[Editing issues: I apologize for the lack of paragraph separation in this published post. The edited page shows it correctly but I can’t get it to transfer to the published page.]
What to write. So much going on, so much not going on. “Put on business mind, not art mind,” he said. I try and it doesn’t work. My Guidance says again and again, “Do your art. Write.” When I do, good things happen, but it is scarey, and I’m easily distracted doing other things that seem equally important. Then I forget until things go bad again.
The horses are in heaven in their new pasture. I am too when I go there to care for them. This place has made the difference between heaven and hell. Sometimes I still linger in hell, but when I am with the horses on a day like today and yesterday, I could stay forever. FOREVER!
I sketch. I feel. I tell myself I’m not good at it. The horses remind me that is not what it is about. It is about connecting with the horses, and with life, at levels unaware as well as levels aware. It is about healing.
Mariah 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.
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.
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.
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.
Tonight I was giving 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.
In one of my favorite books, What Horses Say, by Anna Clemence Mew and 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 scent than his white. Apparently some horses on occasion won’t like the smell of another 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 sensitive 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 aroma 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. The familiar home feeling emerges, that which 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.
As I was preparing to write the next post on the Journey to Surrender, I decided first to wash a few windows in the studio above the barn where I’m writing. It’s a comforting space with windows on three sides looking out on a panoramic view of green pastures which gather around all 3 sides where the horses graze leisurely.
While washing the windows, I see an old coyote walking across the pasture in the distance. If my eyes don’t belie me, I think she’s a she who visits quite regularly, though we’ve referred to her naively as he. But today I notice that she squatted in the tall grasses just like my female dog does when I take her outside before bedtime.
In the spring winds, the grasses ripple in waves up the hill tantalizing my imagination that some unseen beings, perhaps ancient monks in long robes are chanting their prayers as they walk through the pastures leaving only the movement of the grasses as a hint of their presence.
The swallows are trilling their tweet-a-tweet chatter in chorus as they flit back and forth, first hovering on the wave of the wind and then dive bombing for a mouth full of insects to carry back to their nests above the balcony. A red-winged blackbird pauses briefly on the fence below and a raven flies high in the distance, engaged in the traditional battle between large birds and the small ones whose nests have been raided. An orange breasted bluebird teases me with a quick glimpse then flies away before I can linger with him.
Idyllic you say? Yes. It’s been mostly good here where I’ve done my work with the horses, or rather they with me. My heart is filled with gratitude for this time, and for this place.
The windows are clean revealing the beauty of old glass with its rippled distortions like the warm patina on a primitive antique. And now it’s time to write my next post on the Journey into Surrender.
The sun coming through the old apple tree shows dapples on his soft mahogany coat near where a saddle use to ride years ago. My hands finding energy waves, create moving shadows that twist in and out and then linger over special points on his large body. He lowers his head and closes his eyes.
Off in the far distance his broad but gentle form is silhouetted and framed by the blonde grasses of the pasture. Only a mental hint of his reddish bay coat and a towering live oak tree with its greyed green clusters bring color.
A spider carrying a white berry shape on its rear pauses on the wet sand by the creek waiting for the ground to stop quivering as I walk by.
Spider web tents gathered near the bottom of redwood trees are large angular bubbles ready to float away on the breezes except for their strong tethers holding them in place.
A fence rail between us, we both sleep. She with her soft horsey nostril pushed hard against my elbow, and I with chin lazily propped on my hand. Breezes flirt with her tail creating a shadow of some undiscovered snake-like sea animal with a disheveled mop for its head. At times quietly slithering, but with the quickening of the wind becoming a wild and hungry monster whipping ragged head and long lean body in a search…but never moving far from its source.