There is something about Horses..

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There is something about animals in general, dogs, cats, all animals but to me there is something extra special about horses. They are elegant, beautiful, patient, loyal, forgiving, powerful and perfectly engineered specimens of nature.

I have always been connected to horses in someway. When I was really young all I wanted was a pony, I poured over breeds of horse books and every time I wished upon a star or full moon it was for exactly that. My dream seemed impossible, about as far as that moon and star were away from little me staring up at them. None of my family had any interest or link with horses. I had a few riding lessons so that my parents would shut me up for a while but it didn’t last long due to money restraints or parent boredom. It only  reinforced my dream.

I never did owned that pony but I kept wishing on that old moon/star, (it sometimes takes a while for wishes to come true you know. Never give up) I never gave up! Then late into my 40’s I finally realised the dream and took charge of 1, and then a few more of these incredible creatures (you can’t just have 1!)

For the last few years I have been horseless once again and I just know something has been missing in my life – I had not been on a horse for about 5 years but last month I went into the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors and booked a ride. I felt a bit rusty but 5 minutes in it all came back and I felt I had never been away. Today I have one again returned and loved every moment. These beautiful, gentle, creatures are calming, exciting, and enlightening and I love having a silent dialogue with them as I ride and get to know a new horse. I can only say I feel I am home!

They say a great horse-person can hear a horse whisper, a fantastic horse-person can hear a horse think and they do so like a chat! Image

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The Sound of Silence.

 I rediscovered this ancient cemetery in my home town of Sheffield, in the middle of a busy city where no one really goes and found its unique atmosphere quite etherial. I took quite a few photos there and wrote this poem. DSC_0021

An ancient city Cemetery, hidden from view,

Full of bygone people, who were just passing through

From one dimension to a different plane,

Released at last from their lingering pain.

A calm, tranquil place where nobody goes,

Reclaimed by nature, ivy and dog rose.

The eerie silence deafens my ears,

Do I hear voices from across the years?

Of people with lively and interesting lives

The children and husbands with beautiful wives.

Huge mausoleums, graves, intricate tombs

Cradling their bones like a mother’s womb.

No matter what status in life that we had

How rich or poor, good or bad

We end up alone, turned into stone

And Nature will claim us back as her own.

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The World in Colour

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When all the world is grey,

And nothing moves or stirs

bar the plaintive voice of a bird

or hopeful stalking cat.

When dormant is nature

and the weather is harsh

and all is hibernating still.

I look to the sky for a glimmer,

I look to the earth for a sign.

Then one day, one day,

when you though it would never come,

Caps of white snowdrops emerge,

sometimes still with hats of snow.

Followed by the tentative crocus,

Violet, white and pink.

Then later still the bright yellow trumpets

Loud and true, herald that Spring is here!

It is then, only then the season turns

From grey, monochrome tones

To glorious, technicolor!

Look a Little Closer

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Can you see?

What do you see?

Do you see as much as me?

Turn down the light,

Tone down the glare,

Soften the colours

Try not to stare.

If I close my eyes

Is it still around,

The tree in the forest

Making no sound.

You cannot see

There is nothing you see

You will never see as much as me.

There is none so blind

So the proverb says

As Those that cannot see.

Do something that scares you every day! Go Skiing!

DSC_0101  Isn’t that one of those dittys/ that go around that is supossed to enhance and challenge your life? It seems a bit much  to say ‘every’ day, maybe once a week/month would be enough to stimulate the grey matter and get the endorphins circulating. However on our annual ski trip that’s exactly what happens. It scares the bejesus out of me in various degrees EVERY day!

This is my 4th year skiing, this time we are in Avoriaz and as everyone knows the older you are when you start the harder it is. We all watch in awe at the little dwarf commando skiers age no more than 7 whizzing down the slopes in a stiff upright but oh so confident manner that put us oldies to shame. However they are young, have no fear, have a very low centre of gravity which means when they fall they are pretty much already on  the floor!

I take the arbitrary ESF lessons and end up with the inevitable  crusty old french guy who churns out the standard lines every week. ‘Follow my line!’ Yeah that’s fine if you are next in line to him but 7/8 people back in the snake means you can’t see or hear him so you are pretty much on your own. If he speaks English it is a bonus. So it’s a case of go with the flow and do your best.

So day 1 – 3 is Ok (after all I have been in level 1 for 4 years!) I am cruising at the top end of the class. Then Day 4 hits and we go on steeper slopes.! The fear kicks in and all the good techniques and form are replaced by the survival/’get me to the bottom of this mountain the size of Everest at any cost’ stance = BAD!

Day 4/5 is the wobble day when I struggle with the decision of jacking it all in and spending the rest of the week in the gym/spa.
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The afternoons are taken up with leisurely ski trips and frequent vin chaud/hot chocolate stops with the OH who has learnt (the hard way) to ply me with platitudes and to big up my skiing skills at every occasion in the deperate hope I won’t throw in the towel and leave him without a ski companion in future years. It’s a fine line!

If I get over the wobble (which I have always managed thus far) day 5/6 are challenging/scary testing lessons but (once over) Oh so exhilarating! I feel good, alive, like I cheated death again and feeling invincible!

I have made progress in small steps, I feel good about myself for holding in there and I definately did something every day that scared me! Tick!

I end the week with a sense of relief, achievement and feel good factor. I cant wait to get home to my comfort zone. Will I be here next year! Of course, it you don’t scare and stretch yourself every year/month/day you will never experience the satisfactory high of knowing you came through and conquered a fear!

I might even manage level 2 next year! Go for it!

So this is the scenario every year, and every year I get a bit better and a bit more confident, this year I tackled a red run, that must be progress.  I wasn’t too petrified.DSC_0128

I have a love hate relationship with fear, I can never let it beat me and without it life can be dull and too safe so I’ll keep to my motto: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway! Its worth it!   DSC_0108