Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mother Gray & Baby

This picture fills me with guilt for being human.

As late as 1975, we (American whalers) were still killing Gray whales. And it's not as if whaling has stopped. It hasn't. Iceland, Norway, Japan. I won't go there. No point in messing with my blood pressure.

This picture, taken in San Ignacio lagoon, Baja, is more meaningful to me than having a new mother, full or pride and adoration, place her baby in my arms. It's closer to how I feel when someone lets me hold a new puppy or kitten. I'm instantly smittened, and begin to worry about its future, and if this person can be trusted with a new life.

I saw my first whale of the season a couple days ago. I'm not sure if it was a Gray or even which direction it was headed. Just glimpsed the plume of mist as she/he surfaced for a breath and, as always happens, I found myself thinking I might have touched that very whale. If I did, I hope it remembers that moment, or another's hand reaching out, as I did, with one wish: Stay safe.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Old man and Dog

This is one of my favorite pictures. I know who sent it to me but he doesn't know where he got it. It looks just like our coast in the winter. I love that the old man is looking at the sea with longing, or love, and that the dog is looking at his (I hate the word 'master') with the such devotion.

If I did this correctly, the link below should have turned this picture into a jigsaw puzzle. If I didn't do it correctly, enjoy the moment.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cool News!

Jeremy's mom wrote me a couple days ago, to tell me they have adopted Geronimo.

Jeremy and Geronimo!

I'm so happy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kameryn & Quinn & Arty in the hat

This letter is from Kameryn's grandmother. I'm moved to share these from time to time because, as a writer, they represent my dream of impacting the lives of my readers. There's no greater gift.

Dear Ginny,

I just finished reading The Outside of a Horse. The book was passed on to me by my 12 y/o granddaughter, Kameryn. My heart is so filled, I felt I had to write to you.

I was raised in a very small town. We could have horses in our backyards when I was kid, so my sister (who is 8 years older) was blessed to be raised with her own horses at home. By the time I was 13 ordinances had changed and my parents had to pay to board my pony. That didn't last long and all the horses were gone from our family by the time I was 14. Becasue I had to give up my horse dreams at an early age, it has been a blessing for both Kameryn and me to connect with horses in the past few years.

For one year, Onyx, who had been rescued from euthanization, taught Kam about love and patience and the basics of how ride. . . We began our search for a horse that could help Kameryn develop her riding skills as well as be her friend.

After weeks of looking and 'tryin out' horses, Kam's heart was set on Quinn, a 22 y/o, flea-bitten gray QH. We visited Quinn three times and Kam had lessons on her twice to determine compatibility. The final decision was made when Quinn walked over (on her own) and put her head in Kam's lap. (The moment when Quinn chose Kam caught by Debbie.)

We didn't know we were actually being "interviewed" by Quinn's owners. Then that happened, the decision was made. She is truly a Godsend for all of us--kind, intelligent and just spunky enough to give Kameryn the challenge she needed. They won nearly every blue ribbon (in her age group) at their very first show.

Quinn can get pretty moody at times (as can Kameryn) and when she is mad she won't pay any attention to Kameryn. It's incredible. And if Kameryn wants one of her friends to ride Quinn, she will sometimes refuse, act tired and lazy. Then when Kam gets on her, they're cantering away in a heartbeat! She's a one-person horse for certain!

Knowing Quinn wasn't able to advance into jumping, we began looking for a younger horse. I connected with a woman who runs a small rescue about 3 hours from our home. We decided to take a day trip to meet 'Smarty Arty,' a rescued Standard bred harness racer. Underweight and absolutely expressionless, Arty stole our hearts with his sweet, yet 'mechanical' disposition. He did all that was asked of him when being groomed and saddled, but he did it all like a robot. He was well trained, but so unloved. He broke our hearts. Five y/o Smarty Arty joined our family in July 2009.

Because he was a pacer, he had much to learn. However, after about six weeks of training, Kameryn asked if she could take Arty to a show. Off we went (and Quinn, too, of course). He did remarkably well, acted like a kid--alert, funny mischievous--but still very loving and willing to do whatever was asked.

By September, he was huge, and absolutely gorgeous, attracting the attention of many who had see him previously.

They have worked incredibly hard. Kam has fallen off a few times, and each time, Arty stopped right at her side and waited. He follows her all over the ring and stands for long periods of time without being tied.

We currently board out horses, but we are just beginning to clear some land to put up a barn at home. We want our horses to be given all the love and care they rightly deserve. We visit them nearly daily, and they both know that we are their family. And from helping to heal their broken, tired hearts, we have seen healing in our own broken, tired hearts.

When Kameryn grows up she says she wants to be therapeutic riding instructor. She knows, but is not fully aware as I am, of the transformation that took place in her during these years with her horses. After reading your book, she was reawakened to how much she has learned from them and how much she depends on them when things are tough. Hurting people need a purpose and when the purpose involves the care and nurturing of another hurting life, the focus is shifted to the needs of the 'other' life. For Kameryn, this has meant helping Onyx become involved with people again; with Quinn it has meant showering her with the love and care she earned after a very hard and fast life; and for Arty, it has meant saving him from probable slaughter and showing him what it means to be loved and honored.

And even now, as I've taken over the care of a broken down elderly barrel horse, we are learning that love can heal a lot of pain and that the changes that take place while waiting for healing might require shedding everything this is dead (like hair) before true health is revealed.

Thank you for you willingness to search for the truths and for being 'real' as you tell a story that, although fictional, is true to many.

Debbie H

Friday, September 2, 2011

Here's looking at you.

I took this picture in the Everglades some years ago.

When I was growing up in Winter Park, FL, we used to see alligators in the lake in front of our house all the time. The only time we gave them a thought was if the dogs were down at the lake with us. They do love dogs.

In high school, I swam the lake every day--about 1/4 mile across and back. I'd get back, all tuckered out, and waiting for me was 'Big Foot,' our tame Purple Gallinule.

Purple Gallinules are migratory. Big Foot and her partner Limpy, would arrive every summer, nest and raise their young in the cattails along our lake front. We fed her bits of bread (what did we know?) She'd stand on the railing of the front steps of our house and peer in the kitchen window. The first person to spot her, got the bread, and opened the back door. She'd come up the back steps, right into the kitchen, snatch the bread, fly out the door and down to the lake.

I learned two things from our lake and Big Foot. When we moved to Lake Sue in Winter Park, my dad and I would row out every day after school to fish . The water back then was crystal clear. I would hang over the bow and spot bass for him. Within a few years, the lake became slitty. Daddy blamed the ski boats, but I know now it was the fertilizer everyone was using on the lawns that stretched down to the water's edge. By the time I graduated from high school, the lake was clogged with algae and plant life, some of which grew so tall it would tickle my stomach as I swam the lake.

From Big Foot, I learned to love birds. She was my first introduction to what turned into a passion for wildlife and conservation. Our poor lake, and that wonderful bird, informed my thinking, and eventually led me to pursue a degree in biology, and do a little writing. :-)