Friday, November 23, 2012

soul print

the hand written word leaves behind an imprint of the soul.
the curve of the letter, the spacing,
 the light or the fervent press of
 ink to page, to card, to wall~
 all tokens and clues of
 the mind behind the hand that wrote.

cherish the flourish and scribble in
 an age that no longer cares for
 the soul-print underpinnings of communication.
the long hand note vibrates and wins the day
 years after its tucking away in a keepsake box.
there are no keepsake boxes for digital text.

stand in the kitchen with 50 year old recipes of 
blue ink on yellowing paper, the many she left behind,
 and hold the ream to your heart.
feel your heart grow physically warmer.
she remains in the imprint, the chopped walnuts,
 and teaspoons of lemon rind.

she remains in the ink and the warmth of your heart.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Horse Power~ part 3/ Go big, go Shire

Isaac the Shire stallion in his "meet and greet" stall at Equine Affair

oh. my. god.

 Isaac and me at the breeder's barn, Equine Affair

Lara the Shire mare at Equine Affair

Lara and the Shire mares at home~ Ox Kill Farm
Vicky (mom to the mares), Lisa and me

Not so afraid anymore!
 photo by, Lisa

Isaac at home~ Ox Kill Farm
Vicky( Isaac's mom), Lisa and me

The horse buggy

Until we meet again...

By the end of our horse power weekend, for me, it was all about the Shire draft horse. And wouldn't you know, not only are they renowned for their gentle attitude, the people that own Shires are salt of the earth. Gentle, welcoming, devoted, passionate. Horse people that welcome non-horse people like me with open arms and knowledge to share.

Lisa and I went from petting Shires at the full-immersion-event of Equine Affair to interacting with them in their home pasture. How was that possible?

I asked.

Simple as that. I asked the fully-available owners of Isaac, Gene and Vicky McCaffrey, (of the 173 acre Ox Kill Farm outside Albany, NY) if they ever accepted visitors. Their answer was a quick "yes" and "we'll see you tomorrow." Not only did the McCaffreys welcome Lisa and I into their home and offer us lunch, they gave us a full tour of their working Shire and cattle farm. What a gift. What a gracious, glorious gift. The information they freely shared was vast and filled with enthusiasm. I instantly wished I was their neighbor.


There is no telling, yet, what 4 days steeped in horses will bring to me. There has been too much information and new experience to fully take in. Slow digestion is called for. But intrigue has been ignited. I have dreamed of horses 7 nights in a row. I can tell you, though, these horses are healers. I am less sad than I was before meeting them all. Perhaps horses will show me the way home.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Horse Power~part 2/ Blue Star Equiculture

Orion~ famous NYC carriage horse adopted by the Yankee's owner


Friends and a forever home at Blue Star

Shire feathers

Miss Lisa~ dwarfed by drafts

Pre-dinner traffic jam

Awaiting the evening meal

At last, repast

i do not exaggerate when i tell you, 2 hours on a november afternoon in massachusetts altered my life. there was my forever-friend, lisa, who made the discovery of blue star equiculture farm online, there was me, fascinated and nervous, and there was pamela. gracious, welcoming, passionate, wise pamela. she is head madam of the horse farm, and sports a rainbow aura like few i have ever encountered.

blue star equiculture is an organic farm that rescues, rehabilitates, offers retirement and long term care to horses in general and draft horses in particular. blue star cares for an average of 30 horses at a time~ some drafts come from the carriage trade (all have been well cared for prior to their arrival at the farm and have maintained wonderful conformation from doing the job they were bred to perform!), some drafts arrive when owners can no longer financially care for them, some when owners face terminal illness, some are thankfully rescued from slaughter.

pamela and her vast crew of horse-loving volunteers, along with veterinarians, an equine dentist and ferrier, have devoted themselves to making a compassionate difference in the education and care of drafts. they  believe the draft horse is a national treasure, without whom this nation would not have been built. they believe we owe it to these working-breed horses to give them meaningful jobs and purpose. to honor what we have bred in to them~ the need to move, pull, earn their keep and interact with humans.

what pamela did for me, unawares, was give me an instant and lasting appreciation for these creatures that have occupied my thoughts and dreams. in casually bringing lisa and i out amongst the herds, calling each one by name, offering pets and kisses, she melted away my natural fear of horses and confirmed my instincts to seek out the largest horses for the gentlest encounters. she gave us more knowledge than it was possible to process all at once and she gave it with a wide open heart.

i cried when we got back in the car. because there were no words to express the joyful overwhelm of 30 horses and a woman who knows her mission in life.

lisa an i have agreed, and pamela concurred, we are going back. the calls of our hearts say we must.


blue star equiculture on facebook. "like" them for regular, touching updates on the horses!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Horse Power~ part 1

there are times when windows open and you must pass through. even if you don't know where they will lead or why exactly you need to drop everything and follow the cracks of light suddenly seeping through your ordinariness. most times, in following the cracks of light you become flooded with sensations that stand on the very edge of definition. in your natural tendency to name everything, you think you might be able to label the sensation joy. perhaps rapture. certainly bone-deep delight.

these windows seem most inclined to pop open when you have a hunch and no expectations. when you can be fascinated by the simple cracks of light and need nothing beyond that shimmer. when you hold the nonsensical notion of draft horses in a small pocket of your brain, for instance, and hold that notion for years, not having the foggiest clue what these horses can mean to an ordinary and recently painful life, you might suddenly, inexplicably find yourself on the cusp of a pasture teaming with 30 drafts. the chain on the gate becomes your window and dreamlike, you are led directly into the thick of the herds. 

despite having held these hulking beasts in a corner of your brain, you are very uncomfortable with horses. you describe yourself as afraid of the equine culture. but you let the chain slip off the gate, let the window open and do something about it. you trust. and to your speechless surprise that trust is rewarded as the white ambassador singles you out for a greeting. 

you hear the woman in charge of the herds yell to you, "that's iron mike" and you swear another voice piggy-backs hers and says, boldly, "he is a representative of the archangel michael." but you can't be quite sure because you aren't all that familiar with angels, yet you decide to believe it on the spot because the horse is a shire, after all, and quite possibly the largest, most gentle creature you've met.

he sways you past your fears in an instant with his easy manners and over-sized head waiting to be rubbed. you feel something within you shatter, dwarfed as you are in front of him. you pet him and thank him and leave the shards of your fear in the manure. you go forth and walk amongst the herds, flanked at times by 16, 17, 18 hands high horses, your heart having found some peace and a home.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

a turn of the page

my brother and me, dueling cakes~ we are scorpios

i was dreading my birthday. now i am not.

plans have been made to stave off the sorrow~ dinner with friends beforehand, a lunch date with dad,
a gypsy king, prepping for draft horses.

and cake. because from a very young age it has been a favorite food group, helped on by a mother who excelled in confections.

i boldly asked for one to be made for me, by a friend who could shame martha stewart. dense orange cake with marmalade filling, slathered with orange buttercream. heaven and guaranteed moaning at first bite.

let a new chapter commence. let me tuck her firmly in my heart and create a new year for myself of stories worth telling and life lived with eyes wide open.