Splashes of Serendipity


Tonight was one of those nights! I share it with you because you will no doubt relate to those brief and almost insignificant ordinary moments when there is a burst of joy and connection. It was Kaheka and Amoura meeting me, not only meeting me but sandwiching me. They were coming just for me, not for themselves. Amoura wanted a head rub, but tonight that was for me. She is stand-offish, and it was her way of inviting me to touch and connect; and also her way of letting me know I was in good favor. I was more than that. I was her partner!

What happened before that was remarkable. When I arrived at the barn, there was no horse in sight. They must have been so hungry that they were out in pasture, I thought. Wrong. When I opened the barn door all of them were standing there in the barn as a big surprise because the August storm was sailing through with all of its rumblings, boomings, and fancy but scary fireworks. Seeing them all together in the barn was a first and I was stirred by joy even though it was somewhat bittersweet. They were all allowed in the barn because of the new head guy. Dollar, the former, died a couple of weeks ago, and he was not so kind about sharing the barn shelter. That was burdensome for me. He would not allow the herd in the barn even during the worst storms. What do you do with a horse that does that? Lock him in his room? Ground him with deprivation of privileges for a number of days? I was actually addressing the issue spiritually but it was not resolved before he died. No matter that flaw, we all miss him, a lot! But to find the remaining 4 horses huddled together sheltered from the rain was heartwarming. This was a sweetness that Dollar left for us, probably one of his many instructions he left behind to take care of me and his herd.

The evening was abundant with more surprises, the ordinary becoming extraordinary, or the other way around, the extraordinary becoming ordinary as it just kept happening even up until minutes before I left when Amoura came to the gate just to say goodbye. Mariah who rarely makes a point to come up to me, came with her big eyes glowing in the partial moonlight. She taught me something new that I think has been presented to me all along but I hadn’t yet been aware. She walked up to me and just stood close facing me. My instinct was to reach out and touch her, but something stopped me. Often in similar situations, reaching out turns them away. Many years ago my first horse and guide taught me to stand side by side one of the mares without touching her, just standing near in silence. Last night was the first time I realized that is what the horses do with each other and also with me. They come to stand near, not to touch or interact beyond just the connection of standing beside each other. When Amoura came to say goodbye, I knew not to reach out but just to simply say, goodnight. It was so quietly powerful and deep.

Amoura was a strong player in the splashes of serendipity. I had opened the gate for one horse to walk out of a small corral where he eats. Amoura went in to scavenge. I use halters rarely and mostly find that my body gestures help move them if necessary and lately invitation is working at times which is quite fun! I also look for synchronicity, that moment when they are ready to move when I am ready for them to move and vice versa. This time I invited her to come out. She ignored. Finally I explained to her I was letting another horse in that is more dominant than she and that she probably didn’t want to be trapped in there with him. Much to my surprise, she turned and walked out. I love that wave of happiness that rolls gently through my heart when these easy synchronicities take place. Mariah did that for me as well when I forgot to take the lid off of her supplement bucket. In the past she would get frantic and turn the whole bucket over spilling her soft food all over the ground. Tonight she walked over to me to remind me. I acquiesced immediately.

There were three horses that needed to change positions in order for me to close up gates before leaving. I invited them but nothing happened. I stood still not as a technique but just to enjoy the warm evening and the after smells from the rain, and to simply hang with the horses. All of a sudden, responding to some hidden signal, they moved away in sync as if choreographed, each to new locations. Gates were locked up and that same wave gave me the delightful feeling I would get as a child while riding the horses on the merry-go-round at the carnival. But this ride tonight was better than any carnival ride.

Shortly before my departure, I headed out to pasture around the corner from the grove of bushy trees to look wishfully for Dollar to come back to life and come trotting to me through the foggy night even for a brief moment. I just wanted to see him again even in the distance, even only his dark form through the mist. He didn’t appear but he was there and I had another cleansing session as my grief poured out on the trampled dry grasses and my sobs dissipated into the droplets of water in the air that surrounded me.

As I quieted, I heard a munching sound behind me. The herd was a distance away at that point, but I knew who had followed me. It was Amoura allowing me my space but being close by. She often quietly appears tiptoeing like a special fairy when I am sad and crying and will softly let me know she is there. This time it was her grazing sounds, sometimes it is a simple soft twirl of my hair, a nudge on the back of my head, my shoulder, my arm. She does not seem to want interaction when doing this so I assumed that this time also.

I walked by her and continued. She then came past and intercepted me, stopping in front of me broadside. I stood still as she maneuvered her body very close like a car backing up then moving forward a little closer to the curb. I did not reach out to touch. She then wrapped her neck around me in a most incredible and unique hug. She did not touch me, she only gestured the hug, honoring both of our issues of trust when it comes to touching each other. She’s been slugged by another and I’ve been bitten and kicked by her. That was a hug that will live with me forever. After all, she and I are on a love journey together. She, a most challenging horse when it comes to physical interaction, but she gave me an evening rich with connection and safe touch.

It was that same Amoura that minutes later said goodnight at the gate, and then disappeared. It was another splash of serendipity, but it was a whole evening swim in the gentle mystical waters!


Aromatic Bliss: Horse Heaven

From Otto’s roses, Westport Inn and Deli

I was giving  Shaman Tal a rub down before he left for the far pasture to graze. I noticed his body fragrance. I told him he smelled like a flower, like perfume in a horsey sort of way. Maybe he’d been using an aftershave, I teased. I pressed my nose into his coat and took a long breath and began thinking about what smells tell us, and how they make us feel. Sometimes when one of my horses is not feeling his best, I detect a metallic odor, or sometimes sour. Most often though, it is delicious and pure.

Shaman Tal with friend Monica

In the book, “What Horses Say,” by Julie Dicker, it is mentioned that different breeds and even different colored coats smell differently. Tal is black and white and sure enough his black coat has a different smell than his white. Apparently sometimes other horses don’t like the smell of a particular horse. And it makes me wonder about those highly fragrant fly repellents we humans insist on using. I learned early on that some of my more expressive horses didn’t like the fragrance. They would run away when I started to apply it, until I finally found one with a more natural fragrance.

My favorite smell on the ranch is the seasoned horsey smell mixed with crushed apple breath. I inhale deeply and hold, savoring the feeling it evokes. I’m transported through time to memories and places like old homestead ranches and abandoned apple orchards where the nature spirits run freely. It taps that familiar home feeling that was interwoven through my childhood years and is now a tie to my past. It makes me want to ride the top of a wave until the sun sets in the western sky.


Shaman Tal



The horses are in heaven in their new pasture. I am too when I go there to care for them. I sketch. I feel. I grumble that I’m not good enough. The horses remind me that my sketching is not about that. It is to connect with the horses, and with life, at levels unaware as well as aware. It is about healing.
Mariah, my mystical mare, today, faster than I can grasp, took off across the new and open pasture. Freedom. Space. Comfort. Solid ground. No more deep mud. Pure pleasure. Release. Free of restriction. She throws her head to the sky and her tail juts out from her rear like a fancy tent before cascading below and away into the wind. So light on her feet, a buck, a kick out, so effortlessly, a beautiful prance, then off again flinging her head, loving the feeling of her body.
Kaheka, thoroughbred off the race track, wasn’t a winner, but a beauty for sure. “Masculine Beauty,” a friend endearingly calls him. Today he sprinted across the pasture. Body low, front legs and back legs stretched out, in my mind’s memory from hoof to hoof to the max, parallel to the ground. He flies. He flies like a jet. No! Jets fly like him. His kind came first. He effortlessly flies. I feel the power of his rear engines, and his determination to conquer with his body.
Mariah dances. She rises up into the sky in perpendicular fullness; Kaheka is compressed low, stretched from head to toe. Speed, both of them. He, racing straightaway across the distance; she pirouettes, and spirals in the clouds. He, an arrow from a bow. She, a graceful deer catching the currents both wild and tamed.


They are both in me. Awakening. Flying. Dancing.
“On the Run” quick charcoal sketch

A Candle is Burning


Tonight I’m wanting to curl up cozily and write about me. I want to go inward with myself. So while the weather outside is nasty, inside there is heat; and warm foods are cooking on the stove. The horses have all been fed. Henii, my airedale mix, is on her perch which is up one step from where I am sitting. She is drying out as she slumbers with one eye open. I just ladled myself some hot red lentil soup, a spoonful of brown rice still steaming, and a touch of mayonnaise to make it creamy. I’m tucked in lovely tonight. The lights are dim, a candle is burning. I shall write.

Pasture Music

I carefully maneuver the car to the pasture gate to unload a couple of bales of hay for my six horses. Opening the door, the coolness of the coastal air greets me and becomes my titillating hostess for the evening. Its crispness teases at the cheeks and tingles in the nostrils, inviting a familiar autumn-time nostalgia, a lighthearted feeling of laughter and happy voices. It brings hope of good things just around the corner.

Reflecting the clean sharpness of the air, the sounds that normally fade into the background become strikingly bold, untempered by sight and thought. I become mesmerized by the clunking of feed buckets hitting together as I walk, the swish-swooshing of a water trough running over before I can get to it, the rattling of pellets as I pour them into their hard containers, and the rumble of the hay cart as its worn metal wheels scrape across the packed gravel road.

Filled with youthful exhilaration, I’m surrounded by sound that is bewitched. It has become a wild musical symphony formed from the ordinary; amazingly alive and delightful to the depths of the soul.


Gifts for the Soul: Meditation in the Pasture


It is 10 PM.  I’m at the barn across the road from the western waters, letting my old guy out of his eating paddock for the night. The sky has a soft glow as it awaits the moon to crest the hill behind us. I walk into the pasture where the other five horses are scattered, some sleeping, some eating.

Shaman Tal is sprawled on the ground peacefully and I can hear him snoring. He is feeling safe and free of discomfort for these moments of blissful sleep. Goose bumps dart through my body like a giggle, and tickle my stomach for the joy of it. I stop to merge with the feelings as my eyes mist and my lips smile in spontaneity. I linger as unusually warm November air laps at my face.

Finally I move further across the pasture, and Kaheka who is being very affectionate these days stretches his head in my direction and gives me five kisses with his soft, silky muzzle. Then Apolinaire, the wise old-one, offers me one rare kiss and scolds me when I ask for more.

Higher in the pasture, in the dim night light I can see the long expanse of horizon where ocean meets sky. I notice how quiet the waters are tonight with only a playful splashing from somewhere in the distance. This is my new home. I had never thought I could replace the beauty of my former, but it has been equaled if not surpassed. Welcome, my soul.

Rhythm and Beauty: Frivolous Moments?

    Amoura                                                                pastel by bev  

I just finished the post that had held me captive for many weeks. It is not published yet, but soon will be. Taking a break, I went to the oversized open door from my writing studio to the upper floor deck and stood. I felt the day as it was taking part in its evening meditations. The horses below the deck had come in for a quick nap. I looked down at Tal’s bright white coat and poured out love. I felt something flow out of me into his body and I let it happen without trying to analyze or assist. It was beautiful, it was healing, for him, and for me.

The sun, low in the sky, magically outlined everything it touched with its warm golden light painting long shadows on the eastern slopes. There was a peaceful quiet, a calm as insects buzzed in the sun bleached pastures reminding me of cozy childhood feelings of safety and security.

As birds darted to and fro gathering dinner for their families, they glistened in the light of the yawning sun. The horses found their way back to their favorite places in the pasture nearby waiting for their nighttime snack. One stood watch over me, Amoura, who named herself “love.”

As I bring my attention back to myself, the dog sleeps peacefully behind me, and the sun peeks around the building and casts its end of the day warmth on my rubber boots soothing my tired feet. All is well, I feel. I let myself linger in the feelings, wondering why we humans think these are only frivolous moments when instead we are communing with the divine and allowing it to do it’s cosmic work.