Now this name has great meaning for me but it is hard to explain and put into words. It represents the way the paths of our lives are so entwined, the flow of life, and the futility of trying to control life instead of flow with it and make the best of the cards you have been dealt. That name lasted only a very short time, because then I fell for my husband and we married and I rented the place to his brother and sister in law and it went back to being nameless.

But when we started to talk about moving back I got the urge again. The urge to name my place. To give it a final name, one that would stick, one that would last, one that would have meaning for me and would represent something important for me.

So I named it after an item in a video game.

No, no! Don't laugh! It sounds silly and flippant but I put a lot of thought into this!

First, this game has huge meaning to me and to my husband. It's only, like, the video game we emotionally bonded over when we were just friends and before we became romantically involved. It ranks as one of the favorite video games of all time for both of us. Final Fantasy VII. Now the use of the item brings my farm name meaning as well. See, the Phoenix Down was an item that would revive a "knocked out" character. IE, it would bring them back to life if they got killed in battle.

The Phoenix is a mythical beast. According to Wiki: "A phoenix is a mythical bird with a tail of beautiful gold and red plumage (or purple and blue, by some sources [1]). It has a 600-800 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again." It rises from the ashes of it's former life to start anew. let me tell you, as someone who had given up on ever having her hopes and dreams come true, that mythology has a LOT of appeal. For someone who spent a long time feeling dead inside, as if her heart and soul had been burned to ash... yeah.

BUT WAIT! That's not all! There is more! Most of my animals are rescues. Either i adopted them from a rescue or shelter, or I rescued them (from abusive or neglectful owners, or from the side of the road injured, or however they fell into my "nest"). Many animals I have rehabbed and rehomed, and many I have brought into my family. But in all of their cases they landed in my nest as ashes... damaged by their former life in some way... and comforted and nurtured here they were reborn into a new life where they would never be abused or neglected. A mother bird lines her nest with her own soft under feathers, the down. It gives her babies a soft warm place to live while they grow and develop and learn to fly. Or in the case of the Phoenix, to fly AGAIN.

I got the idea for this name not because it came from a video game I loved, but because when I looked at my late pony, Jamie, I remembered where he came from, how he was when I bought him, and how he had been given a new life with me... and the Phoenix just seemed such a wonderful representation of that. Even if I buy my next horse, this place will always have the heart of a rescue. Some day I want to foster for Chance's Miniature Horse rescue. Maybe do pony and mini horse rescue on my own.

I look at my dogs, the one from a rescue and the other from the shelter... and at my cats, two which I bottle fed for weeks because their stray mother was hit by a car in front of my house when they were 6 hours old, two who were abandoned by their stray mother in our carriage house at 2 weeks old, one who was born to a cat who was given to me by an owner who didn't want her any more and she promptly dropped 5 kittens in my bedroom (she and 4 of the kittens found new homes and one stayed here with me. He will get his own entry some day, hehe). I look at them, and how their lives rose from the ashes, and I look at my own life and the way *I* have been reborn and I know why I call this Place PhoenixDown Farm.

I think this name is going to stick.

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