There is a place in this world for every person who takes a brush in one hand, and a can of paint in the other, and wanders into the sun seeking change.
There are jumps out there on every cross country course all over the world that need you. They lay there, naked and afraid, until you come with your brush and your can and save them.
It is often a lonely journey, this quest as an eventer-volunteer-jump painter. A single worker bee, seeking the light, takes the paint and changes the world (or maybe just the color of the big table this year).
Painting jumps allows you to think as you splash and spill. You think about bringing gloves next time. You think about falling off the stool as you climb down from a really big jump. You think about the meaning of the universe.
Many events all over the world need jump painters. And it’s a great time to get your volunteer hours, to commune with your cross country muse, to make a difference and satisfy your artistic, creative urges. Well, sort of.
Don’t get me wrong. It can be hard work. It is often hot — the better to let the paint dry. Your arm gets sore from holding the brush. There may be bees, gnats, mosquitoes, deer, stickerbushes, poison ivy, or irritating non-workers who stop by to criticize. Take them all on with a zen philosophy of, “I’m doing it — and you’re not.”
There is not much art in painting or staining a great big Intermediate or Advanced table a plain brown. But it looks imposingly beautiful when you are done, and stand back to check for spots you have missed. At touch here, a swipe there, and it’s done. You do get a certain satisfaction in completing a job, seeing it stand there, proud and ready to do its part as a part of a big important course for the event.
Of course, it is also done with a group, and in that case, can be great fun. What is better than being out on a cross country course for hours with happy people who enjoy doing the work too. You are all making the event happen. It’s the start of a great party! And you get to be there at the beginning of what will become a great event.
There is something mystical about big jumps out in a field without horses or galloping string or decorations yet. They stand there waiting to be a part of a Big Deal. They await their photographs and horses like grand servants in an outdoor mansion, graceful and elegant yet ready to serve.
But until you go and worship them with your paint and brush, they are not ready. You get to fix that. So be a painter of jumps, no matter how big or how small. The course waits for you. Go.
And Go Eventing.