Geometry, Shadows and the Horse who visited today...

Busy day today, at midday taking Mom for her checkup (all is good :) and then shopping. We selected lots of the season's luscious fruits and veggies at the local produce market and I parked the Beetle very close to the front door at home to make unloading easier and to help keep Mom out of this dreadful heat (109 today) as it takes her awhile to make it in from the usual parking spot.

All those purchases translated to quite a reworking of storage in the refrigerator and fruit baskets. The counter looks like a farm stand. This kind of shopping almost always evolves into cleaning drawers and shelves, beginning prep work, etc., so by late late afternoon, I was ready for a quick break before beginning dinner preparations.

With an icy cold pineapple coconut spritzer, a fan at full blast and planning to check e-mail and facebook I logged onto the laptop in the living room and mindlessly put on the TV to hear what the headlines might be. This isn't a usual place for me at this time of day but scrolling through my e-mails, I heard something of interest on TV and looked up ....

Lo and behold, there "she" was, a shadow horse prancing on the open door of the armoire that holds the TV. "She" is a silly wooden child's carousel statue that I picked up a garage sale almost 2 decades ago, just after I got my mare, Sugee. "She" was bare wood and I decided to paint her with the browns, blacks and whites of Sugee's bay roan Appaloosa snowflake varnish coloring. And, of course, her little white left front "sugar foot" which is the basis for her name, Sugee -- a little girl owned her when she was very young and could not say "Sugar Foot", so it was Sugee and everyone has always called her that since.

So with the little statue, if "she" was going to live in the house and look like Sugee, well, "she" needed a mane and tail, so I trimmed some of Sugee's and made her a standup mane to match Sug's wild punk rocker look. And, back then, I loved riding bareback all around the desert in a halter, so I put just a silken rope halter on her. "She" is small, only about a foot tall but has always just been hanging around the house, here and there, a bit whimsical or a bit tucked away and, after all these years, "she" kind of blends into the background on the windowsill.

I don't ride any more and Sugee is 30 now, retired, blind yet still enjoying her golden years. But it was a sweet feeling this late afternoon to see that beautiful outline there right in front of me, like a gift of remembrance of good times, in a place and time I never expected.

How does the geometry fit in? Well, I think the sun does not normally hit this armoire door. As I said, I'm not usually looking at this door at this time of day at this time of the year, so I'm not 100% sure about that. I'm thinking the reason "she" showed up today as a dancing shadow to remind me of lovely things is because of the geometry of sunlight specific to today. I believe it struck the reflective windows on my Beetle parked at an angle "just so" not far from the living room window. And then it beamed back into the north window and passed over her to cast the lovely shadow for me onto a door standing "just so" ..... I'm going to check tomorrow and see if "she" shows up after the Beetle is moved back to its place. But I bet "she" won't and that today was just a special little message of good memories.... "just because". I like when things like this happen, those smiles that are granted like little random blessings from the universe. They sure make life fun.


The details . . .

I find myself relishing the details of my horses, all the little things that make them unique individuals. Those little parts that some might not even see. I guess it's sort of like looking at the pads on the paws of a very young puppy in wonderment, staring at the beauty with which they were designed. So many little details on such big animals and they have been with me for so many years, it's not like I've never seen them. It's just been the recent light, the weather, my mood that makes me really look. . .

I love my sweet old mare. She never fails to make me smile and to warm my heart, so affectionate, so willing to be with me. She came to me at age 11, and she was definitely not the horse I expected or dreamed of but she was right - she chose me and it was good, very good.

The old gelding too, he is pretty irresistible with his beauty, his quick connection to humans and that little devilish gleam in his eye that seems to say he'll be getting into some kind of trouble any second. And he does, but you can't help but always forgive him. He arrived at age 4, a true wild child, breathtaking in more ways than one.

She's 30, a very uniquely beautiful, slim, hard keeper and probably 90% blind now. He's 25, a beautiful chunk of more classic looks and a rebel without a cause for at least 5 minutes of every hour. Different as night and day but the best of buddies, she is mine and he is husband's but they are family really... after all these years, how could they be anything but?

I thought I'd share them with you, in case you don't have any of your own to enjoy, to relish the little things like manes and noses and tails and feet. She is Sugee, short for Sugarfoot. He is Hopscotch and lives up to the name. They have taught me so many lessons over the years. I can't imagine having missed out on that. Someone wise once said, "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." I could not agree more.

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Reflections on the holiday, Arizona style . . .

I know, I know..... the Holidays are past.

Well, just barely, so I hope you'll forgive me. It may be January 4th of the brand New Year but I'm still basking in the glow of the Christmas season, remembering the good times with family and friends, relishing the spirit of the season and the beauty we humans create just "because".


It's sort of a family tradition, this post-holiday relishing.... from the French-Canadian family roots. Unbelievably, those ancestors put up the tree on Christmas Eve while the children slept. That was magical but extended the holidays into January rather than celebrating in advance as most folks do these days. So I'm still in a semi-holiday state of mind for awhile longer. Old habits die hard.....

Regardless of how it's celebrated, it's a crazy time of year for most, so many duties and chores, responsibilities. But it's still a time of wonder and wonderment if you let yourself go there. Honestly, I'm pretty sure we adults are mostly altogether too tightly wound and usually forget to drink in all the little details, the small good stuff of this beautiful season.


Planning to try to look beyond the schedule and the hustle and bustle this year, I set out to do a little more appreciating of the small details, to get some photographs of the Holidays, Arizona style. It was fun, driving around seeking out the good stuff, enjoying the crisp cold desert nights and hiking to perfect vantage points. One of those journeys included a visit with my friend Lourie Zipf who was down here in Arizona from Colorado, visiting with family. We got together for lunch and a long visit in the funky little town of Chandler.


Now, Chandler's claim to fame is its annual Tumbleweed Christmas Tree. Even after 29 years in Arizona, I'd never seen it. The centerpiece of their town square, it's a 53 year tradition. The volunteers begin in the fall, gathering dead tumbleweeds, painting and glittering them. After forming them into a cone and stringing with lights, if you squint your eyes, you'd swear it was glistening with that certain kind of driven snow that we don't have here in the low desert but which is common in the upper elevations and everywhere it snows appreciably. Such fun to have finally seen it and it was much more than I expected, just as nice a pine, really!

We were also lucky to have the Blue Moon appear, something that only happens every few years. It was a beauty and really lit up our cloudy desert skies making for some dramatic photos of holiday lights scenes.

I'm trying something new, a smilebox slideshow, so click the link below and check out the photos from my Arizona Holidays project. Tell me what you think of it - it's just a test version so the images are smallish but the slideshow seems nice otherwise.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful season and that you'll stop and take a moment to relish the details in this new year. . .

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