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I hate when people just stop posting and never tell you why they stopped. In my case, I just haven’t felt terribly inspired lately, and I’m also unhappy with my blog service. So I am in the process of reconfiguring a new blog, how I blog, what I blog about, and who I want my audience to be. You, obviously, whoever is still checking this, are very much invited to be a part of that audience, but I am hoping that I will be looking to new inspirations and new ideas to write about. I noticed at some point my writing became egotistically mopey and lost the sense of world adventure, curiosity, and wonder I had originally begun blogging to express.

So, if you are a faithful reader, please bear with me as I reinterpret, as is occurring in my whole life, haha, what it is exactly I’m doing here, and when I’ve got something new up, you’ll know.

There were many parts of this journey I sacrificed for the sake of time, practicality, distance. I didn’t see the twin spires, I didn’t stay for hunter under saddle. I didn’t go to any of the Civil War Sites that I said I would. But by golly, it didn’t matter if it was 10 or 100 miles out of the way, this morning, I decided no matter what, I was coming to the Grand Canyon. Not only is it the end of a long journey, it is the period at the end of a long chapter in my life. It’s a time when certain independences that I’ve taken for granted will have to be sacrificed for a time. It’s the beginning of the unknown course I will have to travel to get to the meat of my matter.

The sun casts long shadows down the canyon from its early eastern seat. There are caverns miles deep where the sun has not yet agreed to show its face, leaving the walls cold and wanting, while the rest of the canyon soaks in all its glory.

At first I thought that I would be annoyed to share my canyon rim with all the other tourists, but I was blessed to share my first canyon rim with a Buddhist monk and his family. The spirit and peace it invoked led me away from my isolation and reclusion to camaraderie and shared astonishment and glee. We all agreed, it was so much deeper, so much broader, so much more incredible than any of us ever thought that it was. You were relieved to know you weren’t the only one who had taken this natural western wonder for granted.

This country is so much better than any of us give it credit for. We call it southern hospitality, wild west charm, beach bum laid back friendliness, but really, humans are what we after hundreds of years refuse to give ourselves credit for. We really are good people. We’ve manufactured these tall tales of original sin and inherent evil, separating ourselves from the divine goodness, the peaceful natural world, the cosmic order. 9 out of 10 people believe humans will never stop waging war on each other, because it’s in our nature. It’s all false. People in every town, every big city, every circumstance, have been friendly, kind, and willing. I have seen people literally all across the country stop and do little things for each other, chat with a stranger, extend prayers and blessings to lonely travelers. I have worked in the halls of congress, served in student government, competed at top levels and worked for powerful men. And I can tell you that to find the best America has to offer, you don’t have to go more than 10 miles off the 40 in any given state. Stop trying to talk yourself into a den of evil we are in fact deeper, broader, so much more incredible than any of us ever thought we were. And I have faith that someday, I will be capable of giving myself the same credit.

Quote of the Day:

“does this canyon make me look fat?”

I have to admit, I haven’t felt like writing since I left Virginia. Even though there have been moments of beauty, euphoria, realization, maturity and peace, I have been equally if not moreso wracked and listless in my journey. Even as every day I came to discover and love something new about the glorious earth I ubiquitously call home at this point, I felt I had made a mistake.

Last night I finally pulled into Albuquerque, just completely abandoned of any ideal I had for myself, my future, my potential. Even the littlest plans that I had made for myself, whether it was where to spend the night to what to be when I grow up seemed to be wrong wrong wrong. I didn’t want to cry or sob or pray to the heavens why I couldn’t just have what I thought I wanted, instead I just felt void of the motivation to feel at all. The feeling persisted through to the morning. But I tried to fend off my indifference with little things I made myself coffee in the room, I sat in the hot tub for a half an hour, I ate a warm muffin in the sunlight in Old Town Albuquerque. Being alone with my thoughts in the warm sunshine was slowly starting to do wonders.

My family uniformly has a deep connection to a Navajo southwest artist named Sheldon Harvey. Sheldon, in addition to being a rising star of southwest painting and sculpture, is also a shaman of the Navajo Nation. Many of his pieces are ceremonial in nature, others merely expressions of his whole self. I had made a point of tracking down the gallery that carried his work in Old Town,
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and made my way in. I was struck by a number of his pieces before finally emotionally settling in in front of a piece called “restless rider”. The piece may just as well have been painted about me. It took ahold of me in a way that very few pieces ever have. Edward Hopper has a piece that has done this to me, Salvador Dali, and Mark Rothko. But this actually went beyond that.

It took several hours of walking in a semidaze, being so quieted and peaceful on the inside for the first time in YEARS, I felt like I could finally hear what was going on in my own head. Like having a snowy television set on your whole life and then getting a blu ray. My HEAD was quiet, for the first time in a very very long time. Moreover, this angst I’d had about being west again completely evaporated. The red rock, the plateaus, the sage brush, everything just fell into place again. Everywhere is home. You are home.

“Let the sun take care of the rest. Find your way in all of this.” Sheldon Harvey

These words were interspersed through my painting, and I wrote them down, knowing that it would be the only part of the painting I could afford to take with me. Driving several hours later, I pulled the note from my purse and placed it on my dashboard. I placed my hand on the words, and the same feeling moved up my arm and into my whole body, completely calming me down again. I don’t always know what to make of the powers that be, but I can tell you this is a power that is. And that power may be the thing that changes the whole rest of my life.

I wrote this up in a flurry to enter in a contest to win an expenses paid trip to the World Equestrian Games next year. I’m going no matter what (I already have my tickets for the Freestyle Dressage and Three Day Eventing, yay!) but if someone else was going to pay for my hotel and flight, well gee willikers!

They asked for a 150 word or less essay on your relationship with your horse, and I went back and forth first of all on who to write on. Ralphy and I have the most illustrious career, having competed at Nationals Together, and Jurnisa was positively heroic when she stepped in last minute as an older mare to be my State Championships horse when Starr was injured. Any of the mustangs or burros seemed like a great idea just because of how desperate I am to promote what wonderful animals they are.

But in the end, I couldn’t help but go back to the horse who genuinely made me the person I am today. She was the one I rode every day, or would just go sleep on bareback in the sunshine. She’s the one who gave me my “sea legs” and unshakable confidence in the saddle. She’s the one who dumped me when we tried to carry an American flag, walked backwards in fear for the first two blocks of the Fountain Green Lamb Days Parade, and sat her chubby black ass on the ground when my younger cousin rode her, refusing to pony a novice even one more step. She’s the one who used to dunk her head in the trough up to her ears, and chase my mom around the fairgrounds for Paydays, much to the amusement of all my horse friends. She’s the one who HATED having her ears touched, loved having her tummy itched, and ” made a man” out of more of our geldings than any of us care to remember. She’s the one I have in the back of my head when I imagine going to Heaven the very first thing I would want to see.

And, as I mention in the essay but don’t have the chance to elaborate on, this silent animal who mostly slept and ate and obeyed, is my conscience. She is quiet soul who I go back to, that reminds me of me on the inside, and makes decisions in silence. It wasn’t that her soul was entirely clean in fact she had a lovely streak of wicked but that her character was so enthralling, her expressions so earnest, and antics so hilarious, you just got sucked into the unconditional love game, and after that there was nothing I wuoldn’t do for the sake of a horse.

holy cow, I’ve already written a novel on my childhood horse, and haven’t even pasted in the essay yet. If you’re still reading, here it is:

“I often say of my childhood, “I had more chores than friends, but I was happy.” Growing up on a working horse ranch in rural Utah, The only friend I needed was Poco’s Brass. A swarthy bay mare, Poco’s companionship was my constant motivation to be a better horsewoman.

Every horse lover has that “first horse” story, but she was more than the first. She was my friend, my teacher, and remains my conscience. I have a few memories of winning ribbons and trophies with her at the local 4H meets, but none of them captures her in my mind like the memory of her falling asleep with her heavy black head in my arms late one night after a long horse show. It was a moment of perfected companionship, ritual, and trust.

I enjoyed every ride with Poco, but I enjoyed the friendship so much more.”

6 Comentarios / Digame! (Leave a comment!)

1. Today, even though I hate my job, I am leaving my job, I don’t give a damn about my job I did my job incredibly well. I gave the Lorraine the registrar, Lorraine the editor in chief, Lorraine the Foreign Affairs Intern, Lorraine the aspiring equestrian effort that I give to things I care about. I worked HARD, and I mean, skipped lunch, sweat into my work kind of hard. I was given an absolutely ridiculous task at 11:30 today, and I finished it at 10pm tonight. I stayed until it was done, because that was how my Dad taught me to work. I remember us driving up the road to the ranch on the weekends and Dad would drive past a tractor stopped in the middle of the field in mid plow and he would say “why would you ever stop in the middle of a field? Why wouldn’t you finish the row? Why wouldn’t you finish the field? These guys look their watch and say ‘ayep, it’s 5 o’clock, gotta gets me up to Birch Creek Bar.’ That’s why these guys are never going to do any better than break even.”
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