Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Farrier

This week my farrier came to trim my horse's hooves.  This is a requirement if you want to keep your horse sound and on his feet properly.  This hoof trimming happens about every seven weeks throughout the year.
The horses don't seem to mind, at least my horses don't, they have been handled enough in their lives, this is just part of their life.

I've had several farriers throughout my life with horses.  They all shared a common interest in horses and some were better than others at their job.  One of my favorite was a woman...........   Shocking maybe, but she is still one of the best!  When she called me on the phone one day long ago, I wasn't looking for a new farrier.  For some reason I ask her questions about shoeing endurance horses, she had all of the right answers and I agreed to meet with her and just talk about horses.  The meeting changed my life.  She became one of my dearest friends and she did an amazing job shoeing my horses.  We ended up spending many hours riding horses on trails together.  We might still be riding together if she didn't live so far away and my knees weren't so rickety.  

The farrier I have now it a very laid back, quiet and a wonderful man.   He respects the horse, takes time if they seem a little anxious and he does a great job for my old retired horses.  He is also a person I love talking with.  I find it interesting how easy it is for some men to just enjoy talking to women.  Randy is one of  those guys.  When he finishes with the horses, we always go into the studio and just talk about things.
We talk about the state of the world and the way things used to be, you know, back in the day.  Our favorite conversations revolve around birds, we love to talk about the birds.  Then we talk about being out in the woods, away from the world.  What it does for the inside of us, how it calms us.  He loves to hike and finds himself drawn to a good trail in the woods, a rippling stream and the sounds of the forest. 

When we sat in the studio on Tuesday, I showed him my new flutes, I played for him and he seemed to enjoy it.  He said of my flutes, "wow, it just kind of touches you inside".  Yep, he totally "gets it".  Then he turned to my big powwow drum and told me how he loves the drum, how it makes him feel when he hears it, how it draws him in and he wants to be near it.  He said things to most men don't share with women.  I like that in a person, in a man. 

When he was leaving, standing with the door open.  He said to me, "Thanks for this time to sit and talk.  I love coming here and being reminded of the things that are important to me." 

Thanks Randy, for being kind to my horses and understanding the important things.  My heart is happy.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Power of Flutes

Yesterday I purchased two new Native American woodland style flutes.  Both were created by my friend and Brother, Billy Crowbeak and painted by his lovely wife, Kosh.   My intention was to pick up a beautifully carved Ivory Billed Woodpecker flute and bring it home to introduce to my other flutes.  The Ivory Billed flute is a beauty, and the sound magical.  I was so excited!   I also saw laying on the trunk another beautiful flute.  I ask the Billy if  he would play this flute for me.  I find it difficult to say what occurred, I felt a vibration happening inside my chest, it was my heart.  I totally felt the medicine of the Elk flute.

I have learned that the elk to the Lakota people has the healing medicine of love.  Could it be why my heart was so effected when I heard the song coming from this flute?  We took turns playing this flute throughout the afternoon, my friend Linda, then Billy and myself.  Each time it was played it had the same effect on me. Before leaving I realized I didn't know what key this elk flute was, for some reason it hadn't been marked on the flute.  Billy left to put it to the tuner and see.......  it was an F.   This was a certain sign the flute was calling me, the Key of F is the musical note to identify the Heart Chakra.  This only made the decision to purchase second flute easier.

As my flute collection grows, I remember back to my third flute circle.  I came to this meeting with my second wooden flute.  It's interesting to me now, it
was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Billy Crowbeak and seeing his flutes.  I said that day to our flute circle leader, when he noticed my new flute; "yes, this is my second flute, I think I have enough now."  He laughed and laughed and stumbled his way over to Billy Crowbeak and told him what I said.  They both knew far more about the power of the flute than I had yet to discover.

I find this to be another interesting web regarding paths crossing and later becoming a trail to one another's door. I never in my wildest dreams would have expected to find such a kind hearted friend in that flute-maker at our flute circle four years ago.  And yet today, it's as if I've know Billy Crowbeak forever.  I am proud to call him my Brother.

As for my flute obscession............  I think the only cure is to enjoy each flute and the songs that they bring to me.  I beleive they have changed the direction of my journey.  I have a calmness about me that I enjoy every moment.  I have a song to sing, that I never knew before flutes.  I share my love and songs with anyone who wants to know and I honor the gift of medicine each flute offers.   I am truly grateful and blessed by the flutes, their songs and the people who craft them.

Pictures:  upper left, Elk Flute
               lower right, Ivory Billed Woodpecker

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


A friend used the word deliverance in her email to me today and it brought back a memory that makes me laugh today.

In Rockbridge, Ohio every year I take my beautiful gourd art to a Fine Art Show called Lilyfest.  This is my favorite show during the summer season of shows.  I often find myself comparing other shows to it and when people ask how this or that show went, I will often reply, "Well, it was/wasn't  a Lilyfest show." 

Lilyfest is held every July, just as all the lilies begin to bloom.  The show is held in the forest of Hocking Hills.  It is on top of a hill and trees shade the grounds beautifully.  There are wonderful gardens with lilies, water ponds, frogs, dragonflies and sculptured art made and displayed by the host Bobbie Bishop. Plus there are somewhere around 50 artists sprinkled throughout the gardens, displaying and selling their wonderful handmade art.   This three day show is filled with people who love gardens and art!

I decided one year to include my daughters and their children (my grandchildren) to a weekend getaway by renting a cabin for all of us to share.  This gives me a little Grandma time in the evening after the show, it gives the girls and the cousins time to play together for a few days.  While I'm at the show, they can explore Hocking Hills. 

The first year we did this I rented a cabin that have horses and trails to ride.  Some of the grandchildren were pretty small so riding was really not a priority.  Being horse people, the thought of horses around was appealing.  The girls came to visit me at Lilyfest after checking into the cabin.  Cait my oldest grand daughter came running to me shouting that something was dead under the porch of the cabin and it smelled really bad!  Oh dear, that isn't something I want to hear.  It was also one of the hottest Lilyfest weekends on record.  When I got to the cabin I was confronted with the smell Cait was talking about and I found out there was no air conditioning!  No closing the windows to get away from the smell.  It was unbearably hot and not a breeze moving the air.  Trisha's youngest, Kellen, slept in only a diaper, he was just a month old........ it just didn't seem right.

The next morning when I stepped outside the cabin door, I knew it wasn't something dead under the porch.
This "ranch" had spread sludge on a field behind the cabins!  I hope you all know what sludge is....  Needless to say we would never recommend this ranch outside of Laurelville, to anyone!

The next year I was on the search for another cabin.  Looking for a cabin with 5 adults and 6 kids is not easy.  Each family needed a room they could go and get away if need be.  Having more than one bathroom is a plus and a big kitchen is necessary.  I made reservations at Turtle Hill Cabins.   The girls always open the cabin and I come at the end of the first day of the show.  My friend Jayme who was helping me with my booth was also included in this adventure with my family.   When we located the drive to the cabin that night, I was pretty stunned.  It was up the steepest hill I have ever driven a vehicle, let alone my van!  I use to have dreams of driving up these kind of hills, they always ended with the car tumbling end over end back down the hill.  Nightmares really!  The drive was gravel and pine branches brushed off the van on both sides all the way up the hill.  I had to really gun the van, throwing rocks everywhere to keep the momentum to climb the hill.    I look over at Jayme and she was gripping the door with white knuckles!  I think she was prepared to leap if she needed to!

When we got to the top the girls were outside the cabin and were laughing their heads off!  We all couldn't stop talking about driving up that hill!  We are girls that have ridden horses on bigger hills than this, but really, this was scary to drive.  The cabin was wonderful, big enough for all, air conditioning and very clean.
I still couldn't book next years weekend there because of the drive up that graved hill!

The next year I found the PERFECT place.   Not far from the Lilyfest, big enough for all the growing kids, a nice yard and we all loved it!   Couldn't wait to book it for the next year and I did!  The first of January I got a call from the owner of this perfect cabin.  He broke the news to me that his mother-in-law was moving into our perfect cabin and it would not be available.  Oh, no! 

Back to the Hocking Hills guide for tourists...........  I found a cabin, it had enough room if we took our air mattresses for the kids to sleep on,  it sounded perfect and fit all the requirements.  This year Jayme and I decided to set up the gourd booth a day before the show and so we got to find the cabin and open it up before the girls arrived.  We had the address and were driving down this back country road looking for the mailbox with the house number.  The further we went the scarier it began to look.  I felt we were in the movie Deliverance, the houses were run down, unkept yards and cars on blocks.  Oh dear, what have I done?  We were close to the address but must have passed it, the road ended.  I hope it wasn't the house with the above ground pool with one side collapsed............  We turned around to take a second look and  found this cute little cabin on the other sided of the road from the collapsed above ground pool.  It was tucked back into a pretty little grove of trees and had a nice feel about it.  We had the best weekend there, strangely the move Deliverance was in the cabin, my girls had never seen it, and it was worst than I remembered! 

We all decided it would be a good place to stay again next year.  I booked it and in January I got the call from the owner.  She sold the cabin, it would not be for rent in July!   Back to square one........  Still looking for the perfect cabin for five adults and six grandchildren to rent in Hocking Hills.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Frog Pond

I have a wonderful little pond that I call the Frog Pond.  It does have a couple frogs that sit on rocks to warm their green bodies in the summer.  It takes a long time for them to get used to seeing you watching them.  They will quickly jump into the pond and swim out of sight.  If I stay long enough, I'll see their nose and eyes surface behind a leaf of the water iris.  Is he checking to see if it is safe to come out and sit again on a flat warm stone, I wonder.

For the most part this Frog Pond is the home of my goldfish.  I remember back when I decided to dig this pond.  It was a wonderful day in May, back in the very early 90's.  I know it was in May because I allowed my daughters a day home from school, kind of a "mental health" day, disguised a "help your Mom" day!  Trisha and Emily were delighted, the sun was warm and helping Mom for awhile would be worth it for a nap in the sun later.

We started digging the pond, just outside the back door, in the middle of a flower bed, and under a grand old maple tree.  You may have already thought, "Is she crazy, doesn't she know if there is a tree above your head there are roots under your feet!"   The answer to your question is, yes, she is crazy.  It never occurred to me about the roots of the tree, digging in an old, well established flower bed is bad enough!  An hour into the digging we had to get the pick and axe.   The girls were finished with helping me when I started swinging the axe!  So I was on my own on this beautiful day in May.

Richard came home that afternoon and looked at my mess and ask me if I was having fun yet.  There was a pile of flowers, a pile of rocks, a pile of tree root chunks and a pile of dirt and I still wasn't done.  The day had gone from a nice spring day to a hot afternoon.  Dirt and perspiration clung to me, I was wondering why I'd started this project and knew it was too late to turn back.

The idea of this pond came from no where in particular, it was several years later that garden ponds became the rage.  I was a little ahead of my time and therefore had rather primitive ideas about building this pond.  I had managed a kidney shaped hole in the ground that was maybe six feet long and four feet wide and only two feet deep in the middle.  Inside the hole were stubs of tree roots sticking out everywhere.  I knew this might be a problem when I lay down the plastic, yes good old black plastic, the kind you can purchase anywhere.   I decided if I made it of several layers it would be as strong as those pond liners.  Something still had to be done about the tree root stubs, so I decided to gather all the old blue jeans in the house, the ones outgrown or waiting for patches, and use them on the ground to cover the tree stubs, before laying the plastic.  Genius is at work here!  Putting down the plastic was easy compared to digging the hole.  I managed to use the nice big foundation rocks and flag stones to hold the plastic in place.   Things were finally coming together and I started adding water.  I had a pond!

Of course you can't just have a pond with water, now you need fish, plants and a filtering system.  Eventually these things all came together.  I purchased a couple water lilies, they never bloomed, I think it had something to do with the shade on the pond from the tree.  That shade helped in other ways, my pond wasn't overrun with algae, although that is a problem in spring before the leaves come out on the tree.  My fish were goldfish, purchased from a discount store.  Some of the goldfish came from the county fairs ring toss game, they were won by my children and friends children and brought to the pond in a little plastic bags with water and a fish.  Some lived and some died.  The ones that lived grew and grew.  We even had baby goldfish born in the pond a couple years.

I replaced the first black plastic when it started leaking to a certain level.  I didn't learn my lesson, I replaced it with more plastic and this method worked for 18 years just fine.  Last year I decided to replace the black plastic with a real pond liner that I got on sale at the end of the last season.   Working on the frog pond last year was harder than it was the first time, I am nearly 20 years older and my endurance has diminished.  I had planned to get my girls to help again, but Trisha was pregnant and Emily was still teaching, she couldn't take a "mental health" day just to help her Mom this time. 

The frog pond never looked prettier than it did last summer.  Fall came and the leaves fell.  This is probably another reason why you don't want to build a pond under a tree.  I usually catch my big goldfish and move them to the horse water tank for the winter.  This serves two purposes, the fish don't freeze in my shallow pond and the horse tank doesn't freeze because of the water heater keeping it thawed.

Winter freezing started early this year and I didn't get the fish moved.  When I tried to catch the fish one cold freezing day, my little fish net broke.  The water started freezing and I knew I'd have to put a heater in the frog pond if I didn't want to loose the goldfish.  Richard could just see the electric meters spinning.  And spin they did, after a month of heating the frog pond it was time to unplug the heater and catch the fish.  I love catching the fish, they have gotten so big, it takes two hands to take them out of the fish net and put them lovingly in a bucket of water.  I always giggle watching my horses get a drink when I first add the fish to their water tank, they are somewhat startled to suddenly having moving "things" in their water.  So all things are as they should be this January day, it will soon be spring and I'll be catching those big ole fish and moving them back to the Frog Pond.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Old Buggy

I took some pictures the other morning of sunrise.  The night fog left ice crystals on everything standing still in nature.  The snow on the ground and the beauty of the ice crystals made the morning breathtaking.  I took pictures of trees, the sun coming up and my old horse buggy.  The buggy is an ornament in the front of our house.  It hasn't been used in many years, I recall when I last sat in the seat, driving my pretty little quarter horse mare, Gypsy. 

I drove my horse and buggy to their new home and the place we have called home for thirty five years now.  We moved only a couple of miles from one house to the other and it made sense to just drive the horse and buggy to our new house.  Gypsy was a beautiful dark bay horse, some might have called her black.  She had a nice little white blaze going down her face and a beautiful black mane and tail.  She was the perfect size and was very smart.  She also was the first foal we ever raised.  I am sure all the attention she got as a baby was one of the reasons she was so sensible and good natured.

When I was pregnant with our first child, I continued to ride horses as long a possible.  When it became difficult to ride, I resorted to driving my little mare.  One day my husband and I were out on the road in the buggy, just going for a little ride, for fun.  In those days our country roads were not traveled as much or as fast as they are now.   We were coming back toward our driveway and a car was coming toward us.  It happened to be a friend and they stopped to chat.  We were heading west and they east, our talking continued until we had the scare of our life!  A motorcycle came from behind, I don't remember even hearing him.  He never stopped and gave no warning.  He just drove his motorcycle between our horse and buggy and the car!  We sat there open mouthed and stunned.  My wonderful little horse never moved a muscle.

It was only after the event that I realized what a fragile position we were all in at the moment the motorcycle passed between the car and us.  Horses that become frightened are not easy to control and our little buggy was not made for a frantic flight down a paved road.  It came to me after this event, I would never be comfortable in a buggy or wagon again. 

I have wondered now and then why my horse didn't run in fright.  What made her stand so quietly?
And so the buggy rides were abandon in the early 70's.    The buggy also appears abandon and yet it brings back to me the memory of  my sweet, trusty little mare, Gypsy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Soldiers Meadows (Nevada)

Back in 1989 we took a trip to California.  (To become acquainted with that trip, check blog posts, California or Bust.)  You will note that we traveled in a big old motor-home with a sixteen foot horse trailer behind.  You will  learn we made this journey with a friend who a pulled a two horse trailer behind his much newer motor-home.  On this trip to California there were three horses going and four coming home.  Three adults and five children under the age of seventeen were sharing this adventure.

Soldiers Meadows, Nevada, why would anyone want to travel this Black Rock Desert land? Soldiers Meadows is a very historical area and if you want to know more it can be Googled.  As for us, the adults, children and horses, we were there to do an endurance ride that was being held in the middle of nowhere.  After driving the dusty road from Gerlack to Soldiers Meadows, we were shocked to see the little crowd of horse rigs parked on either side of the road we were traveling.  We made camp and found that we were pretty much the center of attention.  Our Ohio licence plates gave others a heads up about the easterners in camp!

The folks in the west have a different way of running rides than we do in the east.  It became obvious when there seemed to be no set time for the "ride meeting".  These valuable meetings in the east are held the evening before the event.  The eastern ride manager goes over trail conditions, in Ohio and Indiana that usually means were to find the most knee deep, mud sucking trail hazards.  They would advise you about following the ribbons of surveyors tape, one flag means you on on the correct trail, two flags would alert you to a turn coming.  If two flags hang on the right, it means a right turn.  This can be vital if the main trail continues straight, but a side trail may turn right, you don't want to miss that turn!  I don't recall seeing many ribbons at the Soldiers Meadows ride.   The eastern trail manager would also tell you what time the start of the ride would be and information about the half way point.   In the east, the half way point is a vet check for the horses and a 30 minute hold after your horse has his pulse checked.  At this hold their is usually hay and water for the horses, food and drink for the riders and usually your "pit crew" is there to meet you with these things.  They will also help holding the horse and be at your beck and call for that 30 minutes.  In the west, we knew there was a half way point, somewhere out there in the desert!  The western ride manager did hold a ride meeting, about a half hour before departure time.  Oh, yes, she mentioned a few flags were out there, but mostly told the historical accounts of the area!  I remember one of her comments about a point we would reach......."When you get to the spot there are several choices of trail to take, stick to the ones on the left."   Now, talk about vague directions!  Panic was setting in, deep inside my stomach!

We went back to finish tacking horses and used our grease markers to mark the ride number on our horses
butt.  Big red number marked my horse, it matched his red bridle and blanket.  My friend also used my markers to number his horse.  In the east there are checkers on trail to mark when a horse passed through, the numbers told them when all the horses had passed.  If someone was lagging behind or lost, the checkers knew it happened somewhere on the trail before their checkpoint.  It was soon after we mounted that we realized, no one else had numbers on their horses.  I don't have any idea how they keep track of lost riders in the west.    Oh dear, this was worse than driving in with our Ohio license plates, they knew we weren't from the west!  The western ride manager was probably grateful for our numbers, she would know exactly who the strangers were!

Doc and I were the only ones from our two campers riding this 25 mile endurance ride.  Since we had the motor homes and no pick up trucks to head to half way point, we threw our hay and drinks in the back of another truck going to the half way point.  At the last minute I decided that Trisha and cousin Carrie could ride to half way and be our pit crew.  They were off while I finished tacking up my horse. The girls were thirteen years old and had done this before, I thought nothing more about that decision.

When the shotgun start happened, my horse was ready, he wanted to go with the front of the pack.  I could not let him do that, he doesn't handle the adrenaline rush of a fast start.  I also knew that I didn't want to be left behind, never having ridden this trail before.  I didn't think my horse or myself could afford to be lost in the desert!  So I ended up riding with about 5 other women who were some of the last riders out of camp. 

Two comments stick out in my mind, even after all these years.  One woman ask what the number was for, did I just buy this horse at an auction?   The other was when one of them commented that she found this so restful.  I was not sure I heard her correctly, I was finding the entire thing very stressful, where were the trees!!!!!   It wasn't long, maybe five miles out that I began to notice the tell tale signs that my horse wasn't handling the speed well.  He was beginning to "tye up".  This just means my horses muscles were cramping.  It is something he is prone to when he doesn't have time (a few miles) to warm up his muscles slowly.  I was trying to baby him along and two things happened.  I considered them "signs"!   The women I was riding with didn't want to go slower while he worked out his cramps.  I wasn't going to be alone and lost in this desert by riding last.  The second sign was the dead mustang along the side of the trail.  That was enough for me to get off my horse and lead him back to camp.   By the time we had returned, he was fine, he'd walked out of the cramp and I was just plain tired. 

The day passed, I wondered if the girls were doing okay.  They would be there helping Doc and I am not sure what they might be wondering since I never made an appearance.  The afternoon wore on and pretty soon the riders were returning.   Doc was back and said he'd seen the girls.  Carrie and Trisha still weren't back!  I couldn't understand, they only went to the half way point and now all the riders had returned, still no pick up truck with my girls.  In the east at an endurance ride, if you choose to go to the half way point, it's just a matter of miles, the crew is always back to camp and taking naps long before you finish your ride!

I have no idea what time they returned but when they returned I hardly recognized them!  The pickup truck had the adults inside and my two girls in the truck bed.  The dust in the desert is awful, they looked like ghosts!  Their hair was white from the dust!  I found out later, that by truck it was a 25 mile drive to the half way point.  So that is 50 miles in the back of a truck in the desert!  Oh, did I forget to mention, the girls went with no food or water.  They managed to get water at the half way point and they stole a candy bar from another riders goodies.  The girls have never forgiven me for this adventure!  Pretty bad when they no longer trust their Mother or Aunt.

The moral of this story.............  they don't do rides in the west like they do in the east.

Picture upper left:  The riders leaving Soldiers Meadow horse camp, last horse and rider is me.
Picture lower right:  daughter Trisha and neice Carrie

Monday, January 11, 2010

January Sunrise

I went outside early yesterday, at the time our beautiful sun was rising.  A spectacular event it was.  We have had endless days of gray skies and several days of snow.  It is January after-all, not all that unexpected.  What made today special was the sun trying it's best to peek through the winter clouds.  The snow that fell the last three days was light and powdery.  That was due to the already cold temperatures.  Had it been warmer, it would have been a wet and heavy snow.  At night the snow glistened from the cold, it sparkles like glass as the porch light shown across our back yard.

This snow gently covered the branches of our pine trees.  Landing softly on every branch of the naked maple trees.  The event was very magical and fairy like and I was a part of it, I was going to record this morning sunrise with my camera.

The birds are already busy at the gourd feeder, feasing on black oil sunflower seeds and thistle seed for the goldfinches.  I love watching the birds come, nuthatches, tufted titmouse, beautiful red cardinals, a blue jay or two and a variety of sparrows, the crown, the song, even the naughty English sparrows.  I love watching the woodpeckers come, they always get their seed and then go to their favorite tree to break the shell off and then eat the inside.  I notice the junkos and the doves prefer to eat the seed droppings on the ground.  Occasionally the starlings come to see if there is something they like, they don't like the black oil sunflower seeds.  I am happy to see them leave quickly.

I went outside yesterday with my camera to capture the sunrise.  I was still in my jammies, just throwing on a coat and putting on shoes so as not to miss this morning event.  These moments pass so quickly and I didn't want to miss anything!  It was so quiet outside, the snow muffles the sounds of far off traffic, it seems to be protecting not only the plants that are resting underneath, but protecting us from the harshness of naked trees, of brown grass and even our own footsteps.  I quickly take pictures, before my camera freezes from the cold and refuses to take anymore shots.  The warm air from my breath creates a fog on my glasses and I can hardly see my camera, I just take pictures and hope I captured the moment.  I was part of that sunrise and said my thanks to each of the directions while I shivered a little while outside in a cold snow covered land. 

I went back into the house, with rosy cheeks, foggy glasses, snow covered shoes and a big smile.  It was wonderful to be outside, to catch a moment of magic in January.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Got Snow? Read.....

Books have always been a passion of mine.  I loved to stop the busy world and just read.  Winter seems to be one of the best times to grab a book and curl up under a warm blanket, near the burning fire and just read the day away.  I used to do this all the time, when I was younger, even when my kids were small, I could read for hours at a time!

I still love to read, something has happened to my ability to read for long time spans.  I don't know if I just get too comfortable, warm socks, fluffy blanket, or dogs snoring at my feet.  It isn't long before I've read a few chapters and then find myself in dreamland with the dogs. 

I have already read two book this month!  The first was, A Noble Red Man, by Harvey Arden.  It was excellent.  An easy read, didn't require long hours under the blanket to finish.  I enjoyed all the wisdom that was gathered by Harvey Arden from an Indian Elder who is the Noble Red Man.  I must read his book, Wisdomkeepers, it is on my list of books to purchase on the next trip to the bookstore.

I also read, 90 Minutes in Heaven, by Don Piper.   Excellent book, there is a reason it is on the Bestseller List of books to read.  It jumped off the shelf at me while walking down a book isle.  I love it when books do that, I take special note that this book has a message for me.  Yes, I found the message in chapter 9.  It brought a revealing message to me about someone who has difficulty accepting help from others.  I hope that this person reads this book and gets the message too. 

A book I read last winter that I still talk about today, it is one I would recommend to everyone!   I got this book because of a friend that had a stroke.  It is called, My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, this book was a real eye opener!  I hope you put it on your "must read" list!

I have a shelf of books I've read that are important to me.  They are books I would want my children to read and hope to share with them.  My girls enjoy books too, they are into novels and I remember when I only read novels, usually quick reads and something to relax with.   My favorites when I was a young girl were Nancy Drew books.  Better yet were all the horse stories and wolf stories that I read.  When I was older I remember reading Gone With The Wind, this would be a book I have read many, many times.  One I remember reading in the early 90's was, Hanta Yo, by Ruth Beebe Hill, there is one place in the book, I wished I'd marked and it seemed to resonate with me at that time.  Something like this, "I sit here in the middle of the day, at the middle of my life...... "  I don't remember exactly, but it was ME at that moment in time, I was in the middle of my life, with as much time ahead of me as had already passed.....   A very interesting ahhha kind of moment for me.  I loved this book so much, I own two hard back versions and one soft cover version.   Why three, I do not know..........  Maybe I should include this in my winter readings and find that exact place when I was in the middle of my life. 

My book selection has changed in the last 20 years.  I enjoy reading books that are teaching me something that relates to the journey others have taken and I seem to be on as well.   More historical and I guess they are a study into the ways of the indiginious people.  Their spirituality, their honor, their integrety to each other and Mother Earth.  One of my favorite authors is Joseph Marshall, III.  One of his books, Walking with Grandfather, jumped off the shelf, the picture on the cover is so beautiful, but what is inside is amazing.  I also loved, The Lokata Way, and believe if we all lived by these lessons for living, there would be peace in the world.  My dear friend loves his book, Keep Going, and it is on my list of books to read. 

I have also read, Black Elk Speaks, by John G. Neihardt.  I loved reading, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, by Kent Nerhurn and a book that leaves me questioning many things about truth, Prison Writings, regarding Leonard Peltier, edited by Harvey Arden.  Right this moment I am reading, The Shamanic Zone, by Ailo Gaup, a very wonderful book, given to me by my dear friend from Norway, Morten Wolf Storeide. 

So many books I haven't mentioned, so many books left to read. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On A Winters Day

This blog will be quite Meander-ing, I have been pondering what to write about on a day in January.  It is cold and the landscape is snow covered.  I know there are things I should be doing and will do, someday.

I always think this is the perfect time to clean a closet or a drawer.  If I just cleaned one little space a day, imagine how free of clutter my house would be by spring!  So I started on a random cupboard in the kitchen.  I did clean all three shelves, everything came out and the most unused things went back into the cupboard in the back or on the top shelf.  I didn't throw that much out, maybe I picked the wrong cupboard to start my cleaning and purging, but it looks much tidier.

I tried cleaning out a sock drawer...........  I have warm wool socks and fleece socks for cold winter days. I have a few dress socks and lots of footies for summer tennis shoes.  Only one pair was excluded because of a hole in the toe.  Okay, that was too easy, lets move on the the t-shirts.  I have a million t-shirts, most are stained with paint, shoe polish and glue from wearing them in the studio.  I will keep these, they were once my best shirts, then I got side tracked in the studio after returning from somewhere and somehow ruined them.  Others are just faded from wearing so much and then there are the favorites that have a food stain on them. I always think maybe if I try another cleaning product it will magically come clean.  So much for cleaning the t-shirt pile!     

Move on to the sewing room.......  This is not a room I sew in any more.  I don't want to sew, except for a repair on that favorite shirt I accidentally snagged on a hay bale wire in the barn while feeding the horses.  This room became the wrapping room during Christmas.  So I will again pack up the paper and cloth bags, organize the paper bags I bought on sale after Christmas.  I will put all the labels, pens/markers, tape and tags in a special container for easy access when wrapping something later in the year.  Christmas stuff is tidy again, but what about the layer below it, the things that didn't find a place before it became the wrapping room.  Hummmm, guess I'll do that another day......

Cleaned the refigrator yesterday, throwing out stuff left over from Christmas.  Wow, can Christmas really have been two weeks ago!  I just knew when I put the leftover potatoes in here we'd eat them, but we didn't.  And what is this half eaten cheeseball doing, doesn't look nearly as appealing as it did Christmas eve.  You get the picture..........  now there is room in the ole frig!  Maybe I need to go to the grocery now.

It might help to put the Christmas decorations away, that would make a big impact on the way things look.  It is only the sixth of January, this would be out of character to do it so early.  I am already tired of cleaning, I think I will go out to the studio and work on gourds!  That is a perfect way to spend a cold, snowy winter day, being creative and loving every moment of it!

top left, tools that sit on my work table with white sage burning.
bottom right, Spirit Kitty and yes, she is the Queen....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Dad's Pond

When I was a kid, I can't say for sure what my age was, maybe about 12 or 13, my father built a pond.
This pond was established in a big woods.  I wonder now, why in the woods?  You don't ordinarily find a pond in the woods.  This woods had the most amazing smooth barked trees, I know them as a type of birch tree.  My father showed us how to carve our name into the tree.  The tree grew and the letters stretched and scabbed over, but you could read them for years.  I liked the idea of leaving my initials and a date in the middle of a forest of trees.  Who would come across my initials and wonder about the person that carved them?  I wonder now if the tree was in pain when we carved upon that tree......    I love the trees, I could spend time just sitting in a great forest, listening to all the sounds that come when a person is quiet.  I used to imagine being a wolf in that same woods, keeping watch in the line of pine trees on the west side of the forest.  During that time, my favorite books were wolf stories!   What better place to put a pond, tucked in the quiet of a forest of trees.

Building the pond caused removal of some trees.  I remember seeing the roots of these big trees, it amazed me that machines could just bulldoze a tree over.  Saddened me too.  I think of that pond today and remember something a wise friend said just this fall.  He said, "If man was no longer on earth, it would only take 170 years for the earth to recover it's space and regenerate it's self."   That is two life times!  He also explained, that we see it happen pretty quickly when a road is closed, it cracks, things will begin to grow in those cracks, soon more cracks appear and seeds spread or seek light from under that unused road.  You see it happen when a forest fire burns everything in it's path and then something happens.  Flowers will bloom, trees and other things begin to sprout and grow.  Mother Earth is very amazing! 

And so when I was a teen, we enjoyed this pond.  Fishing in the summer and skating in the winter.  We'd have big bonfires with hot chocolate.  I remember inviting friends to come and skate.  It was always fun, although usually very cold.  You couldn't wear enough socks, my feet always got cold.  Dressing in many layers gave us lots of padding, when we fell down it didn't seem to hurt that much.  Of course I was young then and nothing seemed to hurt as much as it would now! 

 It always scared me a little, I always had a fear of the ice breaking.  You could hear it crackle, even when it was a thick slab of ice.  In the daytime you could see large crack lines in the pond.  It made me nervous, but thankfully my Dad seemed to know when it was safe.   Often the pond froze when the west wind blew cold over Ohio.  Then the pond would start freezing the ripples, those ripples made ice skating impossible, it was like skating on marbles.  If we had a thaw and a freeze again, the pond would melt just enough to eliminate those bumpy ripples and make a pond as smooth as glass!  Or maybe it would just take the snow melting on top of the pond to make it smooth.   I remember pushing snow off the ice before we could skate, all of it was cold winter fun.  We'd come home refreshed and had the rosiest cheeks from the cold.

When I married we didn't go to the pond much.  I never had much patience to just sit and fish.  We didn't skate much either, maybe due to mild winters or lack of interest.  Life happens and I didn't spend much time in that woods.  Then one day, maybe 25 years after the pond was first built, I was back in the woods on my horse.  The woods seemed smaller than I remembered, funny how that happens.  The pond was shallow, when I remembered the deep end being more than fifteen feet deep.  I figured out then that it was healing it's self.  Going back to what it once was.  All the leaves would fall in the pond, they would rot and become thick on the bottom, as the years went on it all turned back into a solid ground, seeds began to sprout and grow.  I'm not sure today you'd ever know there had been a pond in this woods.  A pond with fish and frogs and waterbugs.  A pond where we ice skated with a big bond fire at one end.