Friday, August 24, 2012


I like horses.  I like their long noses, their ridiculous taught bodies, their sharp horsey smell.  (Am I still describing horses right now??) 

To be clear, I am coming late to the horse game.  I was not one of those girls obsessed with them growing up.  Sure, I had My Little Ponies, which I liked for their powdery plastic smell, and in fourth grade I went to horse camp for a few days.  My favorite part of that week was the sleepover night, where the horses were put away and we played Capture the Flag in the indoor corral's plush red dirt. 

You see where I'm going here?  I had two older brothers who played with GI Joes.  When they took their shirts off for games of Shirts Vs. Skins basketball in our upstairs game room (sounds impossibly Silver Spoons-ish, no?) I did not understand why I had to leave my shirt on. 

When I was little, we lived in a Victorian fixer-upper.  One whole room was full of antique crap, including a rusty gumball machine twice my height, and row after row of flaking, leather-strapped trunks. 

At least, that's what it looked like to my four-year-old eyes.  The game room next to the junk room was mostly empty, probs so we could play basketball there, and the game room led to a tiny fenced balcony that I wasn't allowed to stand on.  I wasn't allowed on the balcony, especially by myself, possibly because the bottom would have fallen away, or because my grandmother's little brother fell out of a window when he was three years old and died. 

My mother, who grew up in a family that owned a funeral parlor, has tons of stories like this - children burning in fires, babies smothering under sleeping adults.  When you grow up with stories like that, you don't let your own kids explore a lot.  I'd say that's pretty understandable.  No complaints here.  We played basketball - inside!! 

But these horror stories of bad things happening to good people rise up in my memory now, making me wonder why every artist in the country doesn't move to the south. 

I have friends who think the south is a scary place to live.  But for someone with a passport to it, who knows the back way into parlor rooms and who is welcome in the kitchens cupboards behind the historian's condemning study, the south is teeming with stories, and tragedy, and fierce love. 

I was once asked if I admire Faulkner by someone referencing a story I wrote.  "Not really," I replied.  "I admire my grandmothers."  

Happy horse with backward hoof

Lately, I have noticed that The Writer's Almanac featured Jim Harrison poems shamelessly, clumping them into the folds of August without a single regard for favoritism. 

I, for one, am not complaining.

So...what do horses have to do with Jim Harrison?  Or ghosts and family tragedies? 

If you are asking me this, you obviously haven't read anything J.H. has written. 

But I forgive you.  (I wasn't' actually upset to begin with.)  Here is a poem by this man about my new favorite animal - The Horse. 

Night Creatures
by Jim Harrison

"The horses run around, their feet
are on the ground."  In my headlights
there are nine running down the highway,
clack-clacking in the night, swerving
and drifting, some floating down the ditch,
two grays, the rest colorless in the dark.
What can I do for them?  Nothing, night
is swallowing all of us, the fences
on each side have us trapped,
the fences tight to the ditches. Suddenly they turn.
I stop. They come back toward me,
my window open to the glorious smell of horses.
I'm asking the gods to see them home.

Pretty, huh? 

Finally, I want to shout-out to my girl, Cecile, who translated an entire blog post for me, from German!  I am beyond honored.  (Plus, I have secret hopes for one day learning German.  Just like I have secret hopes for one day sewing properly on a machine, instead of re-learning how to use one every three years and then promptly forgetting.) 

Photo by Cecile at

I have not yet made Cecile's delightful (blue!) poppyseed muffins - not because I'm intimidated by a recipe that so nonchalantly calls for curds, although I am, but because it's been so (unfairly) hot and I break out in a rash when I even think about boiling water.  However, the high temperatures waned last week, and I recovered my zeal for life, in which I ventured toward zucchini bread-baking land.  All went well.  (Quote from that morning: "Baking on caffeine is so easy!")  I even shared some bread with the neighbors, even though I wanted to eat both loaves by myself. 

Soon, I hope to recover my normal optimism/ability to do more than spritz rose water on my face and feel sorry for myself.  When that happens, I will make these muffins. 

Photo by Cecile at

And toast this horse.

Photo by Cecile at

Finally (I already said that, but it's Friday, give me a break), here is a video that needs no introduction.  Actually, it needs a ton of introduction, but I suggest you try it on as I did - coming upon it randomly while looking for a different song. 

You will either kill me for getting this song stuck in your head, or thank me for making you dance so early in the weekend. 

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all had these leggings?

Blurry You Tube video...not *exactly* my fault
With love and late-to-the-game equine fanaticism,

P.S. I've been hearing that people have trouble commenting on my blog.  If you have a difficult experience like this, let me know:


  1. hahhahahaa LOVE the transition from Jim Harrison poetry to blue muffins to C&C Music Factory.

    I TOO want to make those muffins... maybe we make them together??

    1. I had the SAME thought - so yes! We must make them togethers

  2. alsooo, blogger should really make it easier to comment. That code you have to type in is NEVER easy!! But I guess it's because of all the spammy comments??

  3. Hah--that song makes me think of my high school aerobics class!

    It's incredible that your mom grew up in a funeral parlor (or not *in*--but with close proximity to). A slightly anticipated death recently touched my circle and I was lamenting the fact that we are less accustomed to people dying pre old age than we used to be--seems it leaves us less educated/informed on how to deal with and anticipate it. But perhaps having regular deaths shape your foramative experience seems *too* close.

    Horses though! Love horses... I once did a piece on wild mustangs and as I waxed on with excitement to a boy in my life about this, he quipped that he'd never encountered a girl who *didn't* love horses, implying that it was a projection of animus desire, and I didn't think he was off base. Wonder what drew out your newly acquired affinity....?

  4. It's hard to believe we were so intense about basketball at such a young age. I wonder if the competitive spirit is innate or learned. Anyway, I'm glad I won most of the time. Just don't tell Kit I said that.

  5. Haha! I blame the competitive fire on those Balsleys...

    The Moves Make the Man was one of my favorite books ever!


I love to hear your thoughts!