Random Shorts


Have you ever found yourself halfway back in time and space? Not entirely in the present and yet surely not having fully left the previous. This is where I am today.

It maybe because my present is so unformed and amorphous right now, unsettled, without shape or definition, that this slippage into a place from before could happen. Have I taken a step back? Am I searching in my past for some remedy to the present?

I have to look at that, see how it feels to wear that for a while. There is reason enough to feel that my current circumstances and choices are far from working in the practical, sensible, material sense. The past looks pretty damned good from that angle, with the little house and garden, predictability and companionship. It is easy to ignore the past discomfort, reasons I didn’t stay, and deny the person inside that I am re-finding now.

Much has changed for me, and those directly affected by my choices and the continuing unfolding of my life. It is true that we are independent beings, responsible for our own lives but we are also social beings living to a greater or lesser degree in community. The interactions with the other independent beings in that community impinge on our individual lives and choices.

I know that I cannot dismiss that reality and part of living as the independent being that I know I am, is to respond to the overlapping stories with integrity, compassion and truth. So, on the journey within my present there are times when the past asks to be seen and heard. It is not the same of course. I have evolved – things and people, times and places have changed. But the whisper of that reality, perhaps unresolved and still hanging, is in my present. So here I am.

  I realize, with a burst of clarity, that it is not because I  am physically and emotionally un-tethered in my present material circumstances, that I am in this current situation. It is rather because I am so fully in the present. The present that lives in me – in my center, my certainty and my comfort – that allows me to be again in a past physical place, with surprising comfort and ease.

Where am I? I am back in the house where I lived until six months ago. I am here to mind the dogs, water the garden and fill the space for the place-keeper who stayed when I left. He is away on a much needed and deserved break from this space. Time in a different space to re-find, as I have been doing, his present, new inner place.

It is testament to the patience, wisdom and courage we have both independently and uniquely drawn on that we can be in this place. A place of asking and receiving, giving and accepting. A place where each of us, for different reasons that have to do with our very different journeys, have to face whatever it is that is difficult to do. It is a step on the path to full healing from the old place, free of expectation or keeping a tab.

We can never go back – the past is the past. Looking forward robs us of the present and thus the opportunity to embrace the gift of the Now is missed. So I am indeed back where I used to live, temporarily, with no plans for the future beyond this Now. The trailing memories of the past after the initial explosion into my senses and heart, are now just that – soft clouds in the sky of my mind – as I am able to live in this Now.

The gift I was given, to come and be here for someone else, has given me peace and power in equal quantity. It is surprising isn’t it? When unexpected comfort rises from the discomfort, when the blind leap sets us free, when the conscious placement of old stories opens new possibilities.

So I am fully in the old space with a new present. I have picked tomatoes (new), watered roses (old) and worked out the new internet system. I am running the old trails, sleeping in the old bed oriented newly in the room. I clean the same counters and sit at a different desk.

I won’t be here when the present place-keeper comes back. But I will have had my present here and will give his to him – through my being here in this place while he is away in a different place making space for this one.

My story will continue, with a new present unfolding every day, and the memories of the past trailing quietly behind me. The demarcation between the past and present, the half way back and half way here, always gives way to and, in fact, is the present. Sometimes we just need to bump right into that line to know that. I am here, now, and doing fine.

And how is your Present?

 

Hello All. It has been a long, strange, many-stringed journey since late  March this year. Much has changed, much has been released and more  has been added, blooming in the desert of letting go.

I find myself invigorated through the deep work of live theatre even as I am almost totally bobbing like a cork on the oceans of uncertainty. The energy of creating in collaborative endeavor is like the sun and rain that feeds the vastness of an otherwise desolate terra firma. Fred & Mary, the world premier production that I began with in September last year, is finally fully underway. 14 actors, 4 designers, the playwright and director, stage manager and volunteers – we are all only 2.5 weeks from that surely coming opening.

Directing!

With so much of my life spread out among 4 different locations as I slowly drift into the unfolding of this next chapter there are two pillars of strength. One is the daily responsibility and community of the theatre work. It reminds me I am valuable, worthy, capable and smart. The other is the little grey horse who has managed to stay pretty close to me as I survey the possibilities while living in the moment.

Riding in the red rocks of Sedona, my path blessed by the heron, coyote and deer whose creeks and land I travel through on my four-footed partner, any fear and doubt is gently lifted. I am reminded that the universe is far greater than the tiny piece of my corner of it. Conversely ,and perfectly aligned, is also knowing that my corner of it is the most valuable gift that I have been offered.

Magic indeed is all around me and while there are times when it seems almost impossible that any order will come from the chaos, I am nestled in the arms of something as ordered, as calm and as powerful as any reality I could conjure.

Red Rocks/Grey Horse

As I say in the very first paragraph of the introduction to the Personal Magic book, ‘Personal Magic offers a way of being in the world, a way to live your life with power, resilience, hopefulness  and – ultimately – with joy.’

I am glad that I have spent a life time uncovering and embracing my personal magic, that I took time last year to articulate that in a book. It is guiding my ‘walk’ now as I have to follow up on that ‘talk’.

There will be more work and sharing of the book, more blogs and newsletters. For now I am busy and spreading out into myself again after a hiatus both of choice and circumstance. The balancing opposite poles of my life, the creative arts (theatre) and the earth (horses) are both, in their own ways, giving me haven and strength to nurture and share my magic.

I can only wish you similar opportunity and joy.

It has been a very full week with an extraordinary number of events big and small, far and near to my personal experience. It is a challenge to know what country to write about: Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the USA. Or what particular experience: the no fly zone; student protests; paying citizens not to complain; earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear reactors; or budget impasse.

Or which people: the rebels (or are they freedom fighters?) in Libya; the students in Morocco; the Saudi King; the incredible community-orientated post disaster behavior of the Japanese; or US congressmen/women.

Against this backdrop are also the personal things in my week taking place here in Cordes Lakes, AZ. Finally hanging most of our art in our house; meeting a couple from Idaho, long time friends of the dear man with whom I live; working on the garden in preparation for the series of guests and events in April; a perfect short run down to feed the horses and back; the new play reading, held in a little coffee shop, that explored the ideas of faith, belief, history and personal epiphany.

The global and national events I have been following on-line including the news sources of NY Times and Al Jazeera; NPR and the BBC; Facebook and Twitter have been startling.

I am inspired by the ordinary person trying to wrest from their government a shred of independence not to mention the possibility to stay alive in Libya. The protester who finds his/herself into something far deeper than the first attempt to be heard somehow connects with me. I am fascinated by the manipulations of a King trying to prevent the kind of uprising his peers and neighbors are facing.

I am profoundly moved by the survivor from Sendai, struggling with how to live now he/she has survived and I am stunned by the machinations of the politician, caught between promises and reality in the real world of ‘government’.

Personal events have been less well covered, but it is the mandate of living my life, in truth and with courage, that most consumes me. It has to. I cannot live another person’s life, and I cannot save the world. What I can do is be present.

In being present, I am both aware of and compassionate for those out of my immediate orbit. In being present I gather the pieces that help me to know and maybe understand what is happening out there. I also find the flashes of light that directly apply to my world, in its diversity and opportunity.

From the events in Libya I am motivated to speak out when I see injustice and repression; following the Moroccan story I am reminded that the public face of a place/person may well mask a reality beneath the surface. The King throwing money at a brewing problem serves to highlight for me that money is not the source of power and life and cannot solve all long-term problems. The lawmakers arguing over what social services to cut and how to maintain the defense, corporate and financial monoliths, afford me a glimpse into the souls of the damned.

However, it is the example of the people in Japan that most speaks to me, today, now. In the face of all that is lost, all that might yet be lost, as a group this culture seems to be able to rise above personal fear and anxiety to reach out to and accept help from others.

It may be that the Buddhist and Shinto spiritual roots of the culture somehow emerges from the DNA informing the response. It may be that when we are faced with truly great potential for destruction we suddenly rise to meet it, with all that human dignity and courage, compassion and generosity holds available deep within the soul.

Ultimately what all of those coalesce into is this. In the face of perhaps unprecedented vast global upheaval and change each of us comes face to face with fear. Fear of what is vastly unpredictable, rife with possibility for all consuming war and violence, for enormous pain, of irredeemable loss and destruction of all kinds. We come face to face with our helplessness in the face of such massive change.

The demand of Spirit then, is to access our personal courage, to enable each of us to stay in the present, pay attention, willing to both see and acknowledge these events.

Along with that ‘big picture’, we also arrive at the point of personal courage. Not just to truly note events in the greater world, but to pay attention, stay in the present, and become aware of personal fears and how often something arrives to ask you to step into your well of courage in order to truly address those fears.

For me, this week has been about facing the global as well as the personal. I have come to see that some of what I don’t do is only because I am afraid of what might happen if I do do! It is not lack of inspiration, time, skill or even money that prevents me. It is the weakness of fear.

So, I pay attention to the struggles, courage and weaknesses of others out there in the global sphere. Then I take a breath and look closer to home. After all, it is my own life and path to which I must attend. That is where my power lies. That is the avenue by which to assist others.

Last night was the full Super Moon, closer to the earth than it will be again until 11/2016. I took the opportunity to sit out there under her light, mottled by the scudding clouds, and reach into the universe.

This was a time to consciously connect with change, to allow the old to leave and embrace the new. I am required to step into my personal power with integrity and to move forward.

Change is happening whether we like it or not. It is best to take a place at the helm rather than be cut to pieces and drown in the blades and eddies of the engine as it runs us over. It is fear that paralyzes us, that renders us helpless.

The intensity and pace of change all around is real. The only real issue is how each of us will respond – at a communal level like the Japanese and at a personal level, specific to each challenge and associated fear of the individual.

When you pay attention to the global evolution, connect with universal power, you will step into your personal power. In this way you can bring to your immediate world and thus to the greater, the felt experience of hope, peace and joy.

I was pretty good at the weekly thing until the Dec when life got way too exciting (see previous posts). However, now that the Move has occurred, I will create routine and balance again. So Once a Week Minimum for me.

Also, walk the talk: creativity as a way to connect – with others, with self, with the universe.

If you like my posts, or have a comment or wish to subscribe! please do.

Thank you.

Sometimes a blog just kind of decides for itself what it will be about. I thought I knew  what I was going to write, and had even started but couldn’t get it to flow. Then last night I went and saw a film with the local film club and today is the day before the second anniversary of my Father’s passing. And here is the blog.

The film was The Horse Boy and it was a remarkable experience. Exploring so many things through the true story a family’s commitment to help their little boy diagnosed with Autism, for me it had a particular resonance. The power of love between parents and children, which in this story included a journey to Mongolia and the relationship between horses and Human Beings, Spirit and healing, has vibrated with me throughout the day.

When my father was traveling through his last few weeks on earth, I was there, and it was the foaling season on the horse property where he lived in Australia. The following year I wrote a story about that time and rather than rewrite it today, I include it below in its entirety.

The parallel between the two stories, of Rowan and his parents, myself and my Father may be tenuous to some. To me it is clear. When we can steep ourselves in the world of another with love and compassion even when we don’t fully understand their journey, when we stay open to the world and space about us – nature, horses and the people with whom we share that experience – then we are empowered, enlarged and aware of the blessings love bestows.

There are small miracles everyday and they often come through the mundane, the unexpected and during the times of great emotional turmoil. Whether as the child or the parent, those we love can, simply through their life lived, offer many opportunities for awareness, joy and wonder to the one who loves them.

This was my experience with my Father, and it was the experience of the Isaacson’s family on their journey with their son. May your love bring you such strength and memories and may you know that in turn you will provide the same to those who love you.

FOALING SEASON

The old black thoroughbred stallion lived in a gum-tree ringed, deep sand paddock, with a corrugated tin shed and wooden manger, fresh water trough and a wonderful view. I know that it is anthropomorphizing to say this, and my father would point it out to me, but I am sure Saul appreciated that view.

Whenever I went to visit the thoroughbred and cattle property in Victoria, I always made time to go and visit that horse. We’d stand quietly, almost side by side, with the electric fence between us and after a brief nod to each other – I didn’t have the courage to risk putting my hand through that fence – look out across the green pasture down the lane where the yearlings  cavorted. Some years there were up to 15 of them, boys growing into their legs and trying out their speed in short bursts.

To the right the girls, also leggy and given to heart-stopping bursts of racing through the old orchard, barely seemed to interest this grand old man, any more than the lads did. He still had a mare or two and always came through – gentlemanly, efficient and 100% successful.

The only time he crossed the sand to greet anyone was when my father came down to the yard just beyond the house. Sometimes it was with feed, or to lead one of those dancing youngsters up to the house yards. But more often in the last year it was for a walk, to see if the koalas were still in the big red gum, admire the new grass after the first rain of the autumn, or to listen to the many birds that lived in and around the river and surrounding land. But he always stopped to say hello and the horse always came over.

I remember I was living in the USA when he arrived, this fine new stallion on which my father planned to build his dream of breeding the best racehorse he could, maybe even a Melbourne Cup winner. Glossy pictures and later digital images of this handsome horse crossed the ocean, and while I bred Arabians and had a sexy little chestnut stallion of that breed, this big, black horse effortlessly commanded my respect and awe.

I had grown up with horses, working cattle, riding miles over the property in school holidays, and later helping with breeding and breaking in. Only then it was Arabs and that was what I stayed with. But there were always thoroughbreds in my family and with it that essential optimism in the face of seemingly nonstop setbacks and disappointments. I am an optimist myself but never tested the depth of that gift with the thoroughbred industry.

The first thoroughbred I can remember was a big red horse in my grandfathers’ huge wooden round yard, when I was maybe eight or so. I can’t remember his name but I do remember being told not to go in with him, even though there were other horses I helped with and even a pony to ride when I went there. I stood right up against the rubbed-shiny railings, twisted from the gum-tree limbs of which they were made, and let the smell and dirt he kicked up as he went by wash over me. It was thrilling in a scary way. I am sure that I have seen pictures of that same horse, enshrined in the photos of horses charging past the finishing post, necks stretched out in front of whomever is behind.

The names of the thoroughbreds I knew float through memory not necessarily attached to a horse, but more as a kind of song – Hasty Heart, Rougette, Daylight Dreams, Red Heights, My Pay Packet. My grandfather always had a racehorse or two, my Aunt and Uncle trained racehorses, quite successfully too, for many years. I had a boyfriend who was keen on racing and sometimes, at least when we were together, I went to the races.

But I never got what the fuss was about. It seemed very risky to me and I didn’t like betting, and won’t go to a casino. (I have other ways than gambling to lose my money!)

When my father, years after I had grown and moved to the USA, dived into thoroughbreds it was more for the breeding. Of course if you are a breeder you need winners and thus it is pretty much the same thing, just a different entry point.

I would come back every 3-4 years and the convoluted names and lines of breeding, the numbers of horses filling up the place – neatly separated by age, gender, stage and potential – increased almost manically. Books and magazines, newspapers and photos, a few trophies and other objects won sitting on sideboards and bookcases multiplied. Two more stallions joined the big black one, each a different line, bringing a new hope, a slightly new angle into the dream.

I don’t remember all the horses, or any of bloodlines, or where each of the items of recognition came from. I do remember how my father’s sheer enthusiasm and hard work drew me in, carried me along into the marvelous future, a belief that this time, this stallion, this mare, this trainer, this race would be what we had been waiting for, what he had been working for. When I was there, driving out to a pasture, leading a mare, admiring a new foal, surrounded by all those the beautiful horses, in that rich Victorian river land, I forgot why I didn’t like racing.

Under the spell of my father’s knowledge, his whirring mind embracing the game, and his genuine love of the horses, all I saw was the great hope, the magnificent dream and the incredibly hard work.

He didn’t do it alone of course. He had a partner in life who was every inch the worker and possessed as much knowledge and skill as he did with horses. Together they built up the numbers, prepared yearlings for sales, sold some, leased some and bred more.

He didn’t believe in God or have a particular religion. But he had faith. Faith in the land, birds, animals and the possibility of hard work alone. He struggled to be practical when in his heart he was a dreamer. Inspired by ideas, enthused by stories and powered by an inherent optimism and delight in life itself.

And most of all, he loved the horses even when they were eating every penny, providing the local vet with more work than he could handle, when the time and effort necessary was 24/7, when he could hardly make the walk to the yard where the old, black thoroughbred lived.

I have watched replays of horses who were galloped until their front legs snapped; I have seen horses, rail-thin, in muddy yards with dilapidated horse trailers in the corner; I have attended sales where horses went through simply as dollar signs – as few as possible out against all the potential possible dollars in.

I have also pushed back a great swell of tears as I witnessed a horse miraculously make it past the line of horses in front as it rounded the turn, until its nose bobbed first across that magic line. I have laughed at a field of foals dancing around their shining-coated mothers under huge gum-trees on green carpets of grass. I have seen a man lean on a fence and simply watch the horses in front of him, for a moment not counting money in and out or dreaming, but just marveling.

However it wasn’t until I spent eight weeks at the property, with my father and his wife that I really got what these horses meant to my family. Much of that time was the foaling season. Twelve foals born, always in the middle of night, often needing assistance, while my father was dying. We’d go out in the night and for a while we could tell him the next morning what we had been doing. His face would light up and there would be discussionabout how its legs looked, what its full brother or sister had done, a name.

For a while we were keeping one of the foals alive, encouraging it to drink often enough and long  enough to gain strength enough to keep itself alive, and at the same time the man in the house was becoming less and less interested in food and the world outside.

Later he couldn’t know. The foal alarm would go off, the lights in the house come on, we’d troop out in the rain or fog, and he’d sleep through it, blissfully released from the pain of the cancer that was slowly taking him further and further away.

I remember the last time I went with my father to see Saul. It took a long time to walk what used to take just a few minutes. I had been trying to interest him in what was happening on the place – the dogs, the birds, the garden. It was hard for both of us. I said, ‘Let’s go down and see Saul.’ He agreed. We walked, it wasn’t far. But it was for a man whose strength was fading and whose heart was sad. We did it. I had to slow my pace, reduce the length of my steps, when I used to have lengthen and speed up my stride almost to a trot to keep up with him.

We had to walk through some yards just before the electric fence that kept Saul’s world the safe haven it was. It was muddier than I had expected and I was anxious my father would lose his balance, but I knew better than to reach out to take his arm. He clearly wanted to go back, this was taking far more effort than either of us had imagined. However, the stubbornness of a man who had leapt into the thoroughbred industry at an age when many were quitting it, kept him moving forward. That and the horse standing in the deep sand yard, his head facing away from us watching the view. He didn’t hear so well now and who knows what he was remembering – races, the dreams and hopes, and the times when he was The One.  (Here I go, anthropomorphizing again.)

As we approached the fence, having somehow made it safely across the muddy yard, my father raised his head, the light came back into his eyes and a smile crossed, ghostlike, over his face. He even quickened his step and suddenly he spoke. ‘Saul.’ He sounded like he always sounded. The tenor, volume, confidence and warmth was all there. Saul turned, and slowly came over as he always did. Not hurrying but sure and steady – wins the race.

The two of them stood side by side with the electric fence barely between them, and my father, without thought, in all his old confidence, reached through the fence and rubbedthe old horses’ nose. I stood back a little. This was their meeting as it had always been.

Softly lit in the coming spring sun, these grand old gentlemen didn’t need to talk. It may have been a goodbye although as neither of them were at all sentimental, probably not. Simply two old friends saying hello as they had for years. I was honored to observe them.

Throughout all of my life and still as I ride and care for the horses I have now, the horse has been both a means to an end and a friend. The thoroughbreds that filled my father’s last property and dominated his life became more than that I think. They were, maybe, a mirror of his life.

Watching the first two long soft hooves, knotted together in a neat bundle, pressed against the long nose and long lashed eyes, emerge from the mare, always triggered a smile. As cold as it might be, the night-mist hanging about us, through the anxiety as we waited for the foal to stand and the mare to nuzzle it firmly to her, the miracle of birth never failed to warm hearts and, at least temporarily, even feet and hands.

Each wide-bodied mare with legs and hooves bearing the stress bumps of a few years on the racetrack, each yearling cavorting in the pasture and dashing through the trees, and each gawky, awkward looking weanling had begun this way. Each of the younger stallions, shining in the sun, curious and alert to every coming and going on the place,almost bursting with his own energy and power that seemed to radiate everlasting life – they had all struggled into the world the same way.

Those younger bloods will become like that old stallion, standing quietly in his special paddock, removed from the day-to-day activities both by his geography as well as his dwindling energy. But when I looked at Saul, I saw that the years of wisdom and experience that saved him from wasted shouting and dancing, also surrounded him in an aura of for-ever. He may not always be there but the stories he had given us and the pictures in the thoroughbred books would endure. Most of all, the ex-racehorses, 3 and 4 years olds on the track, a few of the yearlings and a couple of the new foals, struggling to their feet in the cold night air, were his legacy.

For every horse that needed a vet, every slow furlong run, every heartbreaking moment when we realized this one was not quite good enough, there were the times when we caught our breath at the sheer beauty of the animal in motion, admired the spirit of the try-er, or simply inhaled the smell and leant into the warmth of a horse.

Along with watching foals being born or Saul quietly regarding the scene before him, I also observed my father. He was no longer at the center of the activities that continued.

Horses need to be fed, foals will be born, mares have to be served on time. But everything we did during that time bore the imprint of my father’s experience and delight in the horses. I realized that just as these horses, with the potential for bringing to fruition some of the greatest dreams we can imagine, can inspire us to keep working, keep dreaming, so in many ways can our parents.

How many of my life’s choices have been shaped by my father’s and to what extent my attitude toward the ups and downs is informed by his example I don’t know. I do know that as powerful a force in my life as he always was, a large part of that influence was encouragement to go out and be myself. He may not agree with or understand me but he enjoined the debate with love and enthusiasm for my individuality.

The horses, these thoroughbreds with all their complicated bloodlines, careful feeding and preparation regimes, in the end were each their own beings. Living with them for years, withstanding the disappointments and committing every penny to their care, in return for what was often little, if anything, of a tangible nature, it seems to me can do one of two things. You can become bitter and lose your joy, constantly seeking to blame someone or something for why it didn’t work out; or you can celebrate the glorious moments that the unique character of each horse, of this business, gives you.

For my father I think, the vicissitudes of the thoroughbred world in many ways reflected and perhaps even validated his own approach to life. Seize the moment, celebrate the small victories, persevere with the dreams and hopes, get dirty and work harder than you know you can, and take the time to simply watch, in wonder and awe, the life that is embodied in the horse before you.

The morning Dad died one more foal was born. His stable name is, of course, Bob.

It started to really rain last night and the temperature dropped and I had to pull up a blanket in the early morning just before the alarm went off, in the dark of the morning.

Fall, and that means end of summer and winter on the doorstep and Oh Lordy, how to make it through until the summer again?

(Find the beauty in it… breathe deeply.)

I draw so much from the sun – the feel of it on my skin, warm wind on my legs, and feet on hot rocks. The trickles of sweat finding their paths down my body.

Now here comes the confines of clothing, fingers I can’t feel, toes that vanish for entire days.

I feel the twilight rather than see it, coming earlier and earlier. All I want to do is sleep. For months.

(I think I know bears.)

Of course when I have made it through the dimming of the day (a song I know) then when the night comes it is like any other, except with blankets. And I do like the coziness of my apartment, better at warming up than cooling down.

And I love the lightening flashing all about me, the thunder like trucks crashing over-head. The wet that comes through on the air between the dust particles. The incredible sunsets.

It really rained today, the next season arriving, the next set of opportunities.
Curl in, honor promises made, introspect.
Cry more.
Feel more.
Dream and vision.

Less doing more being, maybe.

Why do they call it fall? I know, because the leaves fall, but what about people, the Summer people I mean? (For the Winter people it is a quite different time I am sure.)

Is it because we fall to earth after the flying in the summer sun? We nestle into the earth, the womb, and lie dormant.

At least that is what we want to do but we don’t, we cant. (After all we are not bears.)

There is much to do but it is all to do with surviving. Less playing. Even when you go snowskiing (I don’t do it) it is somehow bound up with clothing all over and gloves and boots, shielding you from the weather, not opening to it like a flower. It is about avoiding hypothermia, staying hydrated (you don’t know you are sweating), protecting your eyes and face from the sun glare and frost…. and staying upright against all odds (which are short, at least in my experience!)

(The same hill in the summer? take it all off and run on the earth. Yes, carry water and wear a hat and remember the sunscreen but oh glorious, the freedom of movement!)

In winter the saving grace is to find the hot spring which in the summer can be just a bit Too hot. Find that one and lie in it – skin in soft water, a little mud or gravel under my bottom, and only my face from the chin up and ears forward, peeping out.  Luxuriating in – well, the womb, that warm, wet place separating and protecting my body lying free in the liquid, from the cold, hard world.

This morning though, immediately after the dark of the rain, there was thin strip of blue that grew longer and wider until- yes, blue sky! I took the opening and advanced.

My rubber boots waited outside the door where I had simply abandoned them last spring. I shook them sternly hoping to dislodge any summer spiders, dragged them on and, pulling on an extra long-sleeved flannel shirt over the T, went out to the horses. The yards looked like they had looked in the middle of last December. Wet, thick, red mud and little balls of pooh floating on surprised puddles.

However everything was so clean, and the sharpness of all the smells (hay, horses, earth, trees, the creek, but not, oddly enough, the manure,) set free by the moisture, was intoxicating.

Later today I went out the storage unit and hunted about for the waterproof coats and jackets, after waiting in the car for a particularly serious deluge to slow down enough to insert the key and roll up the door without drowning myself. The day will come when barely-there summer clothes will go into the place where the coats were.

Drove back in a 6mile carwash.

This evening, the horses in the wild wind and rain, lit in the darkening skies by sharp wrinkles of lightning and assaulted by those ten-ton trucks crashing above, were suddenly new creatures. From the docile animals of polite interest waiting patiently by their feeder bins for the food they had become skipping, kicking, bouncing, rounded balls of muscle and legs. Their heads tucked in, trying to keep their tails to the wind and rain, they skittered on the mud from the shelters to the fence where the blue bins filled with water as I struggled with hay against the gale.

Carrying the bins crammed with now damp sticking alfalfa to the shelters, the hood of the most effective rain coat blown half over my face, I was uncomfortably aware of jumpy, large beasts just out of sight around me! One refused to go into his shelter and so I lugged the bin back to the fence. He resolutely bent his head into it, his ears back against the bits of rain blowing onto his head. Others stood in little shelters next to yard mates by whom they’d usually be no closer than 50 feet at feeding time!

They will adjust to this as soon as the first onslaught of winter is over and their coats catch up to the sudden turn of weather events. They will stand patiently again, albeit their rumps toward the prevailing weather.

Of course I know we will have more sunny days and even heat before it really arrives. But the screw is turning and the days are shorter. This is nature’s way of reminding us that nothing is ever the same for long and we mere human mortals have no choice but to adjust, like the horses do.

So, I will adjust – drink hot tea more often, wrap up in large sweaters and pull on socks to sit at the computer. I will make excursions to hot springs, to let my body be clear and free in nature, just not in the sun, but in the natural hot water that comes up from below.

I will take those (maybe daily) runs more easily, rather than squeezing them into the times between work and dark and when it is not too hot – at 5am and sometimes 7pm! (My long running pants are waiting for me, although for a while I can get by with shorts and a long sleeved top.) After the initial gasp of cold and baptism of water at the beginning of the run, it is pretty darned exhilarating!

It really did rain today. Living in the desert and blessed by many consecutive days of hot and dry it is a bit of a shock.  However, the beauty of the new season will assert itself and the opportunity it gives me for moving through the land and myself differently will be appreciated. But tonight I remember summer, and sigh with nostalgia for the one just over and the many before that.

And now, to put the kettle on.

This blog is rather short.
The moon’s above the hill.
My mind is rather scattered.,
I’m ready – yes –  but still…

the bags are stuffed
the house is clean
the hay is stacked
the emails seen.

I caught up in the office,
did the laundry, cleaned the car,
rode my horse in gathering darkness,
stared at mountains from afar.

What matter if I miss something?
Who cares if there’s a gap?
The adventure is beginning –
(and yes I’ve got a map.)

So early in the morning
(Oh heaven’s that’s tomorrow?)
stop and stock up two triple lattes
Then – head to San Diego.

Because –
I’m making for the playa,
traveling there with friends,
meeting with my daughter –
Going to the Burn!

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