Murder Of Crows

Murder Of Crows

Murder Of Crows
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January 01
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Been known to annoy humans, but mostly misunderstood. In mythology, the crow symbolizes integrity and doing unto others as we would like them to do to us. Crow teaches us to know ourselves beyond the limitations of one-dimensional thinking and laws. It is about bringing magic into our lives. This animal teaches to appreciate the many dimensions both of reality and ourselves, and to learn to trust our intuition and personal integrity. There is magic wherever crows are. They give us the message that there is magic alive in our world and this magic is ours to use and create a new world for ourselves with.

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 31, 2012 5:32PM

The Gift Horse

Rate: 41 Flag

Vivian was my role model.

Twenty-one years ago, she was in her eighties, her bay gelding, Rufus, was in his very late teens. Vivian said she didn't care if it took a crane to get her up in the saddle; as long as she could take a breath, she was going out riding with us on the dusty trails in the Angeles National Forest.  

Viv was bent like a gnarly willow branch from arthritis and osteoporous, but she'd grab Rufus' leather reins in her claw of a hand and drag him over to the mounting block. Watching her slowly hoist herself up the steps of the block made us wince, but once Viv got her left foot in the stirrup and threw her right leg over Rufus' back, into the worn trail saddle, she was the equal to those of us more than half her age.  With a tap-tap of her boot heels on his sides, off he'd go at a bouncy trot to the trailhead, and we'd follow on our horses, marveling at her.  Rightly so.

When Viv's cancer made it too difficult to get to the barn, we loaded Rufus up in my trailer and brought him to her house, into her back yard.  Her nurse brought her out onto her patio in her wheelchair, and she cradled Rufus' great head her arms, stroking his shiny coat with those crookedly tender hands.  He understood he needed to be gentle.  Although she was hooked up to IV lines, Viv wore the cowgirl pajamas we bought her and her best riding boots.  She died a few days later.  

~~~~~~~

Buddhists teach about "no self," a process I understand as the falling away of things, beliefs about ourselves, and other sources of identity until we arrive at a place of "nothingness" which is the universality of our interconnectedness with all living things at its most essential level.  I look back on my life, and I can see this process as something that naturally occurs.  I was a "daughter" until my parents died, a "wife" until my husband died.  I've been (among so many other descriptions) "the woman with all those dogs," "that girl who rides horses," "the one who lives alone on a farm."  People would forget my name but refer to me as "Mrs. Rupert" (one of my more memorable dogs).  

Until many of these things were lost or altered or simply changed, I don't believe I realized how much my sense of identity depended upon them.  Even a change of landscape challenges my sense of who I am -- former Midwesterner turned Westerner carries with it deep connections to the physical world, a world we will all leave one day.

This is not a painless process.  Or else I am not a particularly good Buddhist.  

For my birthday six years ago, two dear friends bought me the horse of my dreams:  an Irish cross-bred from County Waterford.  He jumped the moon, had the temperment of a saint, and was the horse I wish I had twenty years ago when I was still riding rescued Thoroughbreds from the track that challenged my riding skills.  Brave, smart and skilled, we did everything together but team penning (cows were scary).  By my calculations, he and I would grow old together, and he would be the "Rufus" to my "Vivian."  

I hadn't anticipated breaking my pelvis when a car sideswiped my bicycle last fall and tossed me onto the pavement like a rag doll.  I would not allow myself to imagine not healing well enough to haul myself back up into the saddle again to ride my fine horse.  I refused to accept that sitting in chair, let alone a saddle, would always be painful.  

The woman who kept her companions "til death do we part' faced a pivotal decision.  My lovely horse was too young and too fine to plop down in the pasture at home with nothing to do simply because parting with him felt like a broken promise.  The young woman who had been riding him for me loved him, would offer him a great home, and they could go on together doing all the things I could no longer do.  It was the right thing to do for him.  It was hard.  And now it is done.  

We will both adjust, he more easily than I perhaps.  But I don't have that nagging question "who am I if I am not a horsewoman?"  And I don't feel an urgency to fill that gap.  Gaps can be gifts as well.  Of all the lessons I've taken on and with horses for the past fifty years, my "gift horse" gave me one of the most important.  And it wasn't in the saddle.

He was a once-in-a-lifetime horse whose greatest gift turned out to be a lesson in letting go of the fear of letting go.  

 

dub 

 

 

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the journey toward enlightenment continues. damn.
That must have been so hard -- letting him go. He will adjust and you will too. I wonder how you will describe yourself in a few months...next year? Reinvention is always...interesting....even if it's unwanted and unexpected. If you reach true enlightenment, let us know so that we don't have to do the work!
Now, you can picture her riding and know the horse is enjoying life, even as you can't do as much as you used to. I lost my body too, thank God for the internet.
Reinvention, wonderful post. It's so damned hard isn't it but necessary as we age and change. Best to you on yours.
Rated with a whinny! I love this story and thanks for sharing. The horse looks like a master to me. :-)
This is so beautiful on so many levels it has me in tears.
r./
I have been waiting for a new post from you. This one is my favorite. ~r
Bellwether, it was hard. Until it was easy. Does that make sense? I will probably describe myself as the woman with the painful back for a time, I think. Thanks.

Scanner: I don't spend much time on the Internet. Losing the body is an interesting concept. It hasn't stopped Stephen Hawking.

Thank you, Rita. Reinvention. Constantly evolving and moving toward???? Thanks.

JALI: yes the horse is a master.

Thank you, IslandTime.

Thank you, Joan. Don't you find we are (as Rilke said) more and more just living the questions?
Please call me "Grasshopper." This is illuminating and comforting, Master. And masterfully expressed.
What a beautiful story. Made me cry. It's hard work being a good Buddhist. I wish you much healing.
i never thought i'd tell someone i'm glad to hear you only broke your pelvis, but it's true. we poor fragile-bodied humans are no match for a ton of moving sheetmetal. heal, moc.

that's a beautiful horse and i'm sure you miss him and will keep missing him. but you wrote (beautifully, as well and as usual) your truth: that we aren't or shouldn't be defined by our possessions or who we stand next to or who or what we love. it's hard to be a good buddhist, but it's harder not to be, i think.
Dear lord, what a gift you've shared, in so many ways. Thanks for including me in your benevolence.
Beautifully told story. Animals are in a special category and have great gifts and lessons for us. I haven't had the occasion yet to get close to a horse but still hoping to someday. What a lovely 'gift' horse. Right now I have an eighteen year-old feline who is teaching me all kinds of lessons. Thanks for this story, MOC. You've been missed.
You are an excellent weaver of words into stories that I gasp over each and every time. This is one of them.
May you continue to give...
Who are you?
Well, for one thing, you're the woman who made possible that rare perfect match between a young woman and a fine animal. You have passed on your love and made two creatures extremely happy in doing so.
A fine accomplishment, I'd say....
.
I find this essay pure and inspiring. Although I am a horsewoman only in my dreams, reading your words brought the sweet smell of worn tack and equine sweat to my senses... Thank you for that.
Though I am not a Buddhist, I can relate to your journey and to your feelings. For some years, much of my identity was formed by my work in cat rescue. Last year, for complicated personal reasons I ended up relocating to a new living situation and was unable to take my beloved cats. (They are now with my exhusband.) I had not anticipated how difficult it would be for me to move on, and how much of my life and identity had been invested in those creatures. Sometimes there are no easy solutions but at least we can try to do what is best for those who are dependent upon us. Thanks for sharing this touching essay.
Exquisite. A bright treat to read this morning, Thank you.

We share an interest in contemplating the faces we had before we were born. ;-)
This is so achingly beautiful
Beautiful post. There are lessons in there for all of us if we're wise enough to take them.
Beautiful story, beautiful horse. The journey toward enlightenment is never-ending. Rated.
This post was full of wonderful events, if sad. Do you get to visit the horse?
My wife has been a horsewoman since she was old enough to climb into a saddle. I grew up riding and working on a ranch. Now, in our later years we finally have our dream....a small spread of our own where we raise Quarter Horses. Don't give up the dream of riding again, you never know, it might happen.
Such grace! I'm humbled by it. R.
This just breaks my heart. I too retrained ex racehorses to be good citizens, did the 4H thing, eventing, dressage, etc... A couple of years ago I left my oldenburg/tb cross in Michigan when I moved 700 miles away, unable to afford him. I hope that your body heals enough to be the horsewoman that is who you are. Your Viv sure knew how to live!
I dare not taint such a beautiful Post
Sigh
Mt daughter had a 'silver-white' horse
Pegasus

The grand beast was a Tennessee Walker
Polka Dot
She was a forty-sis year old Shetland Pony
Memories
Many too
Wonderful
Magnificent
Some sad too
`
Pegasus would rear-up on back-legs
I wish my daughter still loved horses
Young men began to checkout her out
`
Serious
Beer time
I break vows
I'l have two
`
I will not belch
I believe in respect
What a wold day too
`
I may stay off-line a bit
Some of the very best writing I've read here in a long time. Very best. Thank you. And on the horse....I'm still learning, but some of the best gives I've ever received were only mine for a moment, or two. I love the run linking your best horse ever to this story, to the young receiver, and now to me.
I like this story, i find many meanings.
Also, non-horse people don't realize what they's missed. These animals have made me better - they make you leave anger, anxiety, sadness and more on the ground when you mount. every ride is a peace offering. Thanks for writing this.
Oh my god. You are so wise. I am forwarding this to my friend Carol Eilers who publishes a small local horse magazine. We have so many horse friends, and this touches all of us. I cry for my own beautiful perfect elder horse statesmen that I let go a year ago September 1st. Carol's two beloved horses are living in my pasture now. Thank you for your beautiful story.
To know, to do. Separate steps of faith down the unknown path.
Not all steps are light and or anticipated, yet all yield forward progress and the view forever altered.

What a wonderful gift you were given, and how wonderful that you shared it.
This is so beautifully expressed. May the journey towards enlightenment never end. To learn "letting go of the fear of letting go" - what a precious gift, indeed!
R♥
This post captures so much feeling - about getting older, about life's changes and about that mystical relationship a rider has with her horse. I loved it. And it made my miss those Griffith Park trails.
Thank you for sharing your journey.../r
Beautiful. Thank you
What a beautiful face your horse has. I, too, once owned a fine grey (turning white) horse. Started riding at fifty with gusto but began to grow timid after coming off my boy a couple of times. So, Cap moved on to live and work with a young girl who was earnest about riding, loved my horse, and whose family were happy to take him in for me. I never looked back. I know he went on to have the life he needed with people who loved him. I trust the same will happen with your lovely guy here.
I read this the other day and I've been having real problems with my connectivity lately so I wasn't able to write what I wanted but let me say I loved this I know that Vivian (not literally), and I have for the better part of my life. Wonderful writing. rated
So glad to have found this tonight. I'm returning to my horses via a therapeutic equestrian program...I will groom and saddle and lead them as they heal traumas both physical and not. I love your writing and hope you know that the horses i will help care for are yours, and mine, and ours.
So glad to have found this tonight. I'm returning to my horses via a therapeutic equestrian program...I will groom and saddle and lead them as they heal traumas both physical and not. I love your writing and hope you know that the horses i will help care for are yours, and mine, and ours.