Annnnd I think i need to face the fact that i’m a night owl and just prefer to post and work at night, i’m so productive during the evenings — even after a whole day at work. I’ve tried to post during the days but theres no point changing the way my body works.
I’m the kind of person who is kept up at night with a mind running 120 miles an hour.
“Oh woe is me how i regret this!”
Damn it, i wish i could sleep.
“Why did i say that?”
“Why couldn’t i have been different?”
“Also — why is the sky blue?”
Son of a b—- ! Let me sleep. For the love of christ. Let me sleep.
But alas. I’m up and i’m thinking, rarely anything good.
I need to let go. I need to breathe and realise that i am allowed to make mistakes.
My poor heart of guilt and self judgement needs to rest. Something only i can fix. I didn’t walk out of the womb in a flourish of perfection like an 80’s star walking away from an explosion. I came out kicking, screaming and covered in placenta — and while i wont say im going out the same way, i know i’m not going out of this world in a suit and tie.
That’s why today i’m telling you about a boy i knew called Standing Horse.
Recently an old memory has crept into my brain and i’ve been thinking about it a lot.
A small thing to anyone else but it sits in my minds eye like its trying to tell me something. What am i missing? Obviously something is missing. Its been bothering me and i don’t entirely know how to form the story in my head, so this blog post might be a little all over the place. As some of you know I’ve worked at a lot of farms/barns/horse ranches whatever you want to call them in my life. And one day, a new horse came to a farm where i was working. There was something special about this horse and i took to him immediately. He was young, but big and had a permanently concerned look on his face. The time came around when I had to clean his stall. So in i go with a wheel burrow and a shit picker. When a door is open nature tells you, almost urges you, to go and see whats on the other side and especially with animals this instinct is strong. And so this sweet boy was curious and peers out over the wheel burrow and down the long line of stalls, hay bales and horse faces appearing from their doors. He was very meek tempered. I always enjoyed doing his stall the most because he did his business in one place and though it weighed a tonne, it was a quick clean and he was super fluffy. But he was in my way. So i asked to him back up. He look at me, but didn’t move. I said it a little stronger and waited for him to move, but again. Nothing. I started feeling like a bit of an idiot. Why wasn’t what i was doing working? I’ve never had an issue with getting a horse to back up in my life, so what the hell? But yet, here i was with this guy who would not back up and move away. Standing Horse stood there and looked me right in the eye. And i looked right back at him.
I could see his eyes resting on me — there was so much going on in his mind.
That i knew.
“The others probably think i don’t know what i’m doing, even though i know deep down i’m better at this job than them.”
But as he looked at me it was like he was telling me to open my eyes. Something about the way he carried himself and how he stood, was telling me something. I couldn’t quite read him and thats why i think back to it so often. I know in my heart that he wasn’t misbehaving or being contrary, i just knew — though maybe i’m describing it in that fashion. I hope not.
But I listened to him, though i didn’t fully understand. I spoke to him softly. I remember a few days before i saw a woman walking into his stall and just going nuts by shoving, flaying her arms around and demanding he move because she wanted in and out so she could get back to her 5 star life with fancy cars, fake nails and herd of over pampered children who smelt like mini-prostitutes with their perfumes. I could see his shoulders tense and his nostrils strain, the whites in his eyes showed he was very uneasy when she did this. He backed up unsteadily with his back ridged and his neck overly arched. In my core i simply hurt for him and wanted to drag her out of there. She invaded his innocent space and wanted to show him she was the boss.
I don’t want to be that type of person, ever and i never will be.
I understand you have to know what you’re doing around big animals but theres more than one way.
There is always a better way. Now i know well enough i’m not an expert, but for me if something doesn’t feel right it just isn’t right. Simple as that. If my life has taught me one thing its to trust my god damn gut, because it ain’t wrong and its brought me to great things and saved me from bad situations. And it has forced me into a time where i have to face myself and open my damn eyes to whats around me and what matters.
For me horses are a blessing. A therapy. A great gift that are so often taken for granted. Their freedom belongs to their owners — its a sad way of putting it but that’s the cold truth of it. If i had my own i’d make damn sure they lived as free as i could afford. Whether they could ride or not, that means nothing to me. The companionship, welfare and mutual understanding is the most important.
I gave him the name Standing Horse, and thats how i will remember this lesson.
A horse that doesn’t move has words to speak. So let them speak.
It hasn’t been the best few weeks for me. I’ve felt stuck in a hole where the walls crumbled and fell as i tried to climb out. I almost stopped bothering to clutch at another clump of soil, because it felt pointless. As you know by my last post we took a trip to Indian Head mountain — the most beautiful mountain in New England. We visited a stored before we started on the journey home. I filtered through the cheap trinkets, the badly printed “been there — done that” t-shirts and the air reeked of stale incense from years of neglect. The store was filled with frivolous moose clutter clumps and offensive smelling scented candles from the underground version of Yankee candle. As i turned a corner from the copper folded post cards, on an old wooden rack was a pipe. In the midst of this shop of tourist horrors was a little native-made section of tribal treasures. And all i could see was this blue glass beaded pipe hung in buckskin and leather. I held it in my hands, i ran my fingers over the horse hair and duck feathers. It was a lot of money, and i don’t like to spend money when there are so many practical things that need to be taken care of. Reluctantly i hung the pipe back and carried on. I looked at the answer feathers, leather braid wraps, real silver jewellery and medicine wheels; but i kept going back to the pipe. It was as if this pipe had something to tell me, a secret to whisper to me that only we could hear. It was stirring a willingness in me. To be strong. To be silent. To keep going. To keep watching the sunrise and the moon sleep. To keep writing. To keep watching for those twin black birds that follow me from place to place.
On the way home a dark fog seemed to clear and i could finally see the stars again. I hung my pipe by my bedside that night, next to my sand tile from the Navajo tribe in Nevada, and it was the first deep slumber i’ve had in weeks without ill feeling. Without getting up to look for Basil or waking every few minutes to be sure it was true that he was gone. Without wishing i’d hear my grandfather laughing in the corner. I just slept. And my soul slept. There was no loss and no guilt, that could wake me. This pipe is precious to me already. Like an old friend returned. It awoke the old raven in me who was losing its mind to memories and bad thoughts. The raven was desperate to fly again, and would rip open its cage if i didn’t let it out.
I don’t have to grasp for soil when i have wings.