while life here in wonderland keeps me content most of the time,
i do occasionally go into town.
(for something other than physical therapy,
which requires sensible clothing.)
this week jenny and i went for a petit dejeuner at cheese importers,
which is such an exquisite establishment!
it’s like a mini-vacation to france,
a decided step up from armchair travel.
when i get home from such an outing
i am often loathe to change back into regular clothes
and bring a sudden end to the experience.
this week i remedied that situation with a little
camera practice using the remote that i always
forget i have.
(as in i think i’ve used it three or four times–
since i got the camera in 2006.)
anyway, the weather being gorgeous made me
take the camera outside and get to work,
because practice = work.
and yes, this is work–
i know because i have to learn as i go AND
the work was rewarded later that night when
two owls sang a duet in this very spot
for a solid fifteen minutes.
it was magical!
as i went back inside and kept wearing my go-to-town clothes
i thought back to another event in the past week
when i got to dress up and see my friends from school
at a social event.
at said event i came face-to-face with the realization
that in our society we are defined by the work we do.
i was asked repeatedly what i do these days,
and i’m telling you that this was a MUCH easier question to answer
when i had a job, as in one with a title and a paycheck.
this is more than compensated for, however,
by getting to do what i love without pay.
so here is my answer:
in addition to falling from horses, breaking bones,
working at rehab, and performing miraculous recoveries,
a) i make eco-prints
i research projects and images and then try it out with my bargain basement equipment.
i like it this way, because i am being resourceful.
the more i experiment (practice) the better the results.
i make photos and transparencies of these pages to use in other projects.
b) i photograph my world to document the wonder i experience each time i step outside my front door
c) in summer i garden, but year-round i work with plants
d) lately, i knit
this is yesterday’s cowl,
and this one went on the needles tonight.
(it was only after downloading these photos on the computer tonight
that i realized that my sense of color extends to the accompanying beverage of choice.)
e) i keep a ridiculous number of journals, some poorly and some with commendable regularity
recently pages have recorded ideas/inspirations/colors/patterns
experimented with recycling old materials in new ways
experimented with design ideas for use in large scale projects
planned a new storage system in the studio to make better use of space
and make materials easy to locate when needed
and planned out projects for the months (year) ahead.
as you see, i’m still “working”,
which makes me hungry!
i’m madly in love with our band of gypsies and a little paint,
and today i haltered them one-by-one and brought them to the farrier
for their december pedicures.
i’ve also graduated from simply driving the tractor at pen cleaning time
to officially scooping the poop again.
yep, i’m back to my duties as mother mucker.
this makes everyone around here a whole lot happier!
i made plane reservations for early december to get back home
to california to see my dad.
we’re going to put up the christmas tree, bake cookies,
play carols, maybe even sing and dance,
because this is our one wild and precious life
and we are going to celebrate it!!
be well, my friends,
and whatever it is you do–
take time to celebrate your one wild and precious life, too.
a certain someone has been very affectionate lately,
and makes it a point to follow me to the arena gate
when i turn the horses out and stand right next to me
while the others all run around her.
i’ve begun to jokingly refer to her as my shadow.
it’s quite endearing, really.
we spend a few minutes together
chatting in the sunshine
while i give her neck scratches
until both of us are ready to move on.
yesterday the time had come to grab a halter
and actually take rose out to work with her.
“work” may be a strong term,
but it was certainly a first step.
brandt came with me as i walked rose out
to the hay field at the back of our property
and let her graze while i brushed her.
(the others followed us all the way down the arena fence
in utter disbelief…
so brandt opened the pasture gate to let them graze
just on the other side of the fence from where we were.)
rose was quite content–
she knew she was getting a little something extra,
so she didn’t even object when i sprayed on the detangler
and worked through her mane and tail.
we took it slow and easy, one section of mane at a time
which i braided as i finished.
it was such a glorious afternoon,
the sun warm on my back as we just enjoyed
the quiet, slow pace together.
the sun began to slip low over the mountains
which meant that the temperature would dip quickly,
so i reluctantly turned rose loose in the pasture
with the others for a few more minutes of grazing
while brandt and i made out way back to the house.
i’m so grateful for these indian summer days
that allow me to spend time with the horses
as i continue healing and work at getting stronger.
there are lots of good things happening,
and i’ll be back with those soon.
in the meantime,
i’d like to send a big THANK YOU!! out to all veterans today,
and tell you how much i appreciate your willingness to serve in
the armed forces and protect our freedom.
and dad, a special thank you to you today
for allowing me to benefit from your military career
by having a wealth of experiences that i would otherwise
not have enjoyed,
being born in japan certainly one of them!
life is good.
just what is it that makes a single fall day stand apart from the others,
that etches it into the memory in such a way that in years to come
it will be recalled as an ideal fall day,
the one against which all others are measured?
for me, it is warm sunshine after a spell of cold, wet weather that speaks
of the winter to come;
it is sunshine warm enough to need no coat
when setting out on the longest walk yet since the accident,
a real, true walk with no walker or crutches,
along the ditches and out around the fields behind our property;
it is the last blaze of color before leaves give in to the pull of gravity
and fall to return to the earth as topsoil;
it is sunlight falling at unmistakeable angles,
sending shadows long and leaning northward;
it is isolated clouds in pure forms,
floating in a sea of deep blue;
it is clear, crisp air to fill the lungs,
invigorating and energizing;
it is heightened awareness that makes the landscape
so incredibly beautiful that it brings tears to the eyes;
it is a touching moment when the husband
runs to the end of the arena to let the horses into the turnout,
and you watch as all seven horses break into a run behind him;
it is a moment of peace when you know
that this is what happiness is,
and that life is so good;
and finally, the sun hits that one tree just so
before making its descent behind the mountains…
today i believe we nailed it.
there have been many small moments this week when there was no question
that progress is being made– in many ways.
when the third dreary day in a row dawned on this solar-powered human,
i gave in and made the most of it.
there was reading, online class videos to watch, and knitting,
using this scrumptious hand dyed pure merino wool.
after years of saying i wanted to learn to knit
i went to trusty youtube and figured it out.
this was taken back at skein one– now i’m on skein three.
when the fog lifted i watched the birds arrive for breakfast.
there were dozens of them taking turns,
filling up the bushes while they waited or scouring the ground
for the seed that got knocked out by the others.
yesterday, when the clouds finally drifted away,
the sun blazed in with blinding intensity.
i could feel its radiance go right through me.
then i noticed the sunshine sparklers on the big bouquet
of gathered goodness that we brought in last weekend.
it might as well have been a christmas tree
for the way it captivated me.
my spirit was light and my soul filled with joy.
i carried that with me through the entire day.
today was a landmark day, of sorts.
i was asked to teach for a field trip of third graders coming to sandstone ranch.
somehow i knew that the answer was yes without giving it any thought.
(as long as there was no extensive walking or lifting, let’s be honest…)
it was perfect.
i loved it.
sandstone ranch is now under the stewardship of the longmont recreation department,
and the original farmhouse serves as the visitor center.
used for educational purposes, it is magnificent.
my job was to teach the kids about animals native to this region.
this is a win/win proposition at its finest.
pelts and puppets made me as happy as the kids.
not to mention all of the wonderful taxidermy samples that gave the kids
a true understanding of many of the animals we talked about.
between the high interest of the kids and the rich resources available
it was the nicest afternoon i’ve spent in a long time.
two and a half hours flew by.
i’m happy to volunteer any time i can.
when i got home i turned the horses out.
they were all eager for a change of scenery…
all except this one:
she wanted nothing more than my undivided attention for a good fifteen minutes.
i talked to her, scratched her all over, petted her…
and if i took a step, she took a step.
this was our time together, and she let me know it.
to be honest, this is a picture that i took last week–
today i didn’t compromise our special time
by turning it into a photo session.
i think we were both glad.
so, perhaps the title of this post is misleading…
either that or the small things are really the big things.
yes, i prefer to think of it that way.
have a jolly weekend filled with wonderful small things, my friends.
thanks for being here.
i’ve spent quite a lot of time indoors over the past few months
out of sheer necessity.
the walls have, at times.
closed in on me.
saturday was such a time,
so i grabbed a camera and a macro filter
and walked around the house
looking at natural objects with new eyes.
i surround myself with collections of all kinds,
and they were a form of therapy
not only to study, but to
remember their stories.
it would have started with the horses,
but i’m not allowed to bring them inside, so…
it started with things from the sea:
a glass canning jar of seashells
an abalone shell used for smudging,
but that now holds strands of rose’s mane and tail that i collected.
barnacled mussel shells and empty crab shells
picked up on a walk along monterey beach by fisherman’s wharf
and even a branch holding a piece of tumbled sea glass picked up
while walking the beach at port townsend when sara and i went to artfest.
i have many rocks, but this one reminds me of the sea crashing to shore
and sending its foam rolling onto the sand.
then i looked at things i picked up while hiking in del monte forest last summer:
a pine cone dressed in coastal regalia
a small piece of a branch
mosses and lichen hardy enough to propagate freely under the right conditions
but so delicate now that they are dry.
all of this was making me very focused and energized,
but with the gentle encouragement of others
i left the house and took the longest walk
i’ve taken in months.
the minute i got outside the sun worked its magic
and lit the world in a glorious bath of color!
it began on the front porch
where the cornstalks stand sentry for a brief time to welcome the fall season
and the pumpkin was a glowing orb with a decidedly hallowe’en-looking stem.
as we walked west along the drive everything in my path seemed miraculous
and got me down on my knees to capture that magic.
the grasses were waving to and fro in the breeze
daring me to try and hold them still.
even the dandelions struck me as magical
which they must be to have survived frosts, snow, and wind and still look like this.
some people call them weeds,
but i prefer to think of them as wish makers.
i did have to remove the macro filter a couple of times to take in the grandeur of a perfect fall evening
at the golden hour.
one of the reason i took the camera along was in hopes of finding some remaining milkweed pods,
and i was not disappointed!
we didn’t have any on our property,
so we had to cross the ditch and keep going west.
they looked like flags of cotton calling to me.
oh, the magic of a milkweed pod
as it bursts open and spills its contents into the breeze.
our timing could not have been better.
yes, there are a lot of similar photos here, but it felt like a time lapse series
as these gentle beauties hung suspended for so brief a time.
when the breeze picked up it rustled the filaments just enough
to create a veil of rainbows.
the sun was beginning its descent behind the rockies
and we could feel the air grow cooler,
so we headed back to the house.
just before we crossed back over the ditch i saw this in the grass:
it might be a lone weed seed,
but it reminded me of this old saying:
a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
it made me realize that my healing journey is well under way.
i’ve accepted, perhaps somewhat embraced,
the idea that autumn is upon us.
(i’ve always been a late bloomer.)
we’ve put the yard and garden to bed for the winter,
bringing in the plants that we’ll keep indoors
and cutting the last of the roses.
oh, did i say “we”?
i meant “they”.
they did all of this as i watched out the kitchen window.
my contribution was to hobble around the yard later
and photograph what remains.
i’m not at my most helpful currently.
i’ve reached a bit of a plateau in my recovery,
being now at that point where the milestones occur less than daily.
i started physical therapy last week, and i am now
in the strength-building phase.
the suggestion was made that i check the progress weekly
so that it will be more obvious.
given the amount of time that i enjoy indoors
i’ve been feathering my nest.
actually, feathers are always in heavy rotation around here.
but i have been making small changes (as in, i can lift them…)
to celebrate the season and bring the warmth indoors.
i came across this wonderful quote by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
and found it available as a free download at KindOverMatter.com,
and knew i needed it ever present in my home:
and yes, i did tape a copy of it up on my bathroom mirror
to remind myself daily– first thing.
this afternoon i had my assistants* bring some of the large art books and plants
down from the studio so that i could line them up along
the window seat in the living room and make that room more,
it warmed it up right away.
* i love my assistants!!
if you look closely you can see the bird feeders hanging in the tree.
there is a young bluejay that has been trying to perch on the feeder
and eat the seeds, but he’s just a little too big to manage that feat.
he did discover this afternoon that seed scatters underneath,
so chances are he’ll still come around with the other birds
and await their handouts.
speaking of birds, i had a very sinking feeling that something had gone horribly awry
during my recent absences.
this was confirmed today.
i loved your visits.
cannot, will not, end on that note.
sara has been riding dear sweet rose in preparation for my return to the saddle.
she has been so well behaved,
so doggone sweet.
rose, i mean.
she’s rewarded for this, you know:
this is immediately following the ride–
you can’t see that she is still wearing the saddle.
and this is after the carrots that i had brought out with me.
then she got brushed (again) by both sara and me,
after which she was looking for some more of the really good long orange things:
it was rose’s turn to harrumph…
however, rose warmly invites you to come and pay her a visit like janet a. did a week or so ago…
and please remember to bring carrots!!
here’s props to sassy sara for keeping the horses on a workout rotation
whilst i am out of commission.
tireachan was a well-mannered gentleman,
highly respectful and very attentive to subtle cues.
a grazing celebration was certainly in order.
** oops. forgot the lunge whip out in the round pen. **