Monday, November 29, 2010

horse power

Chance~ belgian draft and (possible) fjord mix

like straddling a barrel
baby Clydesdale
belgian draft horse
the most intriguing, with white face and one blue
chincoteague pony

i'm very attracted to horses. from a safe distance. oddly,  i'm most attracted to the larger, draft breeds~ the beligians, the percherons, the clydesdales, which makes little sense considering my skittishness. my friend, tina, rescuer and owner of draft mix, chance, invited me to come meet her baby and begin to gain a level of comfort with a ginormous animal. so i went, with apples, camera and courage.

chance, likely abused, destined for the slaughter house and rescued at the last minute by tina, has become a gentle giant under tina's love and  persistent skill with horses. still, i was overwhelmed by his size up close. it's the big feet and the unexpected spooks that usually keep me beyond arms length. when, eventually, i climbed onto chance's back in the riding ring, i cried. for a thousand reasons.

after our slow walk around the ring and the surprisingly long drop from the saddle to get my feet on the ground, some fear had slipped away. i even endured some untethered time in front of chance while tina did other things and i brushed him when the saddle came off. for his even and winning ways, he received most of the apples i brought.

we toured the farm, handing out apple quarters, marveling at the amazing variety of stars and blazes on faces. not surprisingly, the chincoteague pony gave me the most comfort. her size  and sweetness felt perfect for me. and yet, it's equus giganticus that pulls at my heart.

as with most new experiences, the magnitude of simple encounters and changes in points of view takes time to digest, to integrate. horses represent forward movement, new journeys and if ridden, rising above the mundane. they especially represent freedom and power, of the personal kind. thanks to tina's invitation, i'm taking a chance on all of it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

here and now

the first snow has come. and my first mini-vacation, a string of four days in a row, since april. it's been a long, somewhat grueling stretch of wedding flower making (89 brides and counting for the year), and the holidays, for flower designers, can be quite tiring. but no matter. i have here and i have now and this is the glory of my four days:

*staying in bed 'til 7:30am. deep sleep with dreams upon dreams, waking to the sounds of 2 cats eager for wet breakfast.

*sipping tea on the floor of my living room, twinkle lights lit and draped along one wall, classical music whispering from the radio, the sun peaking over the rooftop across the street. i never used to be a morning girl; now it is my favorite part of the day. ideas, longings and possibilities are born here.

*catching up, online, with my soap opera, 'general hospital'. i am one of those crazies that has kept tabs on the dramatics since the days before luke and laura were married. as well, re-runs of 'family guy', because i seriously heart stewie and cartoon blood is less offensive than i had imagined.

*avoiding the dishes piled in the sink, washing one spoon at a time, when needed.

*a long-overdue massage. and not just any massage. one with applied kineseology (also called 'touch for health') that tracks the chi flow along my meridians, gets rid of my stress-induced hiatal hernia, realigns my off-kilter neck, tailbone, hips and wrists, and informs me i am lacking magnesium in my system.  one hour = improved health.

*indulging my love affair with magazines, wrapped in a blanket, sipping more tea. this weekend (some on loan from the library, others purchased): house beautiful, martha stewart, country living~the british edition, real simple, vanity fair (because cher! is on the cover), art and antiques, and my most favorite~ smithsonian. in addition, because gluttony is gluttony, i've splurged on holiday with matthew mead, and scored 2 editions of sweet paul for 1/2  price.

*thinking about (read: but not doing) cooking. soups, chowders, applesauce, sweet pumpkin anything.

*going to bed early, because, my god, i love sleeping and my new, pj bottoms are ridiculously comfortable.

*catching up with blogs, especially the scandinavian ones because their christmas ideas are so beautiful, heartwarming and simple.

*a possible date with a horse, despite the chill in the air. apples are already by the door.

*minimal cleaning, regardless of the disarray. i'm not expecting any visitors until next weekend. i pride myself on procrastination and speed cleaning.

*the best for last, the 4th day: baking german christmas bread with my mom (stollen). being a yeast concoction, it's an all-day affair. this year, a photo diary of the process, in case, god forbid, someday i must rely on my own wits alone to keep the tradition going.

i tell you something, life, she is good.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

so said the buck

in the active quiet that currently fills my mind and my days, messages are being delivered. i notice them, make note of them and calmly move along. absent is the inner fanfare and hype that used to accompany the repetitious, there-is-no-such-thing-as-coincidence blips on my radar screen. there is only a nod and a thank you and a "yes, i see it. again.". then, contemplation.

the messages of late, strung out for weeks and accelerating today, are being delivered by the deer family in general, and bucks in particular. it's mating season, it's hunting season, and my luck with bucks would be the envy of  most men in camouflage. antlers are prolific for me. standing at the roadside, sauntering across traffic and barreling left to right like a freight train. in unprecedented numbers, the boys with nubs to 10 point head gear are silently speaking up.
the youngest buck, who succumbed to traffic and died on the grass, told me to leave the impulses and frantic energy of youth behind me, to gracefully let the tide of spring be washed away. 

the oldest buck, the locomotive force of majestic maturity, showed me the power of channeled determination. years of learning and experience, coupled with obedience to instinct, can transform the seemingly untransformable, and command  the will of the wind. so-called late bloomers, take note, he said.

the 6 pointers and the 8, steady and careful while crossing black-topped terrain,  reminded me to let myself be lured to new adventures. to trust my expanding perceptions. to remember that gentleness affords a grander, more accurate view of the way things really are.

{ the littlest buck, who could no longer stand by the time i first saw him on the grass, let me pet his ear after he died and i tell you, it was the softest, most glorious thing.}

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the art and the dance

i am learning that when some one you love dies, a void sweeps in. there is confusion as to how to live fully in the world without their presence and their particular brand of harnessing wind and molecules. memories and touchstones lay salve along the singed edges of the void.

i am also learning that to sit in the void, in silence, brings an echo from deep within. that echo, for me, reverberating along the walls of the void, carries the words art and nature up to the surface. in those words, those emotion-filled, dream-filled, soul-purpose words, a map seeks to form as to how to i can live in the world anew.

so, i walk, outdoors, with camera in hand, and i follow the echo. i am inevitably led to trees. stalwart, life-giving, holders-of-secrets-in-plain-sight trees. i lean against them and i look up. my shutter clicks. and there, in the limbs exposed to autumn's air, i see the art and i see the dance and i begin to remember how to harness the wind.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Date Night

At long last, I have a date. With a hero. With a heart of gold. With a man who makes a difference in this world. Me and Greg Mortenson. Tonight. I'm weak in the knees...

I'll try to ignore the 6,000 other people in the room.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

i am there

with tea and raspberries i sit on the floor, cross-legged, and pry the lid off the small plastic tote. suddenly she is there and i am there and we are eating confections at her kitchen table, talking of her younger days on the cusp of the german north sea. i lean into the tote filled with tokens of the second half of her life, the life that i knew and was part of. it is ripe and resplendent with smells of her home. i finger the tea strainer, the apron, the worn wooden spoons, the cocktail records from berlin. i snap the lid down on the tote to preserve the sanctuary of scent. a very small puddle of tears form in my eyes.

one item from the tote remains in my lap. it is a message disguised as a book. it is a picture book of homer, alaska, given as a gift from her best friend's son. 22 years ago, i traveled to parts of alaska and fell under the spell of homer. the pull and the ache to live there, to create a life there for reasons i could not explain haunted me for 10 years after my visit. but what kept me from making the leap was all the time to be spent and all the memories to be had with her, with my oma. i could not, would not miss them. she is, was the only grandmother i knew.

so, here, on the floor with raspberries, i leaf through the book and an imprint of the long-past haunting rises. go, she says. be free. we have pockets and bushels and armloads of memories and now, let us both be free. do not hold back anymore. find your heart's spell and go, no matter how far or near. where ever you are, she says, i am there.

Friday, November 05, 2010

suddenly clear

today, i reacquaint myself with angels.
today, i lift my heart to new possibilities.
i aim my thoughts towards goodness and peace.
i sing songs meant only for me.
i daydream in vivid color.
i speak gratitude.

i step lightly over the bridge.
my soul is ready to be worn.
the meaning of home is suddenly clear.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

just do it

this in my "inbox" today~

The path to enlightenment is not a path at all,
it's actually a metaphor for the time it takes
for you to allow yourself to
be happy with who you already are,
where you're already at,
and what you already have - 
no matter what.

Just do it, 
    The Universe

Monday, November 01, 2010

Let Me Celebrate Her

like the moon,
come out from behind the clouds.

the buddha

for you, debi, with love for the beauty of your soft turquoise soul and the magical stream of words that pour from your heart. my life is richer because you came out from behind the clouds and let your essence shine over the world. i celebrate you and your treasured painting today with a tiny white cake and a bird. you matter to me. you bless me. you honor me with understanding. muchas gracias, amiga, for your love and company along life's less traveled road.

xo, graciel
to see who else is mad for debi, please visit amy and her brilliant celebration idea.