14 March 2017

Long Day, Good Day

A monumental storm

Winter storms are not big news up here, but I think we will all remember this one for a good long while. For a few  hours this afternoon, I though Mother Earth may have finally gotten fed up with us and decided to blow some of us away. She is relenting now, but it is still blowing and snowing.

I began the day by writing that I was grateful Maria was her to share this storm with me. Two people shoveling is a lot better than one, especially when the one is getting on and has sore knees and some heart issues. Still, I shoveled long and hard and hauled water and hay and had no trouble with it.

We visited the animals several times and felt badly for them. The Pole Barn protected them from the wind but not from the sound of the howling winds, which frightens them. We have enormous snow drifts around the farmhouse, our cars are buried. Millions of people had it worse than we did, we are grateful.

The truth is we had a nice day. We like working together, strategizing, fussing over the animals. We went outside, froze until we couldn't bear it, came in and  had some tea, meditated. Maria is selling a ton of her new posters: "Show Your Soul," and I actually worked all afternoon on my book, when I wasn't running out and feeding animals, shoveling snow, brushing off cars or taking photos. The blog has a job to do, it does not rest.

This photo was taken with my new Petzval 58 lens, I chose to blur the background around Maria, she was good enough to decide to wear purple, my lens was grateful. She looks like she is walking out of the storm.

I made a simple dinner: we had hamburgers, salad, blue potatoes. We will read and nod off shortly, we both are wrecks. I think the worst of the storm is over, Spring really is just over the hill.

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The Feeling Of A Blizzard

Watching Sheep In A Storm

At the height of the storm, we went out to check on the animals. Red stood his ground in case anybody misbehaved. I took this photo with my Petzval 58 lens. I thought it captured the feel of the moment. This was one of the biggest and strongest storms I have ever seen.

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Our Highway Today: A New Landscape

Our Highway

Our busy state highway in front of the farmhouse became a ghost road today, shut down by the blizzard that is still rocking the Northeast. I have never seen this road so quiet, and I took my camera and stood in the middle of the highway and saw nothing as far as the eye could see. The wind was blowing snow across the road, my camera was freezing up and so was my face. I realized after a moment that if I couldn't see anyone coming down the highway, then they couldn't see me either. But I took the photo first.

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A Tough Pony

A Tough Pony: Don't Be Sad For Me

People forget that ponies were bred as war animals for many centuries, Attila rode his across Asia. They are tough and stong-willed. Chloe is leaving soon, she is going to live with Treasure Wilkinson and her family and horse and goats. Any place where Treasure and Donna are is a good place for animals to be.

A number of people have messaged Maria and I and also posted messages on social media saying they are sad about Chloe leaving the farm. Some have asked me if I am sad, and said they feel sad for me and Maria as well as Chloe. I guess people might miss the photos and writings about Chloe, and I appreciate that.

I hope they are not sad because she is leaving. It seems to me that is my job and Maria's, I would not hand that off to anyone, although I certainly can't tell anybody else what to think or feel.

Maria can (and does) speak for herself, I don't speak for her. I am sorry to see Chloe go, I will miss her, but I guess I am not sad, although I will be the moment when she walks out of our lives. I am weak on goodbyes, I couldn't bear to take Maria to the airport when she went to India.

How interesting that other people are sad for Chloe in my place.  I see on social media that people are often sad for the animals of other people, and this is strange to me, I haven't figured it out, maybe because I am strange.

I have always subscribed to the animal perspective of Henry Beston, who inspired my next book, "Talking To Animals." Like Beston, I don't see animals as piteous underlings, but fellow travelers on the earth, I see them as much more powerful and mystical than me. They come when the please and go when they wish.

I don't care to be pitied either.

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals," Beston wrote in his well-known book Outermost House.

"Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein, we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the sense we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.

They are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."

I do not feel bad for Chloe, nor do I see animals through the increasingly popular prism of pity and abuse. Chloe does not need to feel sad for me, and I do not need to feel sad for her, even though I will miss her very charismatic presence here. I will miss her morning kiss on my nose, her whinnying when she sees me or Maria, her wilfulness and strength.

But I believe animals are citizens of another nation, and there is no reason to feel sorry for her. She will be with her tribe, with human beings who will love and work with her and pay attention to her every need. She can run in a big green pasture, and have as much shelter as she wants or needs. She will always be in the company of other horses, and get the best and freshest green hay every day of her life, along with special grains.

I don't to patronize her for who she is, she lives in a world far beyond my meager human abilities to see or grasp. She is a citizen in another nation. She doesn't need me or Maria to be happy, happiness is a human construct, not something horses care to worry about. Human beings are always worried about happiness, horses exist for many reasons, I believe, including working with humans as their guides and partners in building the world.

Chloe will have everything that she needs and everything that she wants, she is part of a nation that lives beyond us and does not need our pity, only our understanding and care. She will be fine, she will be better than that. I have no reason to feel sad for  her or about her.


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Watching Red

Watching Red

During the long whiteout, I could barely see Red sometimes, all I had to do was look at the sheep They knew just where Red was, and they could see right through the storm.

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