There’s a very large Black Rat Snake living in my garage. When I first discovered him, I had opened my car door ready to hop out only to find him right there staring up at me with those unblinking eyes. I had almost stepped on him!—and it about scared the light out of me.
But we’ve come to an understanding, the snake and I. You see, he favors my garage, molts, hangs out—literally, and is welcome to come and go as he pleases. I won’t try to kill him or ask him to get lost. In exchange, he keeps the rodents away…and very well, I might add.
Yes, it’s a nice arrangement, my garage his den, for everything works together for good. I’d rather have a rat snake nearby than a rat. I’ve named him Fig, either because his head reminds me of one or that I break into a few bars of “Figaro” whenever I see him. I can’t decide if he likes it or puts up with it. But we have an agreement, you see. My snake and the snake’s crazy human.
Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! ~ ~ ~ Figaro qua, Figaro là, Figaro su, Figaro giù...
My son and I stopped at the side of the road, hopped out of the car to see to a goat entangled in the wire fencing of its pasture. As I worked its horns and legs out of the mesh, we seemed to draw a small crowd - a few folks driving by, some who had been working in nearby yards.
A few minutes passed when my son questioned me about why people just stood there and weren’t offering to help us. I suppose I could have asked, but I was too focused on keeping my fingers from getting smashed before the goat decided to trust us. I muttered a quick, “I don’t know,” and went about business, finally freeing the animal from the fence.
Afterward, my son said, “Mommy, do you think God was pleased that we helped the goat?”
“Yes, son, I think God was pleased.” I held back my reflection on our little crowd of gawkers though. Really, the only thing missing was someone handing out popcorn and toothpicks so the spectators had something to keep their hands busy.
In that situation a goat one-upped people, for even the animal turned around and bleated what seemed like, “M-m-m-m-m-any thanks!” before it frolicked away and rejoined its herd.
I have a bleeding compassion for animals. I have a bleeding compassion for people, too. Yet I felt disappointed in humans at that moment. Animals disappoint less often. Stupid goat.
Seeing eye-to-eye with my old goat, Piper, before turning him out to pasture.
When people learn that I’m an equine enthusiast I’m sometimes asked what style of riding I do, Western or English? My response is often “kind of both and kind of neither.” To me the style is not as relevant as is my communication with the horse while I ride. This is how I see faith. Void of churchly styles, i.e., denominational claim—which, in my mind, is really more cultural or religious rather than spiritual—I choose to focus on the relationship and freedom of expression through open and honest communication. I’ll get on a horse bareback at times. In fact, I feel the response of the horse, and vice versa, better when it’s shed of manmade tack.
I have faith. It’s perhaps strong even. But it’s also unbridled.
Now, if someone really wants to know what literal style of riding I favor it is Endurance—but that’s also an implication.
Dark Horse emerges from my dream. Mysterious, bewitching, revealing little while comprising much. I want to behold your countenance in real-time and not just imagine the cadence of your gait.
Weave my fingers through your mane. Look long into your ambiguous eyes that reflect secrets of ageless awareness. Wrap my arms around you as I rest along your back. Sync my breath with your breath and we breathe as one.
Dark Horse, won’t you emerge from my dream. Grace me with the reality of your existence, pure and unmistakable. Allow me to come close. Consent to the intimate rhythm of our being.
Branding remains an enigma for me as a genre-blended writer. I find it sticky to pinpoint author taglines, even after clarifying discussions. The topic has even entered my dreams. In one someone asked, “What kind of writer are you?” Working my jaw as if chewing a cud, I answered, “Mooooo” which transitioned into “nooooo!”
Even if I settle, the market today is such a crapshoot (marketing gurus may cringe) that something which works today might not tomorrow.
Creativity is like wind, unpredictable. A writer is like a wild mustang… You know it’s a horse (author). You can expect certain characteristics such as neighing, rearing, and tossing its mane (message, although variable). What you don’t know is where it’ll go (what he/she will do next) and how (medium)—while stirred by the wind.
Leo Tolstoy said, “If you want to be happy, be.” On that note, if you want to write, write. Perhaps a perfect depiction will come in the process. If not, maybe versatile and free will come to the minds of observers.
My parents who were professionals in the musical arts anticipated I’d follow in their footsteps, as did those in their circle, which I did. But there were others who thought I’d become a veterinarian because of my propensity to nurture animals.
Those affections haven’t changed much, even though I have far fewer pets in my care, one dog and one cat, than I ever have. It’s a far cry from, say, my ranch days in New Mexico where I was surrounded by horses and goats and bears—oh my! I love animals, and I often wonder what it must have been like for the first man, Adam, in a primary duty while abiding in Eden. God gave him the honorable charge of naming His creatures.
While my energetic dog is ever in my face for a pat or play, my cat insists on curling up undisturbed at my feet. One trying afternoon, I fell back exhausted, relishing the idea of a much needed nap. Uncharacteristically, my dog settled down at my feet whereas my cat curled up near my shoulder and produced his lavish purr, lulling me into a contented slumber. Animals sense more than they’re often given credit. They are a gift, a tote of tenderness.