Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's in a Name

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
~ Juliet

Stop and smell the carbuncles just doesn't have the same ring to it... 
Wow - things have been so busy! Thankfully I have a minute to post, so here is  our name story...

I decided to parlay the story of Abbey's name into words for the ole' blog. As a lover of imagery, descriptive writing, and visual arts, symbolism is pretty important to me. Most people will agree that names are rather significant. I think most kids dreamed of changing their name to something much more suitable at some point in time. I, myself, narrowly dodged a bullet before I made an entrance into the world, which I discovered when I found my mom's list of baby names. Only two names had three stars... Kristen, and Belinda. What? I am not sure, but I am fairly certain we don't have any Belindas in the family, so where that came from I don't know. Its a perfectly fine name, but man-oh-man, I can't imagine my life as a Belinda.

Anywhodle, the I was a pretty unimaginative pet namer for the early years of my life. My first rabbit, a grey and white lop-eared beast, was named Smokey. My second rabbit, a smaller black lop with one ear up and one ear down and a white paw, was named Shadow. Our dog, a cute apricot-colored miniature poodle who was a gift from the aunt (who wanted to buy me a horse) who lived in California, was named California Apricot, or Callie, for short. I know. Mind. Blown. I am also fairly certain that every lizard I ever caught and forced into captivity was named Lizzie. Nutmeg, my current dog came with that name when I adopted her, and it really suited her, so she kept it. We tried a bunch of other names, but that one just stuck. She also kind of looks like a nutmeg in coloring, so there you go!

Well, when I  found myself handing over the check for Abbey, I knew I wanted to change her name. I felt like she was getting a new beginning, and that the name was a way for me to make her mine more than a monetary transaction ever would. Her registered name stayed the same, but her barn name, Rory, was too much of an awkward mouthful for me even though it was so short. So, I started thinking about the registered name to see what I could get from there. Unbridled Aurora is definitely a big name for a little horse.... nothing came to me. Then aurora... aurora borealis... A.B.... Abby. I liked it. But just Abby, it wasn't quite there yet.

The barn and horses have always been my sanctuary, a sacred place. From the first time I set foot in the stable at Girl Scout camp, I knew I was home. A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. The use of such places as a safe havens caused them, by extension to be used for to describe any place of safety. For thousands of years people have sought the solace of a sacred place in abbeys... the building or buildings occupied by a community of monks or nuns.

My Abbey is truly that sanctuary for me.

When I told the story of her name to the man I bought her from, a man who had become my horse dad and called me his daughter when he introduced me to people, he got a look like he had seen a ghost on his face. I asked him what was wrong, and he looked at me with narrowed eyes and told me that Abby was the name of his daughter's first horse that she ever broke out herself, and that she had been a sorrel paint. This was years ago, and that horse has been gone for quite some time. He had never talked about her before then. We were both kind of quiet, and I know that to me that was a sign that it was meant to be. Fast forward a few years, and when my mom was visiting me in my new barn and went for a little spin on Abbey, she gave me a huge hug and told me how proud she was of me, and that she had always dreamed of having a little brown and white paint horse. I always saw myself with a bay or chestnut hunter/jumper type gelding when I dreamed my horsey dreams as a kid, so no one was more surprised than me that I feel in love at first sight with this little Western Pleasure Paint mare, but it all makes a little more sense now.

Whether or not there is or isn't divine intervention, or magic, or fate involved in life, I guess I like to think that there is, at least a little if we look for it. Good, rational decision making is still important, but sometimes that leap of faith is worth taking, and there is more to a name than just some letters in a familiar phonetic arrangement.


  1. What a good story! Abbey sounds like it's exactly the perfect name for her!

    1. Thanks :) Its always nice when things feel like there is a reason and meaning behind them, I think :)

  2. I love this! It really does seem like some things are just meant to be :)

    1. Thanks Jodi :) It's nice to remember the things that make life seem more magical even in the day to day routine.