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Posts tagged “Daily Prompt

Perfection

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 I’m not much of a fan of winter, but the horses actually seem to prefer the cold. No bugs, no humidity, no long hours in the blistering sun. They miss the green grass though. I guess life is always a bit of a compromise in that regard; you like some things about one season, but hate others. If I could create my own perfect world I think I’d keep all four seasons. Maybe shorten winter a bit, and summer too, but lengthen spring and fall. And there would be horses. Definitely horses.


Good Eats

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For Dharla every meal is good!

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Sticks and Bones

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Gus, enjoying his version of a Halloween treat.


Smile!

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Hazer says cheer the heck up. Now!


Discards

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And old broken-down, discarded vehicle sits abandoned, deep in the Salmon River state forest.


Try

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Nothing says “Try” like the expression on a puppy’s face!


Golden Years

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Taken late in the fall of 2010 and late in their lives, this has become one (of a series) of my favorite photos of our horses. That I even stopped to take this photo was nothing more than a bit of a whim, a challenge to try to use the foliage as an artistic frame for the subject. I was a rookie and little did I know how fortunate I’d been that all the right elements for a keepsake photo had come together for a few magical moments.

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And just moments they were. I had been out shooting some early morning landscapes and as I walked down the road toward home I came across all three horses sunning by the gate. That morning was unusually crisp and the horse’s breath rose in smoky white puffs that mixed with the gently rising fog. It’s pretty hard to sneak up on horses. Tia heard my footsteps first, and turned her head toward the sound. Bullet, though barely visible behind a branch in the foreground on the far right, also heard me. His head popped up and his ears flicked forward. Beanie was sound asleep and so it took him a little longer to hone in on my presence. Seconds later he turned his head in my direction, eyes and ears alert and scanning for the source of alarm.

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I shot maybe all of ten frames, none of which were taken particularly well because I was, after all, just a rookie. But the photos I took have become my favorites. I lost Tia only two months after these pictures were taken and Beanie followed ten months later. There would never be another golden fall morning when I’d happen upon all three of my horses quietly sunning and snoozing by the gate.


Redo

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I never wanted to be a writer. As much as I’m a voracious reader, it’s not like I ever once thought I’d sit down and write my own stories or share my opinions in writing. Instead, my writing grew from an insufferable state of loneliness that grew so intolerable, I was willing to learn how to type and use a computer to communicate with others.

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To say I’m verbose would be an understatement. Although I can quiet, even shy if I don’t know someone, give me an audience and a topic I know well, and I can hold my own. And then some. Back in the late 90’s I met a man who was instrumental in helping me get published. I wasn’t looking to write weight training articles, but I’d been an active member of an Internet weight lifting community for several months when this man tapped me as a reliable source for a couple of different venues. I was flabbergasted and flattered. I mean, handing out training advice online was one thing, but actually getting published on respectable sites and magazines was huge.

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I didn’t think I had the goods, but that idea was quickly put to bed when I got a phone call from one of the parties interested in my work. For once in my life I was pretty speechless, but before I hung up he extracted a promise to think about his offer, after which I Immediately phoned my friend.

“What am I gonna write about? “

“I dunno, Zo. Just write about the kind of stuff you talk about all the time online.”

“Really? Really? Do you think that’s what he wants?”

“Yes. Just do it.”

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My friend had had numerous weightlifting articles published in the proceeding months and years and while he’d made it sound easy, I knew it wasn’t. I sat down and stared at my computer, racking my brain for ideas. I felt blank. Finally, I just started writing. I wrote about how I found my way into weightlifting in the early ’80s and what a challenge that was for a woman to do back then. Once I got started things began to flow and before I knew it, I had written several pages. I re-read what I’d written several times, making a few changes here and there before I got the nerve to send it off to my friend for a critique. I waited several hours, giddy with anticipation. Finally the phone rang.

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“Zo, that was horrible.”

Silence.

“You there?

Silence.

“Zo? You there?

Silence.

“Zo, don’t tell me that was your best effort because it wasn’t. I know you and you can do better. A lot better!”

Silence.

“Look, I’m not trying to offend you, but nobody cares about your personal experience with the Iron Game. Unless you’re famous or on T.V. nobody cares! That’s just the way it is! Write something that will educate your readers. Say something they can relate to, but don’t make it all about yourself!”

Silence.

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I was shattered. I mean, I hadn’t gone looking to write an article for anyone. They’d approached me! Now that I’d finally caved and written something … something that I thought was pretty darn good … I was being told it was junk? The hell with them! They can find someone else to write articles for their damn magazine.

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I stewed on that for a couple of days, getting madder and madder at myself and the whole situation. On the third day I sat down at my computer and wrote what turned out to be the best article I’d ever write. And no, it wasn’t about me. It got rave reviews and it’s become the bar I use to compare everything I’ve ever written, against. It was that good. Sometimes good advice may sting or sound harsh, but if you trust the source then it can be life-altering.


Wish You Were Here

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When I’m not home I miss my critters more than anything.

 

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(Beanie: We both wish you were still here….)


Safe and Secure

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I’ve been reading Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. What I mean to say is that I’ve had my face buried in that book so much over the last two days that I woke up this morning with blurred vision. Literally.  The book is that good. And I didn’t think it would be. I ear-marked it for my reading list when it first came out, but then Oprah put it on her book list and that’s a total buzz-kill for me. I’m not an Oprah fan. And I don’t much like reading books that everyone is talking about. I like reading stuff that coasts slightly under the radar.

Based on what I was hearing I was ready to dismiss Cheryl as needy, narcissistic and shallow. Her mother died and her life fell apart. Boo-hoo. My father died followed two years later by my mother and my life didn’t come to a screeching halt. Granted, I wasn’t in my late teens or early twenties when they died, but still. I felt a disconnect with the whole premise of the book. That’s before I started reading it.

Wow. Just … wow. I was wrong.

Understand that I have an innate love and respect for the wilderness. I was an avid Scout growing up and our family did tons of hiking and back woods camping. I’ve been lost in the vastness of the Adirondack Park a time or two myself. Though I was admittedly only a few feet off the main trail when I was “lost,” that alone gives me a reasonable amount of respect for any woman who has the fortitude to try to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone, with no prior hiking experience or skills. Talk about not having a safety net!

But it’s not just the sheer audacity of Cheryl’s hiking tale that’s grabbing me, it’s the whole ball of wax: Her honesty. Her stupidity. Her strengths and weaknesses so carefully and truthfully exposed. There’s nothing gratuitous in this book at all. Well, the death of her mother’s horse was a little more than I could almost bear to read. But even that gut-wrenching story was frightfully authentic and contributed to the sum of the parts. Cheryl puts it all out there, lumps and all in a very readable, sometimes funny sometimes sad, but always sincere narrative.

I’m about halfway though the book. So far I’ve gasped, laughed out loud, cried, and had to set the book down to process the story more thoroughly before moving on. In other words, this book has made me THINK. Think about my past, my journey, my current life and my future. Think about how everything I’ve done in my past has made me who I am today, and how everything I do today will affect who I am tomorrow. All this from a story about a girl hiking a very long and remote trail all alone.

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We’re at that time of year when the leaves are falling fast and furious. I’ve been doing a lot of trail riding. Alone. (Hm. I think I see a common thread) And speaking of getting lost … I’ve been lost twice in the last two weeks. Not “Oh My God I’m lost!” but, “Dammit! I hope I can retrace my footsteps!” lost.  Either way, I HATE getting lost in the woods. I fear that moment when your eyes start to scan the landscape, hoping to fall on something you half-recognize. (Or try to convince yourself you recognize) Like the HUGE oak tree above. It’s hard to miss that beauty. Centuries old, still holding court smack-dab in the middle of a much younger crowd. She’s like an old friend, a lighthouse with a welcoming beacon for those who wander weary in her territory. “Come! Rest awhile beneath my canopy. Home is just over the next ridge.”

And so it is.