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Wild Horses in Black & White

Thoughts on farming, education and Indigenous cultures in America.  

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  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

Since Covid, I've spent countless hours studying the culture of the indigenous people of America, the Indians, as my great-grandfather referred to them. Over the years, I also studied the Irish culture, especially a delicate little dance referred to as the jig and, of course, a certain powerful pale drink that stops one's heart briefly before soothing a hacking cough from years of chronic bronchitis. What do the two have in common?

Art by Quinton Maldonado and Barry Maguire.

The horse, of course. Many Irish fled an emerald island with a history that echoed from the Druids and came here as virtual slaves during the potato famine. An entire continent of red men derived their sustenance from the rich resources of the America's until colonists from Europe set out to take those resources for themselves. Despite what both groups suffered as a people, there's a common strand that links their hearts to mine. Their horses.

Horse people know it. The feeling of being drawn to horses is innate, alive within us from our first breath. There's no rhyme nor reason to who becomes a "horse person" although the ability to own horses sometimes abounds in families of abundance, It also beats in the heart of the poorest child who merely dreams of riding, the young boy who mounts his broomstick and canters on urban streets, the toddler who extends her fingers to the velvet nose of a police horse standing on the curb of a crowded downtown corner.

There would be no warriors riding into battle without horses, no chariots pounding the dusty floor of the coliseum. There would be no swirling skirts and tinkling bells around a blazing fire beneath the stars, no stirring images of vast herds of buffalo, painted men riding amongst them armed with nothing more than a handmade lance or bow. There would be no vaqueros with their big horned saddles and whirling ropes and no cowboys without the horse. What a boring world it would be. Around the world, horses, like music and sports, unite us and make "horse people" who we are.

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  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

I've always heard about the daddy/daughter connection. I love my mom, no doubt. Though physically diminutive, she is a tower in spirit, a strong woman who supported and loved her family and husband humbly, but ceaselessly. Meals were colorful, healthy, nutritious, and always on time. Our house was beautifully but simply decorated, clean, organized and welcoming, a haven we were proud to call home. She and dad carved out an acre of domestication from a wilderness of scrubby pines, saw briars and honeysuckle to build a house, plant and tend a garden and establish flowing beds of azaleas and camillias that exploded with color every spring.

Although not my favorite activity, dusting was my duty and Dad made sure it was done, and done right every Saturday morning before I made other plans. Afterwards, it was my favorite to follow in his footsteps, whether to saw down a gnarly old pine or re-wire the lights in the garage. He instilled a can-do attitude in everyone around him, supporting my mom in projects that weren't always the ideal feminine standard of the day. Things like squashing dead the spittle bugs that threatened her centipede lawn or ripping the top off a bluebird box after seeing the slithering shape of a blacksnake escaping down the post.

Mom gave me roots, but it was Dad who gave me wings.

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  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

After several days of running around, doing this and that, never slowing down but rushing from one distraction to another, I suddenly realized I didn't have any idea what I was doing, My head was in a whirl. I sat down at my computer and my brain simply died, I didn't know if I was supposed to check email, post on Facebook or balance the bank account.

So...I took today to catch up. I went to the barn early, shared a breath with Josie and took a few minutes without distractions to get my head in order.

Amazing what those few minutes did. My blood pressure went down, my heart quit pounding and suddenly, a plan formed in my head of how to get everything on my to-do list done.

My mom always said the same thing about putting her hands in the soil. Immediate relief from the stresses of life. A friend of mine quilts. Others do cross-stitch or paint. Whatever it is that gives you peace, I hope you find it. I wish for you a few quiet moments and the relief they bring.

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