The horse's pasture to the East...

Friday, February 24, 2017


I don't know what it was about this video, but it made me cry. The choir uses their bodies as instruments to bring rain to a song and makes it a celebration. That is exactly what rain is like for me, especially in the Spring. It's an all out DANCE of clouds, wind, water, lightening and thunder. I love the wildness of it, the energy and uncontrollable excitement that comes with the gift of water.

I used to scare the ever loving bejesus out of my Mom when I was a girl. I would sneak out of the house to walk in a thunderstorm. I knew it was dangerous, even saw lightening strike trees close to me, blowing branches off and smoking. And I loved it! I still go outside when the weather calls me. A few years ago, when we still had a landline and I had a cell phone, my husband and son called me, one on each line, and tried to talk me in to not going outside in a storm because there was a tornado on the horizon. I'm not very good at listening. I talked to them while the wind whipped around me, rain and hail hit me and the deck and I watched black tails fall out of the clouds. It was awesome!

I know walking in thunderstorms is a fool's errand. I do it anyway. Rain and wind always blow away the dust, the humidity and fear of drought. Sometimes trees do come down. I call that Mother Nature cleaning house. The trees that fall become homes for small animals and insects, hiding places for dens and a huge composting culture for years of wild flowers and grasses, herbs and wild berry patches. 

And I love the adrenalin rush that comes with walking away from safety and leaning in to a wind, feeling rain soak through my clothes and hearing thunder that makes my bones rattle inside my skin. I am so alive when an absolutely black sky flashes to white so bright it blinds me. And when the storm is over and the water drips from every twig and blade of grass, birds sing and the wind dies down it's like the perfect end to a symphony. 

Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for the power of water. It changes the landscape in moments when it breaks through the barriers of the river banks, flashes as a flood. I never drive or walk through water across a road. It's always deeper than you think and incredibly powerful. 

But the unadulterated and uncontrollable power of a thunderstorm in Kansas is part of who I am. I grew up with lightning, wind, rain and hail. I thrill to the electricity that runs cross my skin and makes my hair stand up as it comes rolling in from the horizon. Living in a more temperate climate would be nice for a while but I would probably seek out the enormous changes in temperature, humidity and wind in the middle of the continent pretty quickly. I need the noise, the cascades of water and power of a storm more than the placid, green country side of quiet England or the ever sunny shores of California. 

I worry more than I used to when a storm rolls in. My Lucky takes his herd to the top of the hill and they all stand there, butts to the wind, lightening and thunder rolling across the sky and rain on their backs. But I also get that urge too. I can't begin to understand what prompts him to take them out in to the middle of the highest hill but I know that I have the same impulse. I want to twirl and twirl, holding my hands up and yelling, " BRING IT ON! " 

I have a feeling that, with the extremes in weather we've had this Winter, Spring is going to rock! As a Mom I'd tell you to be safe. But as an artist in Kansas, I'd say, "DANCE with the wind!" 

It's coming. And I plan to run between the rain drops and be completely foolish. 

The flowers this year should be spectacular! Look for me on the top of the hill, in the rain...

I am, ever yours, Nancy, waiting and smiling

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

MUSINGS ON TIME or How to complete my circle...

So I've spent the past few weeks having a minor freak-out here. Somehow my perception of time and how it passes has changed. It was gradual, a sneak up on Nancy thing. One day I'm living my life as an artist, horse-woman, storyteller , wife and Mom and the next my skin has melted and slid down my front (and back side too, mores the pity). I'm hitting scary big numbers on my whirling past birthdays, and my friends are making graceful or not so graceful exits from this world. The Grandma part I like except for the fact I never get to see my Grandchildren, but that's another story.

I saw this article in The Atlantic today about living a life so long you would, basically, become immortal. It's pretty obvious this would be available to the 'Haves' (as opposed to the 'Have Nots) only. There's no doubt in my mind that us ordinary, everyday people would just have to lump it and die somewhere between 60 and 100. But let's set that aside for the moment and think about how we would structure our days if we did have, just to round it off, five thousand years to live. How would I look at my present relationships, daily goals as well as five or fifty or five hundred years later goals. 

Let's take money out of the equation. What you need is there when it's time to use it. You have a nice, safe place to live that suits your present needs and likes. (For me right here will do providing I can use some of that unlimited $$ to replace a few things and own the land.) If you want to go back to school to learn something new, acquire a skill technical or otherwise, the doors are open and in you can walk. How would I spend my time?

I spent some sleepless nights worrying about things I can only philosophize about. I made lists, tossed and turned, worked myself up until I had a headache and I never get headaches! What was so different when I compared today to ten or twenty or thirty years ago? Time. That was the only factor I could find that made things feel odd to me. 

I do have more than the usual set of worries. There's nothing there for me to retire on. I don't own land or a house. No one will hire someone in my age category, at least around here. We live in a youth saturated area full of well educated, eager college students and graduates. And I am so very mid twentieth century. My skill sets are not in the usual or average. I'm an artist, parent and grandparent who willingly set aside career goals for family, a tree hugging, animal person who rescues wayward souls. I have a college education that, again, is so mid twentieth century it's laughable. I can paint and draw, write a good story and design the ever loving heck out of a home or garden in an economy and state of do-it-yourselfers. Throw in just enough computer skills to barely keep up and there you have me in a nut shell.

But back to our existential musings on 5000 years. What would I do? Paint more, sculpt more, write and dance. I would buy the equipment I need to ride and find my instructors to take me to a higher level. I would travel all over the world, staying for years in new locations. In between I would take on the care and love of yet more dogs and cats, horses and donkeys, and teach while I stayed in one place. And then when those circles were completed I would travel more and climb mountains, sail the seas, be more vigilant in the pursuit of caring for the environment. 

I would be there for the lives of my grandchildren and their grandchildren, going to school plays and swimming lessons, piano recitals and picnics. I would fly to the moon and back, circling so I could see the Earth from the point of view of space. And I would find new friends in every country and learn from them about their lives, cultures and languages. I would do my best to be a better writer and storyteller, focusing on language and how to paint eloquently with beautifully shaped sentences and paragraphs. 

For a while I might be an MD, would acquire PHD's in architecture, philosophy, archeology and field biology. And I would always come back here because the passing seasons would, I think, continue to fascinate me all the way through to the end of my five thousand years. Would the same wild flowers emerge in the Spring and birds come back to nest? What old paths would disappear and new ones show up? And maybe I would compare those changes to someplace in the Himalayas or the shore line along the Thames. So many dreams and so much luscious time to achieve them and all of it fiction. And there's the rub. Ah me.

Back to reality. It's pretty obvious when you read this post that dreaming big isn't hard for me, it's having the drive and confidence to reach ... and time ... that will keep me from those five hundred year goals. I can't imagine getting bored. There are so many things to 'taste', from my point of view, that I could see five thousand years as too short. Still there are limits and I have to find some way to work with them. 

My first step to restructuring my time was to take social media platforms out of my life except as a way to publish this and, when I think I've changed my habits to suit the list of things I've written down in my journal, spend only a few minutes to say 'Howdy!' and move on. I am, after all, a creature of the past century who needs more hands on and less screen time. And definitely no more politics. It's nasty. Politics brings out the dirty underbelly of the world and I want very little to do with it . It wears me out and makes me cry. I've had plenty of other reasons in my life for that without faceless voices in the ether taking me places I'd rather not be.

I'll check in here more often and leave the gossip and bickering to others more suited for it. I'm off to play with horses, set up the gardens and to make the changes I can without crying about the things I don't have time to deal with.

I am, ever yours, Nancy, musing on the river of time rushing by, wading in the shallows, smiling