Back when Jini and I boarded our horses together, way back when we only had 3 horses between us (we’re up to 7 now!) and life was simpler (not better, but very different)… like a whole eight months ago (eons, I know), I discovered the oddest activity.
When the summer months rolled in and mud-management and downpour relaxed into those priceless lazy days when I could get really quiet with the herd, Jini’s mare Zorra, the gorgeous Andalusian you see on this blog, started getting on my nerves.
She’d stare at me from the moment I walked onto the property, head low, eyes intense. I’d do my chores and work with my pair, but as soon as I stopped focusing elsewhere, she’d be there, just looming at me. Zo is a fabulous being, but she’s not always been interested in connecting with me. She’d usually say hi, have a scratch, and then wander off to do her own thing. But for days in a row, she kept on staring.
When I finally got curious and asked her what was up, I was even more confused. All I could see in my mind’s eye was a piece of paper and a pen. Paper and pen. Paper and pen. PAPER AND PEN. I may be a little slow but I’m also pretty indulgent. After a while, because why the heck not, I went and got a notebook and pencil from the tack room. I got comfy in the pasture and Zorra moved up to graze right in front of me. I let my mind go and let my hand start moving. The lines appeared slowly, then more forceful, curving this way and that until an image started to take shape. I used to draw as a kid, but this was different. I used to pick a subject and do my best to recreate it on the page, and it never looked how I wanted it to. This was just a line here, a line there, til a horse’s head took shape. Then the words started coming, and this is what happened:
If you can’t read my writing (some of us millenials missed out on proper cursive instruction), this is what the words say:
if only you could see
the parallels of humanity and
the greatness you hold at bay
the endless wisdom in every day
the extraordinary perfection of
each incomplete circuit – the languid
lines of connectivity between me and you
and all things – your body is not your
body, your mind is not your mind
we all participate in the dances of
the divine through space,
through billowing time, whether you know,
accept or detest this puppetry – well,
you gave your consent
the day you
asked to be
As I put the finishing touches on the page, Zorra sighed, snorted, yawned, and moved away. I was left with this literary puzzle of a poem and a tingling, quiet feeling.
I don’t know how much of this came from Zorra, or from me, or simply through one or both of us. As a writer, this was the first time I’d experienced words flowing so easily without my internal judgment or editor nattering on about this word choice or another, whether the piece was any good or not, and so on. The entire poem was on the page in a minute or two, and there it was – not mine to judge, not mine to question.
I read it again, looked at Zorra, and laughed out loud. I knew horses were creative, mystical, and mysterious, but I had never been outright used for my prehensile ability to grip a pencil before.
This happened a couple more times, where Zorra would stare at me until I conceded and got my notebook, and then we’d write.
Here’s another one:
Waiting is like
holding your breath
clutching sand in your fist
pinning down wild cats
or rationing food –
it is futile and dangerous.
let out your lungs
unclench your fingers
bathe your wounds
while you’re still
As someone who has had to cultivate and piece together confidence in my intuition and in non-verbal communication over time, this was such a refreshing way to connect with myself and the lovely Zorra, and to plug into that channel where thoughts and words and creativity flow effortlessly. Also, I could not recommend anything better for curing writer’s block. And the best part was – it wasn’t even my idea!