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A Monday meander: Horsing around

Gossiping on the beach.

The animacy of the world is something we already know, but the language of animacy teeters on extinction — not just for Native peoples, but for everyone.  Our toddlers speak of plants and animals as if they were people, extending to them self and intention and compassion — until we teach them not to.  We quickly retrain them and make them forget.  When we tell them that the tree is not a who, but an it, we make that maple an object; we put a barrier between us, absolving ourselves of moral responsibility and opening the door to exploitation.  Saying it makes a living land into “natural resources.”  If a maple is an it, we can take up the chain saw.  If a maple is a her, we think twice.


… Learning the grammar of animacy could well be a restraint on our mindless exploitation of land.  But there is more to it.  I have heard our elders give advice like “You should go among the standing people” or “Go spend some time with those Beaver people.”  They remind us of the capacity of others as our teachers, as holders of knowledge, as guides.  Imagine walking through a richly inhabited world of Birch people, Bear people, Rock people, beings we think of and therefore speak of as persons worthy of our respect, of inclusion in a peopled world.  We Americans are reluctant to learn a foreign language of our own species, let alone another species.  But imagine the possibilities.  Imagine the access we would have to different perspectives, the things we might see through other eyes, the wisdom that surrounds us.  We don’t have to figure out everything by ourselves; there are intelligences other than our own, teachers all around us.  Imagine how much less lonely the world would be.

~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Taking a brief nap.

I don’t spend enough time with the wild horses on Assateague Island to know what they might be able to teach me.  I’d like to.  But I have re-discovered something I forgot even though I am being frequently reminded.  There are not enough hours in the day.  No matter how early I get up in the morning, I can’t seem to find the time to fit in everything I would like to do.

The gang is here (and the baby is awake).

That leads to prioritizing.  Prioritizing, lately, has been difficult.  I want to do my yoga practices and meditation.  I want to draw mandalas.  I want to read books and blogs.  I want to write and take photographs and play with editing of said photographs for the pure fun of it.  I want to spend the day with the tree people or the horse people or the crow people.  I want to ride my bicycle and take walks or hikes and sit on the dock in the sun.  I want to take porch naps on the days I’m tired.  I want to be a good gardener or at least a good lazy gardener.  I want to cook good food, from scratch, and then take my time eating it, savoring every bite.  I want to share that food with others.

A swish of the tail.

There are more “I wants” that involve being with family, being with friends, going on retreat (or making my own at-home retreat during these pandemic days).  I want to work with my community picking up litter, educating people to dispose of their trash properly so we won’t have to keep cleaning up, writing letters to absentee landlords of low-income housing who don’t provide what people need to live safe and healthy lives, writing to our county commissioners to get them to do something about the absentee landlords.  I want to make the world a better place for future generations, knowing that all I can do are small things and hoping those small things will make some kind of difference.

Strike a pose.

I want to live in a world where people have enough compassion, respect, and sense to stop politicizing everything, a place where people wear masks without whining about it or making up stories about conspiracies, immunity and body sovereignty in order to sell their products (usually supplements).

I wonder what she thinks of the humans that visit her island.

It’s impossible to have all the “wants.”  M reminds me, when I complain about not having enough time, that it’s a good thing my days are so full, that I have so many interests.  He’s right.  It IS good.  The small “wants,” the things that keep me busy right now, help with the bigger “wants.”  Sometimes that is through distraction when distraction is needed (for instance, if I’m drawing, I’m not refreshing tweets on Twitter or obsessively watching the news cycle).  Sometimes through actions (letter writing, etc.).

A good look at the little one.  I love how the young ones have what look like mohawks when their manes are growing in.

I was always puzzled by friends who said they didn’t want to retire from work because they feared being bored.  It’s as if they think retirement means sitting at home in your rocking chair watching the world and life go by instead of opening up a world of possibilities.  I suspect some of those friends love their jobs so much that they don’t want to retire for that reason alone.

Before the first frost.

If I had a point to this ramble, I’ve forgotten it.  So, let’s move on to something else, shall we?  How about the cleaning and decluttering for the Holy project?

Back to earth.

It’s going, slowly but surely, and going well.  The office, where I sit now and where I started, is looking and feeling so much different.  All the decluttering around the desk made room for M to come in and install a new hard drive in my computer.  There are a few kinks to work out with it (it’s doing some odd things), but all in all, it’s good.  I was able to upload new photos and I now have the space to do something with some of the old images that have been sitting around waiting to visit you via my blog.  The shots of the horses, for instance, are from last month.  I am happy to finally be able to share them.  Warning:  There will be more sometime in the future.

A little ‘shroom on a dewy morning.

I also worked in our bedroom over the weekend, cleaning and decluttering.  It feels so good to be present in a clean, decluttered room.  I hope I’ll be able to keep the momentum and motivation going.  Motivation, of course, comes after you do the thing, when you’re sitting with and present with the good feelings that are a result of doing the thing.  I will keep reminding myself of that when I’m tempted to shrug and put it off again.

As without, so within.

From a distance it looked as though this mushroom had grown horns.

That should do it from me on this blustery and chilly Monday.  We had rain overnight.  I guess it was part of a cold front because it certainly feels much cooler now.  Once the clouds cleared out, the sky became an intense and beautiful blue.  Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset.  You’ll want to dress warmly, maybe wear boots or wellies since it’s still wet and the tide seems higher than usual.  Sunset this evening is scheduled for 4:46 PM.

Thank you for visiting with me.  Please be safe, be well, and be kind.

A weekend sunset at the Point.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,616:  Space!  Not just on the computer.  Space opening up in the house as I clean and declutter which in turn seems to be opening up space within me.  1,617)  Blustery days with intense blue skies.  1,618)  M, always.  He’s a very talented, patient man.  1,619)  A couple of Zooms and Polos with the Little Wookie and Little Peanut over the weekend.  1,620)  Love, always.

Goodnight, Sun.


Robin is...

42 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Horsing around

    1. Thank you, Frank. 🙂 You may have discovered in your research that Maryland and Virginia lay claim to parts of Assateague Island. The Maryland side allows the horses to be mostly wild. They have a birth control program to keep the herd at a certain number and they keep a count, but otherwise, leave them to live and die on their own.

      The Virginia side keeps them more or less corralled within a certain area, sends a vet out to check on them, and they have a pony auction every summer. The horses in Chincoteague (Virginia) are owned by the Chincoteague Fire Department and the auction is to raise funds for them (it’s a big event that involves “saltwater cowboys” who round up the horses and a swim from the island to where the auction is held). There is a series of books, starting with Misty of Chincoteague published in 1947, written by Marguerite Henry, about the horses in Virginia and the auction. It’s all fascinating. They also have wild horses roaming part of the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Oh! It’s sunset RIGHT NOW! Isn’t it beautiful? Here we have a few clouds that are turning purple, but I don’t have a clear view of the sky. I hope your sunset is wonderful. I LOVE your horse photos! I don’t mind seeing more of them whenever you get them out to us. I get what you’re saying about retirement. I keep telling people that are waffling on retiring, and aske me what they will DO…that they won’t have any trouble finding plenty of things. I always told people when I was still working, but getting closer to leaving, that I had a LIST of things that I wanted to do and not one of them had the word ‘mortgage’ in them. I have one friend who is going to retire in February after she watched me this summer having fun camping. She said I inspired her. I hope she enjoys her retirement! I can’t believe it, but some people don’t! Silly people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn. 🙂 We had what I think of as a sherbet sunset, orange and pink without clouds or drama. Very pretty and peaceful.

      Silly people, indeed. I have so many things I’d like to do, and try to do during the day, that I have strongly considered sleeping less so I’d have more time. (That would be silly, too.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Time is so elusive. I look back on my day, which felt full of activity, and see only a few things ticked off the to-do list… what did I do with the rest of the time?? Beats me!
    Loved seeing the horses, and your quote by RWK fits perfectly. I’ve been an animist for a long time (maybe I didn’t take in the ‘it’ lesson?)… plants are living, breathing entities and while they may not have ‘brains’ there is intelligence there that science is just beginning to discover. Are you enjoying the book?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 I’m thoroughly enjoying the book. “Animist” describes me best, too. I do use “it” occasionally. Not because I think of other beings as an “it” but when I don’t know the proper pronoun (if the being in question is male or female). Even then, I try to avoid using “it.” I agree with you about the intelligence of plants. I’ve often thought it is arrogant of some of us humans to think otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Trini, I just visited your website and notice that I already follow it – but I have never got a sign from the site, strangely. Now I signed up again and hope for the best – my spirit knows you well 🙂 and also waonders if you have Norwegian ancestors? with that name 🙂


  3. I’m not retired and definitely understand the need for more hours in the day, especially now we are doing a few renovations around the house. I wonder why life is so busy now? Is it busier than it used to be, or do we just have more activities on offer to tempt us? I don’t think there is a finite answer …
    You are so fortunate to have wild horses nearby, and I look forward to seeing more of your photos. Your sunsets are pretty amazing as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joanne. 🙂 I don’t think there is a finite answer to that question, either. If I think back to when my sons were young and I was still working full-time, I’d say those days must have been busier than my days are now. Or must have felt busier. They were exhausting, that’s for sure.


  4. There is something about your photos that is breathholdingly beautiful and present. That horse with a pose – it made itself known to me through your photos. That tells me of an extraordinary sensitivity and delicacy – thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robin, feel free to share as many horse photos as you have — especially the ones of the babies! The look in that wee one’s eyes is stunning. You know, my dad used to question how he ever had time to work, when he was so busy in retirement — sounds like you’ve got the same ‘problem’! I imagine that’s all in your attitude, don’t you? I mean, haven’t you known of folks who are bored — and boring — whatever their stage in life?!?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I always love going on your walks with you. And while you covered a lot, your observations are right on the mark.

    I’m not bored at all in retirement! I still have to prioritize because I can’t get it all done. I went back to work earlier this year – part-time, but still enough to disrupt my free time. And now that I’m living down the street from my daughter and her family, my time is taken up by grandsons wanting to come over or a daughter who needs to talk.

    And thanks for the lovely photos!


    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have always wanted to see the horses of Assateague Island. Lovely photos.
    Time, I’m always feeling like I’m running out of time or that I don’t have enough! I want to retire so I have “time.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. retirement certainly hasn’t been boring for me. So much to see and do and learn! As for other species, I think there will come a day when many species, plant and animal, will be considered sentient. Our definition of thought and communication is just too limited.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yay, you’re working on your cleaning and decluttering, too! It does feel wonderful, doesn’t it? I started in on the basement yesterday and will work my way upstairs. Already it feels so much nicer and more free. Love looking at the wild horse pictures. So very cool. You are lucky that you get to see them.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Maybe those who can’t imagine retiring hesitate to step away from comfortable predictable routines? Too scary to think about having to monitor/manage time and activities without a firm hard stop and guidelines.
    Although some have “jobs” they just delight in – enough open ended brainstorming and problem solving to find fun and joy in – or some positive work that benefits others/community so much.
    Some live to work, some work to live and be able to live their life/accomplish things outside of work as they wish.
    Of course, there’s the definition of what one considers “work” and “job”. Quite a long rabbit hole to fall into?
    Attitude. Perspectives vary so much.
    Interesting about the pronouns. Plants definitely “think” have chemical/neuron changes – maybe not as obvious as animals/fish/reptiles etc, but they are not oblivious to their environment or humans – research is pretty clear on that.
    Grammar is a human thing, so it really doesn’t apply to the other worlds unless one is really arrogant enough to want to overlay one’s own definition of life and experiences on individuals of an entire different world? (See, if you are working, you’d miss out on all this really important stuff about life and individuals’ place in it all…some people just don’t get it…so we shall let them happily work away HAHA)
    I also love the brushy baby manes. And watching pony romps. And sky songs

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s very easy to start coming up with reasons and tales of why some people retire and some don’t, PhilosopherMouse. I always appreciate your take on things. Thank you. 🙂 True about grammar being a human thing, but I think that may be what Robin Wall Kimmerer is addressing (the way we humans refer to other species). I didn’t include it but she also gets into the differences between referring to other species as relations (rather than as resources) and anthropomorphizing. I

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Animals and trees. I’ve always felt a natural affinity for both. Never understood people who leave their dogs outside or who don’t feel the peace of walking through a forest. A friend had a huge life breakthrough after attending a horse whispering event she was oh so skeptical about before going. Not so much after. And even Dame Judi Dench had a BBC documentary in 2017 about her passion for trees. This post is a reminder–I need to look that one up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will never understand those things, either, Kay. Especially the mistreatment of animals. I don’t understand having a dog if you’re not going to invite it in to be part of the family.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. As someone who’s still working full time, I have to envy your life, just a bit. What you want is so different from what I’m generally wanting. Since I work outdoors, most of what I want in autumn and winter is good weather! On the other hand, the short days and long nights of winter allow more time for reading and writing. As the number of daylight hours decrease, the darkness becomes a different kind of blessing, and for that I’m especially grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I want good weather, too, Linda, although I suspect we might differ on what constitutes good weather. I’m a northern gal and love lots of snow during the winter months. We hardly see any snow at all here. Maybe one good snow storm per winter. I love what you wrote about the darkness being a different kind of blessing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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