Tag Archives: horses

Photo Blog Challenge Wrap Up

January 2015 – 30 Day Photo Blog Challenge Wrap Up

So it is now going on into the early morning hours of February 1st and I am contemplating the grand finale for this challenge. I found that trying to focus on my own work allowed me a chance to express a little bit of suppressed creativity. I love my words. I love my camera. And to combine them into compositions in answer to the prompts in whatever manner happened was worth the time invested. I found as I went along, the challenge was something that I love do anyway – I am always watching for that perfect shot, that one time chance, that image that evokes a feeling and can be related by words, as well. Although this is a “wrap up” there will be no real end to this for me as it is as natural and as inevitable as sun rise. There are a few prompts on the list that I will admit to passing over, either because they deluded me in attempt or they didn’t spark an interest. Prompts are like that – they either “speak” to you or they are silent. I like to think that I can respond to anything, and I guess I can if I don’t really care what I “say” – however, I enjoyed the posts that happened when least expected. It’s like the moments in life that you either catch on “film” or you commit to eternal memory. So I always look up to the sky for inspiration and light or down to the ground for that unusual shadow or circumstance. I think as I go and realize an offering when it is handed to me. Like spaghetti falling onto the counter, tempting a game of pickup sticks. Synchronicity at work is the greatest compliment to my creative impulse.

Day 26 – Close Up Blog - Jan 26 - image close up>>> The rocks lie below and if you don’t pay attention to them, take a look next time. What do you see? Perhaps, it is just a haphazard arrangement of sizes and colors with no apparent pattern? Do you question the missing spots and wonder if you’ve “left no stone unturned” in your evaluation? Or is it just there, tempting those who might glance down to see something in what is apparently nothing more than a rock gravel parking lot… Interpretation is, after all, up to you and your muse.

Day 25 – Strangers >>> have nothing of note for this prompt so I pass on this one. I have mentioned before that I am not a portrait photographer and think less of imposing upon others around me. I am okay with people watching in order to study habits and characteristics for my writing, but taking pictures of people without their permission would be just creepy. That would be how you would interpret this as “strangers” the noun. Pass.

Horses

Day 24 – Animal >>> Well we all know where this might go given the opportunity… which happened to present itself on a recent drive. Horses will always warrant a stop along the road. It brings back April memories of seeking the wild horses that run west of Sundre.

But, if I keep close to home, the little pest that is poking at my leg to pet him is always around even though he might not be the most willing photo participant at times. He is quick and takes to looking away just as you click the pic. I am going to wrap up Day 20 – In My Bag – by saying that if I had it open on the floor like this box, I can tell you I would have a cat in the bag right quick. So, although I did not really fulfill the Day 20 prompt as best as I think I could, it is another one that gets a pass. So here’s my animal… Squishy in a box ready to ship off. Any takers?Squish

That only leaves Day 21 – Faceless Self Portrait and Day 30 Self Portrait… really nothing has changed enough from Day 1 to insert any other self-portrait here. I embrace creativity, yet have specific things I stay away from – particularly me in a photo. The Day 1 photo was one of those – ah ha moments – it was there on a day out to Elk Island Park and was something to recognize in the moment. It spoke to the challenge and to me and to what I would attempt to accomplish. It really addressed Day 21 as well because with that camera up in front you are, in essence, faceless. What I am going to finish up with, however, is my beautiful Sunshine – it usually makes it into all my photo days because without it I wouldn’t be traipsing all over snow-covered back country roads. The truck is a blessing and has helped to fulfill many adventures already. Memories that will stay with me forever; and isn’t that what life’s all about. This challenge has given me some great opportunity to share, to explore, to create… and for that I am truly thankful.

Sunshine makes winter tolerable

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2014 comes to a close…

The end of another year… it seems to be the place to look for new beginnings. The year ahead may hold major change, needed adjustments, or an unknown future. In this moment, we may just be looking forward to an evening with friends or one in quiet contemplation… no matter which way you decide to usher in the New Year, I encourage you to look back over the last 12 months with positive reflection. Take note of the good things that happened, these are the memories that will carry you through into 2015 and beyond. To all my writing friends and readers of my blog, I thank you for your never-ending support and appreciation. I look forward to the New Year with a renewed commitment to my writing and creativity. Happy New Year everyone and here’s to another awesome year in this amazing journey!

2014 personal recap for FB

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Day 3 – Easter Sunday

Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…

8:00 am

I spent time with my delightful hosts, Ingrid and Mike, over breakfast and coffee served in their beautiful, awe-inspiring home. It is built on a southwest facing parcel of land complete with trails and a creek, lots of trees and long winding driveway. They share their dream of coming to Canada and eventually obtaining this amazing property, building their home, and living each day to the fullest. Ingrid shares stories of sledding with her dogs, designing web sites from the very beginning, and Mike – he ensures firewood is always cut – their home is fully heated by a wood burning external fire “place” that channels warmth to the in-floor heating. A severely cold winter depleted the firewood stores…

My plan for the day was to go out and take pictures – make hay while the sun shines, so to speak – it was a beautiful foothills morning.

11:00 am

I am sitting in this bowl of sunshine and silence with an alpine breeze threading its way through the valley – it’s cool and it whispers through the pines. It comes down from the snow-covered ridges… listen to it. I am all alone, yet here, with respect and awe, I feel as if a part of something much large than me. No other traffic has passed me – no other life forms walk nearby. The tempo of the wind rises and falls, rustling the new evergreens… they sway and relay the soft sung message of the mountains. I can tell it is close to noon, now, as the sun is directly overhead, but as any city slicker would… I check my phone… 11:55 am. Some would think it crazy to just sit here alone. But always alert, I watch the weather, the roads, and listen to the sounds of nature all around me. I don’t wander off. I am not a hiker; besides Ingrid pointed out before I left – we are in bear country, and watch for the cougars… they are more of a threat. I haven’t seen any, yet.

The sky is that Alberta blue and the fluffy white clouds drift in, plump up, then scatter… leaving clear, direct warmth from the high noon sun. This is a great spot to bask in nature, draw its calming effects into my soul – take time to contemplate and write these feelings. This point is about 25 kilometers in and I decided this would be where I turn back because the road ahead not only climbs further into the back woods, it also appears to narrow, there is more snow, and it’s muddy from the seasonal melt. I do things I like to do but I don’t push the limits – a four-wheel drive and companion might allow for further exploration that way or another… or maybe even dry summer roads? There is no cell phone service here – my phone hasn’t picked up a tower since I left the B&B. I wrote this while sitting in the sun without worry to anything else. (Note to self: it would have been good to alleviate the ensuing issue by signing into the Wi-Fi before leaving on the day’s excursion… or perhaps, not taking a break from connectedness the night before by sleeping – could have got the Wi-Fi code the previous evening??? Oh, and don’t forget the backup Rogers Rocket Hub at home… because then you have absolutely no connection to anyone but yourself…)

I am almost a tearful happy it is so inspiring and almost too much – can that be? I hear my own heart beating and feel gladness having found my reason for this deep sojourn into the trees and foothills. I assume I found my wildies – the herd grazed contentedly along the edge of trees, scratching themselves on tree branches, and laying in soft pine needles. They watched me – parked at the road’s edge – and were not bothered to move on until I got out of my car. They didn’t rush off but took time to regard me with indifference as they ambled beyond the rise and down beyond to where I would not follow. The mare stopped to look once more.

The stallion came out of the trees to the right and stood to watch me, too. I took a couple of pictures; then let him be… the attention aroused him.

My writing was interrupted by a group of hikers descending from an adjacent path – time to return. The trip back was punctuated with more traffic, some speeding by – where are you going in such a hurry? So much for the quiet Easter morning trunk road… I understand the work crews and truckers who are making a dime, but do you others take the road less traveled so you can get to where you are going quicker? What happened to appreciating the journey?

1:30 pm

Arrived back at B&B to appease my friends and family of my status – I am fine. There is something to be said for disconnecting.

I feel disconcerted but am happy with my holiday discoveries. I am reminded of Ingrid’s statement at breakfast. She told me of taking a session on Time Management … and employers loved her ability to manage time. She wondered, however, of her ability to manage her life time… after all, you only have one.

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Things that make me smile…

Things that make me smile 1

2 things

Things that make me smile 3

Things that make me smile 4

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The Seduction of Spring

Seduction of Spring July 2011

As the March night slipped into a sleepy silence, a stillness was borne unto an awakening land – a land still groggy yet reaching for warmth from the depths of slumber, stretching and rising like a Phoenix coaxed from the ashes of a winter’s hearth gone cold. A hushed wind whispered warnings through the timberland, whipping up a murmur that stirred amongst the trees; it slid and caught on encrusted snow, tempting the crows to mock again as they did the night before in the full moon’s wash when they watched from their perches high above. But they kept still and all else settled, as a fear took hold and silence fell, so as not to tempt the fates of the Morrighan.

As the hour grew late, nature’s children released a collective breath which held thick upon the cool night air. A final frosty coating tipped the branches. Timbered souls huddled together, readied and bare, wanting for spring’s sweet caress. The night shivered in anticipation of her arrival then shuddered to calmness as if already a lover fulfilled. The forest silence pleaded for a peaceful night.

“No noise, my love, sleep as the hour draws near and, by and by, you shall awake to a new day.”

Until that time, downy cover lay gentle over a fragile land and gave security with false hope. But no sound sleep would befall the earth that night – virgins entwined amongst their unsuspecting beds would be dragged, kicking and screaming into the night, bedclothes melting away as the grasp of Eros claimed their desires. The death of winter was sure.

From the snowy ashes she arose, her lithe body distorted and writhing as she gasped and gulped, in frantic desperation, to regain life’s green pulse. An unearthly scream rent the midnight hour and all cringed and thought the curses were to be upon them. Instead, the noise began to sooth like warm breath on an icy pain. Steam rose as tempered air touched flesh and pallid hide and she pulled wildly on the tangled mane of her mount – straining, pulling – demanding the ground unearth them to grant vernal freedom once more. Entwined as one, horse and master regained completed form – Epona had arrived and all celebrated.

No guilty pleasure to be left unturned, she traced a pattern freely over land, threading through the naked forest, with soft sureness, enticing new buds to pop with just a look. Her touch was fiery and when placed just so it brought crimson blush to barren soil, deflowered and flowered, all in one stroke. Pounding hooves awoke the hibernating beasts who stirred with frustrated realizations. Creeks welcomed her intrusion to their beds and they pooled their heated fluids. Wild and turbulent in her wake, they thawed away their inhibiting icy shackles.

Spring lay anew upon the earth, splayed and spent, yet rejuvenated and Epona, body drenched in sweat, smiled with satisfaction at her newest conquest. She smoothed her flaxen hair and thread throughout the tresses new sprung daisies. She caressed the neck of her dutiful destrier, glistening with early morning dew. As quick and quiet as she came to the night, her job done, she faded into the dawn, just as the sun peeked over the horizon.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I Love Horses

Many of you who know me, know that I love horses – not just a “wow, they’re beautiful” love but a deep spiritually connected kind of love. My love for them started when I was young although I couldn’t peg it to a certain time or reason. I remember loving them so much that I cut out an auction advertisement from the paper hoping to convince my parents to really buy me a pony. I remember, though, reading everything about them – the usual young girl stories like Black Beauty, My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead included. I drew pictures of them and up until junior high remained unchallenged as the “horse lover.” That was until Michelle came along in Grade 7 and she loved horses too, and did pencil sketches of them – I can see them now as I think of that time. The horse is the one of the subjects I can draw without prompts using only the images from my own mind’s eye. I went to any and all horse shows ,  had pin-up boys on my wall as long as they had horses along and I bought the Western Horseman  magazine, religiously.

I never lived on a farm growing up except for 10 months during grade 4 and it wasn’t a farm that had horses. I believe to this day that I am a country girl at heart yet have never been able to make the transition permanently away from the city as situation and money sometimes have a way of keeping you from doing what you truly want to do – or is that me that does that? In any case,  my daughter and I did move to the country when she was in Grade 5 and we rented several different places until the year before she graduated.

However close to the country life we got it was never in such a way that we could have bought, housed or even afforded to own a horse. We made our encounters though – one farm raised standard bred ponies for harness racing (not a kind sport or a kind owner – because a horse with no potential to win was as good as glue to him!). One rental was close to another stable where I worked for a while – thoroughbred horses – I loved that job, muckin’ and all! The last place we lived before we ventured back to Sherwood Park had many horses all around us, grazing in fields. It was pure pleasure to just be able to see them, watch them and sometimes go up to the fence when they drew near. Kelsey would go riding with a friend who lived up the road (the neighbors were all related and again, horses were possessions to them) and I even lived vicariously through her when I put her into riding lessons at Keno Hills.

Many fond memories are ones that involved horses – pony rides a the Exhibition; the Musical Ride in Calgary when I was a teenager; capturing a photograph of running horses while on family vacation; the huge Shires in the field in southern B.C; the herd of pinto ponies along the highway near Rocky Mountain House; riding the ridge above Jasper with a group from Pyramid Riding Stables; a romantic ride along the Bow River with a guide; and an amazing opportunity to work at Cavalia the summer I was in Toronto. Although I did not work with the horses, as employees we got an opportunity to see the show several times and I just loved the production. The horses were treated as they should be – with respect and as magnificent beasts who deserve our respect. The riders who worked with the horses likened themselves to “horse whisperers” and with hand signals and low-toned words there was an exchange between them. The horses were free, unleashed and full of spirit yet willing to do for their masters.

I have a Facebook friend who owns horses in Dubai and they also have a wonderful horse show along the same lines as Cavalia – he said he’d heard of the show which originated from Quebec. He has posted awesome pictures from the show in the Arab Emirates. I hope to see another such display some day.

I believe I have more of a connection, though, with the wild horse. Yes, that would be why I choose the surfing moniker “wildhorse” because of the free spirit these animals have, despite their obstacles, namely, humans.  I chanced upon a web site while reading a news headline on MSN as I choose not to listen to the news and usually don’t read newspapers. I can scan the headlines on the Internet then choose to read, see or hear what I need to stay informed. This headline read “Arrests Made in Horse Shooting” – it makes me ill to think that someone could shoot such an animal. This involved the shooting of a wild horse in the Sundre area of Alberta.

Hopefully, charges will be laid however lame that is in relation to the crime. Our wild horses in Alberta are fewer in numbers than they ever have been although small herds they still exist. Reading the information posted on the Wild Horses of Alberta Society blog site makes you realize how ignorant people are – the horse is a historical foundation of Alberta and the government refuses to see their significance in sustainability planning. They were transportation and ease of labor and yes some ended up running free as “feral” animals but that does not mean they should be shot. They are not pests. I don’t believe in shooting or hunting any animal – but there is just something inside that jabs me when horses are abused. My connection to them is in my very soul.

It can be the only explanation for the shivers that run down my spine when they run and their beauty and stature so grand that it brings me to tears. It can be the only explanation that makes me feel like I was with them in some way before and will always be with them in some way now and in the future. I remember riding as a young woman on several occasions and knowing that the power beneath you had the ability to get rid of you if they chose – but I also remember the feeling I had riding… calm, connected to my mount, and sure in the saddle as if I had been born there.

I know others who know what I mean and feel as I do – it’s like writing and writers – you just know, just because. It’s almost like you don’t have to explain, yet if you do your words aren’t enough and they don’t seem to do justice – it’s like explaining how you write from your character and let them do the work. You won’t know what it means unless you have that connection.

A feeling for something can be as easy as saying you love it but in the same instance, can be as complex as saying those same words. In those words lie a world of difference for each of us who utter them. We have in our minds certain things that must be true to honestly say you love something. It’s almost not good enough to say you love it – you have to like it, you have to understand it, you have to feel passionate about it and it has to be a part of your life in some way, always. A love this deep for something cannot be explained and often you just simply accept it as being so.

So my love for horses is not something that “just goes without saying” if you realize how many words can be said and how many more I am prepared to say. As a writer and an artist, the horse is a true inspiration to me. It is the subject for some of my work, although not as much as I would like … but there is always more to come.

Keep on writing and free that creative spirit. Let it run untethered like the wild ponies.

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