Forest Horse (and Burro) Blog
Tuesday, November 28 2017
Thoughts and Prayers
“Made of bone” and “she’s a turtle” penciled at the top of steno book,
Code Pink flyers on the wall.. That was the beginning of the end. In older
Monarchs, potatoes in cellars somewhere; basements for roots and furnaces
Mandala of burros. Shooting Star (Olli) and Cinderella
We’re here with oak and cedar, wind, leaves on the ground, birdsong.
Is quietly joining the circle. The world ends. The donkey rolls.
watermarked. Wheels and mushrooms, Faraway lakes full of wood,
Sunday, October 22 2017
Kestrel, turtle-like, red earth
Monday, July 17 2017
I don’t sense the creek down the hill.
I don’t know how it will affect me.
My mare has forest dapples,
Waiting for an aggravation,
Blue bee flies out of a hole
I’ve stopped battling entropy
What is the next level out
How does I inhabit
Wednesday, June 07 2017
Writing (and a little drumming) with the Herd is for teenagers, adults, professional writers, scared nervous writers and people who have never written before but would like to try. The experience will involve trees, butterflies, donkeys, horses and birdsong. Each session of writing practice (5-10 minutes) will start with me or someone in the group reading a poem or paragraph or short essay that may be inspiring. We will use that as a springboard, and you can ignore the springboard to write about anything you want. We usually write 3-4 times.
The "rules" come from "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. I love this book and recommend it because it takes much of the stress and performance anxiety out of writing.
"1. Keep your hand moving...
2. Don't cross out...
3. Don't worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar...
4. Lose Control...
5. Go for the jugular..."
After we write, each person may read what they have written to the group.. or not. Usually we read twice so that we can listen more clearly. The group can comment with phrases or words that catchtheir attention. No critique, no praise, no advice! Another unofficial rule is to read without prefacing your work with something like, "this really sucks but here goes..."
You are invited to bring a drum or rattle and we usually have extras. The donkeys have responded enthusiastically and noisily to a saxophone, and one time, some of us tried blowing a conch, which turned out to sound similar to a sickly hee haw. My mare, Kaya, especially likes drumming and will often position herself heart to heart with a drum and will lick the drumskins. (In the photo, Marcia is showing Kestrel her oatmeal container drum!)
The donkeys typically interact with us as we write in interesting ways--pooping, rolling, farting, munching, chewing on hats and just resting in their sandy rolling spots. Cinderella offers her particular brand of spicy humor and nudges us not to be so serious. The other donkeys (Kestrel, Ollie and Bunny) are gentler in their demeanor but are present and seem to enjoy having all of us in their world for the morning. Kestrel once ate a poem.
The experience involves walking for ten minutes down a hill to the "sacred grove" where we will set up chairs or blankets on the ground. We can be flexible if we know in advance that a hike might be difficult for someone planning to participate. Bring water, a notebook and pen and a musical instrument if you like. The next Writing With the Herd will be Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 -- 1:30 to 3:30 pm.
Monday, May 01 2017
Ancient sage, friend to all. But
A lonely soldier.
I hear Benny's song.
Unapologetic Ode. A
by Sarah Jackson
(Thank you Sarah for taking the Donkey Poetry Challenge!)
Wednesday, April 05 2017
Assonance--A Donkey Poetry Challenge
This month I challenge you to write a long-ear villanelle, a hee-haw haiku, a sonnet for a jennet, Burros by Basho, a mule ghazal, a paint pantoum, a poitou prose poem, free-roaming free verse, asinine rhyme, a molly melody or a burro ballad. Please share in the comments and attribute the author.
I mention several verse forms. Form is a simple way to create a structure for myself—clear and kind directives to alleviate anxiety in the poet, horse or donkey. Rhyme and repetition in many of the forms can also help to guide a frisky mind. The easiest form is the acrostic in which you spell a word down the page, using each letter to form words which will join up to create an acrostic poem! The other forms can be looked up by search engine. Have fun.
Here is my poem which is a sonnet. Many of the lines came from Writing with the Herd. Next gathering is April 30 from 10 to 12:30 and will include drumming and writing. See Events Page for more information.
As if prayer were an inquisitive burro
Sunday, December 04 2016
11-9-2016. On the day after the US election, Muse was diagnosed with nasal carcinoma. She had had a persistent runny nose, and while I was out of town, her condition changed for the worse. Veterinary note: If you notice your animal has a persistent runny nose and odd head shaking, it may be a sign of carcinoma and not just allergies. She had been treated with antibiotics and steroids a month before which helped temporarily.
The following day, I brought her in for euthanasia. She was disoriented and having trouble breathing. Muse was born in 2004, adopted from Lago Vista Paws and came to me in 2005. I miss her sweet quiet presence. Because she did not go through the gradual declines of old age, I did not have the months of elder-care/hospice to prepare to say good bye. I appreciate all of the wonderful love she brought to me and the dogs and other cats here.
I had an interesting experience with burying her. I had gone out to dig out rocks and hard earth to create a grave near some other beloved animal friends. Later I was in the back yard with my dogs, Ruby and Dutch Apple. Ruby started digging furiously underneath a bower of salvia. Even in November, blooms and butterflies were active! She kept digging and Dutch came to join her.
They dug the perfect grave for Muse in the most beautiful spot. All I had to do was clear out the loose dirt and all was ready. That is where she is; I thank the dogs for helping and for the unexpected gift of support and for the perfection of Muse's resting place. So much for my practical digging chore out front! I do think digging in the earth and prying rocks out is a good method of processing grief, so am happy I got to do that too.
The message I keep getting from the land and the donkeys and horses is to GO with the energies that present themselves. If dogs start to dig a grave, go with that. If a horse comes to you and wants you to put a halter on him, go with that! Following the energy is a beautiful practice with teaching animals, people, in creativity and probably also in maneuvering traffic and grocery store aisles.
Rest in Peace Muse. Thank you sharing some time with me. I would love to hear other stories here in the comments if you feel moved.
Tuesday, July 05 2016
Kaya is our resident mustang. She came to me as a foster horse several years ago and decided to stay. Many visitors to the “ranch” have had a deep experience of connection with her—a long and deep wordless talk in the moon light, a few moments of connecting with her beautiful dark eyes and more recently…DRUMMING!
It turns out that Kaya loves being around drumming. When I make time to share space with my herd and friends, we often bring drums and other musical instruments. The last time I brought my camera, so have captured some moments for you.
My beautiful mare spent many minutes with her heart in line with my heart as I drummed in that intersection. She took turns connecting with my friend, Sarah, and was gracious enough to bless Sarah’s drums with long breaths and even a good lick.
The meaning of “Kaya” is not marijuana, as some reggae fans may think; instead it refers to something or someone with whom you feel a strong love connection.
Kaya spent several minutes with her muzzle on my forehead as I drummed.. I felt blessed with horse magic and breath.
I have read that a horse’s skin is her most receptive organ and it feels like Kaya may enjoy the vibration of the drum on her great kinesthetic body and into her organs. I am grateful for moments to share with the horses and donkeys in nature in perfect presence—and with human friends!
Thank you for reading our first blog post! What special moments or activities do you share with your animals?