Thursday, October 27, 2011

Real Simple Love: An Article I Wrote

An article I wrote for Real Simple Magazine...

              REAL SIMPLE LOVE

Ask a young child a deep question and the answer will be unfiltered, clear, poignant, and often amusing. Want to understand pure, unconditional love? Spend time with a horse.

As a small girl, I spent summers on the shores of Lake Michigan. I would leave the house barefoot in the early morning to swim, play, visit other people's cottages, eat cookies, explore the woods while sucking on freshly picked sassafrass root. It was back in the days when children could be more free without so much worry, before kids pictures began appearing on milk cartons. Each child was watched by every family. Someone always knew where you were and where you'd been and what you'd been doing.

One “all summer in a day” kind of day, the timeless kind that children know and adults have forgotten, I happened across a horse inside a corral. I was maybe 4 and the horse seemed very big, but I wasn't afraid.

The horse's eyes calmed my fears as he slowly strode towards my tiny hand squeezed through the fence slats, palm up, fingers open. For the first time I felt the velvet of a horse's nose, the warm lick of his tongue, the breath from his widened nostrils which is how horses "know" someone. Scent. We both stood perfectly still, eye to eye. To this day, looking into a horse's eye, I feel like I can see into the depths of the universe, no hyperbole. I learned what love meant that day without question. Real, simple love.

I began bringing him apples and carrots and sugar cubes. To this day I do not know whose horse it was. In my child's mind, it was my horse, my secret friend and my first love. Oh, how I loved him..his nicker, the way he came to me, the way I could trust him--this big, gentle, magical creature.

Horses intuitively know and can express feelings. They nurture, heal, comfort, and challenge. They teach patience, trust, awareness,courage, loyalty and have a natural willingness to please. There is no need for spoken words. It is like an elderly couple who have been together long enough to sit in their rockers on the front porch without saying anything; just a look brings understanding and a knowing the love will remain a constant in a world of uncertainty.

I am a retired teacher now and own two horses of my own: Grace and Chance. The names tell you a lot about who they are. I love them and they love me. No childhood disillusionment. This love holds true to this day, without question. Real simple love filled with great depth, heart, joy and an appreciation for understanding what it really means.

Virginia S. Little, Ph.D., Transformative Learning and Change in Human Systems

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time to write; More fun than painting walls or listening to automated phone messages

Rainy days. Good for curling up under a blanket by a blazing fire. Read, snack, cuddle, and I'll leave the rest to your imaginative minds. Weather doesn't phase me much. I go with it. It's not like I can change it. 3" of rain in two days. Whoosh. Raining hammer handles and pitchforks. Rivers flooding the banks. Makes me happy to be safe and warm and dry and yeah, blessed. Glad I cut and stacked wood a week ago. Just in time. Have some already weathered to burn now. And got the pesky tree down that was making it very difficult to back in my 53 ft. rig, truck and 4 horse trailer, down my 100 yard driveway. Took out some rocks and branches now and again. Left tracks in neighbor's lawn..nothing major but you'd think so. Only way I can get the angle right to back up. Tricky, that, fifth wheel hitches and backing up long rigs.

Ok, just blathering. I ate all the cookie packages for the trick or treaters. Guess I'm the wicked witch this year and will pretend not to be home. My drive is so long and dark and back in the woodsies where the ghoulies live, I don't get many kids anyways.

Good treats tho!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flying, dying, laughing, living...always thinkin...

It's sad but the Ph.D. terminal degree, called thus cause the process while enriching, nearly kills you, stopped me from writing and reading for quite awhile. Average completion time, 7 years. Most of this is spent trying to translate into scientifically sound and hopefully creative and passionate language-- a mind map of your inner workings. How you know what you know and where your ideas come from and how you manifest them and what's it mean and why should anyone care?  Create new knowledge and make it credible and written well enough to cause a rise in the breath and heart and mind of the readers.

Funny how life unfolds, and sometimes not funny at all. Life's challenging. I can't say it any clearer than that. Suicides of beautifully talented, 24 year old girls who don't even know what life tastes like yet, horse accidents and learning to fly 15 feet up and back out of a trailer...the flying was a whoosh, the landing, well, not so much. Horses don't like to be confined and when facing an exit, one must move quickly out of the way. 1200 pounds with a thrust from back haunches to front feet off the ground...well, it's not something you're gonna stop. So you fly and luckily I still bounce pretty well evidently. Coulda busted my neck but didn't. And I'm not selling my horses, mother..I sold my motorcycle cause my brother died on one, but I'm keeping the horses. I'm grown and will die one day, somehow. I'm not looking forward to it, but I'm not running from it either. I like living my life, fully.

My mare, Grace, has a stifle wound. That's a horse's knee. I don't know if she'll recover and she's my heart..cantering on her with a red-tail hawk flying above you, or deer on the ridge, or elk in the distance, well, it's just plain beyond words.

It's all about heart and feeling it rise to your throat. And loving every second.

My friend says when I die, it'll say on my headstone, "I got things to do!"  Can't keep a good girl down..less she's dead I guess and then, well, I figure I'll get better at flyin.