Florida Day 5 – Birthday Bass

Yesterday afternoon, after my morning adventure to Marco Island, I headed back to my camground in the swamps and decided to spend the mid afternoon bass fishing the canals that cut through the glades. There’s little else I enjoy more. It’s so quiet and mysterious back there, the senses are constantly delighted by the sights and sounds of the vibrant ecosystem. Tropical birds, lizards, snakes, turtles, and gators are my constant companions.

This was my first time picking up the fishing pole since winter put a damper on the trout fishing out in the Black Hills. I was amazed at how quickly my fisherman’s instincts took over, how naturally my mind became quiet and my focus intense. My first catch took a little skill and instantly boosted my enthusiasm. The bass had lightly scooped my plastic worm off the bottom and started to run with it. I didn’t feel any strike, but I saw the line start to drift to the right. Without hesitation I yanked up the rod to set the hook and the water exploded with the wrath of an angry bass fighting for its life. It was a smaller bass, so its life was spared. After changing locations to deeper in the swamp, I caught three medium sized bass and two panfish. I was tempted to keep each bass, but I ended up releasing them in hopes of catching a bigger fish to be the entre of my birthday dinner. After about ten more minutes of fishing with no luck, I started to regret throwing back my earlier catches. Two of them would have made a great meal, but now I was empty handed.

Not wanting to feel bummed out on my birthday, I just accepted the fact that tonight I would be eating potatoes and then strapped my rod to my dirtbike and headed back. Just before reemerging back onto the paved main road, I stopped by one more fishing hole that I had never tried before. A few casts in, I got what I was looking for. Again, the bass struck the line lightly, and I had to intuit he was there, whipping the rod tip up to set the hook. Instantly I felt the heavy resistance and I knew I had hooked a big one. He put up a good fight but I managed to flop him up onto the bank. I got my birthday bass.

Knowing I was done fishing, I didn’t bother putting him on a stringer, but instead pulled out my fishing pliers and gave the fish a violent smack right between the eyes to kill it. The bass immediately went into convulsions in my hand, and I hit it a few more times just to make sure I had done the job. I wrapped him in a zip-lock bag, strapped him to my bike, and motored the few miles back up the Tamiami Trail to camp.

Entering camp I felt so proud with my rod and catch displayed on the back of my bike rack. I’m sure no one noticed or cared, but in my mind I was a hero, a man who went out into the swamps to catch dinner, now returning triumphantly to enjoy his birthday feast complete with joints and tequila.

Yet before preparing dinner, I took the time to do a thorough session of yogic breathing exercises followed by meditation. I actually had an uncharacteristically deep meditation where I simply dissolved into the tranquil evening around me. I couldn’t tell the difference between myself and the sounds of the insects and frogs in the pond, the whisper of the wind, or the occasional splashes of swamp creatures on the hunt. Everything was clarity and bliss.

In such a mood, I took my time and made a delicious dinner of rice, sauteed veggies, and two ample bass filets. Then I blended up some hash, cannabis flower, and tobacco into a perfect cone joint and headed down the road to a quiter place to walk along the canals, contemplate, and smoke in peace. I had a birthday talk with God out there, expressing gratitude for all my blessings, and asking for continued guidance and blessings so that I can make the most out of this life and serve God and humanity at my greatest capacity. And of course I prayed for the wellbeing of my parents and the healing of the world.

I ended the night a tall glass of tequila and an episode of Rockford Files in the van on the pond edge. It was a happy birthday.

Florida Van Adventure – Day 4

It’s my birthday. I went to bed early last night and woke up before dawn this morning, wanting to start the day out on the right foot. After a brief sink bath and a cup of coffee, I got right to my breathing exercises and meditation. Again, my meditation was quite potent and effortless. I don’t think there’s any more accurate indicator of one’s overall state of wellbeing than meditation. When there is trouble in the body, mind, or heart, it’s hard to focus and easy to get restless. But when you have a degree of contentment, acceptance, and an integrated sense of harmony within and without, it becomes much more natural to simply fall into blissful and empty inner states. Seasons of good meditation come and go. I’ve been making a lot of effort late to nurture the right conditions for inner peace. It seems to working. Then again, I always feel pretty positive and content around my birthday. All in all, I like life, I enjoy it, I think it’s neat, and I have many reasons to feel blessed and grateful.

I’ve had a bit of change of plans on my birthday activities. I decided to treat myself to a proper brunch on Marco Island at a popular little spot I enjoy, Doreen’s Cup of Joe. I enjoyed a crab benedict, one mimosa, and three cups of coffee while people watching, checking out the pretty tourists girls, most of them on vacation with their fiances or boyfriends. I never really envy guys with pretty girls. I’m experienced enough to know that women generally take a lot of upkeep, a lot of money and energy spent keeping them happy. As a lifelong, freewheeling kind of guy, I usually just get my loving on the run. It comes and goes. There are seasons for everything. Nothing makes me happier than independence, spontaneity, feeling close to God and Nature. I’ve never yet had a partner who ultimately doesn’t distract from that. Sometimes I welcome that distraction, but not currently.

After breakfast, I felt the urge to do a little writing and update this blog. I walked into a fancy resort hotel right on the beach, and bluffed my way to their beautifully landscaped pool and patio, and managed to get on their wifi as well. In a minute here I’m gonna strap on headphones and go longboard cruising around the island. Marco really is beautiful. I just love all the tropical landscaping, palms and flowers everywhere. Combined with the bright sun and sea breeze, it’s pretty hard not to feel happy here. I plan to stop by the various boat marinas. I like watching the pelicans and the fish that hangout looking for a free meal from the fishermen.

I won’t hang out on Marco all day though. My birthday wouldn’t be complete without a long solitary walk in the wilderness, sinking my toes in the sand, listening to all the songbirds, keeping my eyes peeled for snakes, gators and panthers. That’s how I like to spend my time.

I’m content with being alone on my birthday, and I’m content with turning 48. My outer quest for happiness is mostly winding down, while my inner quest ramps up to new levels of devotion. True happiness isn’t dependent on any outer circumstances; it only comes from Self knowledge, harmony with one’s own being. Every outer pleasure sacrificed makes room for inner riches that can never be lost or taken away. The world is quickly spiraling into insanity and violence, which makes the quest for inner peace and spiritual liberation all the more urgent.

Florida Van Adventure – Day 3

Yesterday I woke up at the Georgia/Florida state line, having slept in a Walmart parking lot in Kingsland GA. I was happy that the day’s drive began and ended in Florida, and that I would get to see the state in the full light of day, hoping to arrive at my campground in the Everglades by the late afternoon.

The drive was pleasant apart from the handful of insane drivers on 95. I like Florida. I’ve been coming down here for years. The sunshine always lifts my spirits. I love the sea air, the tropical foliage, the spanish architecture, and the general good cheer of the retirees and snowbirds. People come down to Florida to relax and have a good time, and they do it well.

I arrived at my campsite around 5pm, pretty worn out and hazy from the drive and a few road sodas and edibles. I didn’t feel I had to charisma and mojo at the moment to somehow finagle my way into the same camp spot I had last year, but I lucked out and scored just the spot I wanted. The host was super easy going and casual about things, which is typical of this backwaters campground. That’s exactly why I like it… that, and all the gator ponds full of fish and tropical birds, and all the beautiful greenery. And it’s cheap.

I achieved little last night but the dissappearance of a few drinks, followed by the dissappearance of consciousness, falling asleep in my clothes, not under the blankets. Nevertheless I woke up in good health and spirits, except for a low-level malaise that wore off during my vitalizing morning rituals. I had ample coffee, grabbed a shower that I finished with several minutes of cold water only, did twelve sun-salutations by the pond, did my Wim Hoff breathing followed by two other yogic breathing exercises, and then proceeded to enjoy a rather serene and empty-headed meditation. I followed all that with a light breakfast of peanut butter toast, a banana, and a hash and flower mixed joint.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I hope to be in optimum health and spirits to really enjoy an adventure. So today I plan to mostly lay low by the pond, do another round of yoga, breathing, and meditation, and eat some wholesome food. I just want to flush out the past few days of mild excess and start off this adventure on the right foot, not wasting any more days to haze and malaise!

As for my birthday tomorrow, so far I’m leaning towards a thirteen mile loop walk through the swamps in the heart of panther country. I’ll mostly go slow and barefoot, just enjoying the quiet and beauty of the wilderness, stopping from time to time to play my hindu flute to the forest. I’ve always been a fan of really long day hikes. You only get tired at the very end, but throughout most of the walk you fall into a rhythmic trance where the mind becomes very clear. Plus, you’re bound to encounter all sorts of creatures and sublime forest nooks. I usually spend my birthdays alone. It’s always been a sacred day to me, a day to walk and talk with God and to bathe in the bliss of Nature.

Florida Van Adventure – Day 1

Once again, I find myself in route to Florida to flee the last cold weeks of winter, and to get a head start on Spring and rejuvenation. I haven’t been living in my van since I bought my ranch in August, but have been quite stationary staying put in Sundance rennovating the home. I am very happy to be back out on the road and headed to the tropics for another open-ended south Florida adventure.

To start my adventure I have a two week reservation at a somewhat podunk but tranquil campground in the swamps about thirty minutes inland from Marco Island. I have deep love for the Everglades and the Big Cypress National Forest and spend more of my time inland in swamp country than I do soaking up sun and waves and checking out pretty tourist girls at the beach. I go on all day long exploratory hikes through the backcountry photographing wildlife and just appreciating the diverse fauna and flora of the glades. The Everglades are absolutely teeming with life and one is never alone in these forests and marshes. Anywhere you glance your eye will find a creature watching you, whether it’s a lizard sharing the bench, a bird on a branch, gator eyes protruding from dark depths, or a silent panther stalking from behind. To me it is an Eden, and time spent in these forests is like sitting at a guru’s feet. Nature is alive here, and she has lessons and insights to teach to those willing to wander and wonder this vast and mysterious jungle.

My intention for this trip is really to just get out of my head, relax, and spend nearly all my time in nature fishing, exploring, making music, meditating, etc. Although I don’t intend to behave like a puritan down here, I do want to prioritize exercise, eating well, and clean living within reason. I want to take advantage of the strong sunshine, the vitalizing sea air, and the shimmering strength of Life in the swamps, to purify and prepare myself for the summer ahead. I feel driven and purposeful lately. I want to avoid getting caught in ruts and find a real, positive, stride.

So that’s basically where my head is at as I start this adventure. If it’s any sign, my first evening on the road last night was quite special. I visited some friends on a farm outside of Asheville, a little fortress in the mountains, abundant with all sorts of animals and hippies. Anyone who knows me, knows how deeply I love bonding with animals and observing wildlife. Well, upon entering the house I was greeted by my friend’s real wolf. I’ve known this majestic and daunting creature for probably five years now, and the dog has never let me get near him. He has bright, powerful eyes and a deep and intimidating growl. Compared to ordinary domestic dogs, his sense of strength and sovereignty just shines. He has a magical, intimidating presence. For the first time ever, last night he walked right up to me and leaned into me, nuzzling me with his head, and warmly welcoming and enjoying my pets. Then, when we all sat at the table for drinks, joints, and chats, my friend’s parrot jumped up on my shoulder and started nuzzling its head into my beard while making sweet little noises. He stayed there for more than half an hour and we sweetly bonded. To top it all off, the real icing on the cake, when I retired to my van to sleep, I invited to the two giant, white, Great Pyrenees, farm dogs into my van. These enormous dogs live outside all the time and have been trained to guard all the other farm animals from foxes, coyotes, cougars and such. They cautiously came into the van to scope it out. Then they hopped up on the bed and discovered it was really warm and comfortable. Then they didn’t want to leave and I didn’t want them to either. We all fell asleep together on the narrow bed and slept blissfully in a dogpile well into the morning. They were very sweet and affectionate, and loved to cuddle. It was a perfect start to my adventure.

Tomorrow I have about six hours to drive left before arriving at my campground in Big Cypress. My 48th birthday is Friday. Stay tuned!

I have deleted all of my content from YouTube and moved to Rumble…

Find my new Rumble Channel here, and PLEASE subscribe!

This above video is my last post on YouTube, and my last interaction with the Google/Youtube corporation. I will no longer tolerate YouTube’s brazen suppression of free expression and manipulation of information, motivated by it’s extreme political bias and the role it plays in innovating the infrastructure of the fastly encroaching technocratic and tyrannical New World Order of which China is the testing ground and guiding model. Even if these grave faults weren’t enough to drive me away in protest and disgust, several months ago they quietly changed their policy and decided to monetize all content without permission of the content creators themselves, profiting off the content we create while only giving a pittance share to those with massive viewership who qualify for their monetization program. In other words, YouTube places advertisements on all my videos now to eke a profit out of them and I don’t see single cent. It is we the creators who lend this platform its value, and YouTube seems intent on abusing us in any way it can for it’s own gain and deceptive, malevolent purposes. It is said that America is no longer a Constitutional Republic nor a representative Democracy, but a Corporate Oligarchy. You can be sure that the Google/YouTube corporation is among the chief corporate oligarchs who seek to undermine the American mission of Liberty to usher in a “new normal” of global authoritarian control, securing their place in this budding tyrannical regime. The corporation is traitorous to the values of this great country in which it was founded and enriched itself, and is an enemy to all freedom loving people. I can no longer in good faith support this platform or mislead my fans to participate in that seditious site.

Therefore I have deleted all my creative content, many hours of original music, live performances, nature footage, and poetry, and I have moved it all to my new Mateo Monk Music channel on Rumble.com, hoping they will live up to their avowed commitment to free expression and fair monetization. I thank you all for your support and viewership over the years, and I earnestly encourage all of you to subscribe to my new Rumble channel and to abandon all association with the Google/YouTube company. Google has one of the worst reputations in the tech industry for abuse of privacy and the manipulation/suppression of information. Do not use their search engine and cancel your gmail accounts. I recommend Duck Duck Go for a search engine and Proton Mail for an email host. All my life I’ve heard that we should vote with our dollar. Let us vote Google out of power and out of business. We the people will not surrender our freedom without a fight (or ever!), and we will hold our abusers accountable for their crimes against humanity. If you think I sound a little crazy or that I am blowing things out of proportion, I would counter that you aren’t paying enough attention and need to stop having your worldview dictated to you by the blatantly corrupt mainstream media. The only way to end this nightmare into which the entire world is rapidly sinking is to WAKE UP. World War III started long ago while we were all distracted arguing on Facebook. There is no backing out now. The only choices are to fight for freedom or to succumb to global tyranny. As I’ve said often before, “You may mock me now, but you’ll remember me later.”

Lastly, I just wanted to share a recent article (only a few days old) as an example of Google’s transparent corruption and brazen manipulation of information. It’s about how Google rapidly moved to manipulate their search engine results for “Mass Formation Psychosis”, after the very relevant term was placed into public consciousness by Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of the mRNA technology on which these toxic and ineffective “vaccines” were based, during an interview with Joe Rogan… which of course the YouTube “Ministry Of Truth” quickly deleted. This is just to give you an idea of the corrupt behemoth we are dealing with. The article:

https://newsrescue.com/google-quickly-resets-screens-results-for-mass-formation-psychosis-after-bombshell-dr-malone-joe-rogan-interview/

I will leave the above single video up for the next several months to guide people to my new Rumble channel and to inspire others to participate in the mass exodus, and then I will delete my YouTube account altogether and having nothing more to do with Google/YouTube. If YouTube decides to delete it before then, I would take that as a badge of honor. The can silence my voice like so many others, but the truth will be heard and justice will prevail. See you on the other side. Stay free, stay vigilant. Love and blessings,

Mateo.

Again, here is the link to my new Rumble Channel. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!!!

https://rumble.com/c/c-1310014

The Mahabharata

October 29th, 2021, just after reading about the death of Karna in the Mahabharata.

The Mahabharata is without question the most moving, enlightening, mystifying, and compelling book I have ever read. I truly believe it is a gift to humanity and should be read by all people who yearn to understand the riddle of Life more deeply, by all seekers of Truth. Yet the Mahabharata is anything but a dry and tedious scripture. It is a heroic epic, the tale of the five Pandava princes and the great dharma yuddha (war) at the crack of the ages between the dvapara and kali yugas. It is a page turner of a book, and touches on every possible human emotion and conflict.

The Mahabharata was written by the immortal sage Vyasa. So many times we wonder “What is life? What is the lesson that life teaches? What is the meaning of the bedazzling and wondrous mystery?” I feel that, being an immortal, Vyasa had seen and known the entire arc of Life’s story, and in the Mahabharata he set forth to encapsulate and illustrate the entire scope, meaning, and purpose of Life for us mortals of limited perspective and experience. It’s all in there. Vyasa’s lens leaves nothing unexplored. He lays out the entire map. I know some people call the Bible the Greatest Story Ever Told. As one who holds deep reverance for the New Testament, I personally believe that honor goes to the Mahabharata.

This is my second reading of the Mahabharata this year. It is an incredibly long story but has not lost my interest for a second. There are only two or three unabridged translations that I know of in the English language, one of which will provide for my third reading of the epic. The two I have read were tasteful retellings as opposed to translations. The first was by William Buck. I loved his retelling of the Ramayana, however I discovered that his version of the Mahabharata was far too truncated, leaving out too many important aspects of the story. Nevertheless I found it compelling and deeply moving; the source material is simply that good that it’s light shines through. The second retelling of the Mahabharata I read was by Ramesh Menon and it came in a two volume set totalling 1564 pages. His version is very thorough and true to the original, and I was floored to discover just how much greater depth, detail, and nuance his version contained compared to Buck’s. I do highly recommend his version. The unabridged translations are a bit tedious for the modern ear, nevertheless I will read Bibrek Debroy’s unabridged translation next.

I took the above picture not so much for my few readers on this blog, but more for my own memories. This period of my Life has been incredibly pivotal and the study of the Mahabharata has much to do with that. During my reading of this text I have bought my dream ranch in Wyoming, worked for several months rennovating my new home while adapting to the new area, and I suffered through not one but two bouts with Covid, and still suffer from frustrating long haul symptoms that just won’t go away. I took the picture to memorialize this time in my life. Reading the Mahabharata is a true landmark in my life, and one of the greatest pleasures I’ve ever enjoyed. As you can see by the open book in the picture, I’m actually still not finished with my second reading, but today I did read the pivotal chapters where the anti-hero Karna is slain, which is perhaps the climax of the story. I’m writing this now rather than when I finish because it’s the journey I want to remember.

I wanted to briefly mention the character Karna. His entire life was tragic and full of suffering and misfortune, and even though he fought in the war on the side of evil for the wicked prince Duryodhana, that didn’t diminish his status as the greatest archer to ever live and one of the noblest humans to ever walk the Earth. I know that sounds strange to hear, but the book is very clear about that, even Lord Krishna himself extols Karna’s skill and virtue over the story’s true hero, Arjuna. You’ll have to read it to understand. Nevertheless, I don’t think I’ve ever been so deeply moved by a single character’s plight in any film or literature I’ve ever absorbed. I have cried for Karna many times. Tears well up in my eyes as I write this. So heart wrenching. At one point during my reading I said to myself, “If I ever had a son, I might name him Karna, or perhaps I’ll name my next dog Karna.” And then shortly after, I read a passage that said something to the effect of: “Karna’s fame will be known around the world throughout the ages, and men in the far distant Kali Yuga will name their sons after him.” That’s how deeply moving and affecting his story is.

God bless Vyasa for gifting this work to humanity, and God bless Ramesh Menon for his faithful and beautiful retelling. One aspect of William Buck’s translation deeply moved me and is found on the very first page of his rendition: “Vyasa the poet tells you, Oh beware, beware of Reality, beware of Justice, enough of waiting and waiting, you are in danger. Once hearing the Bharata, who can bear listening to other stories, which sound like the braying of an ass?” And so it is. I will soon begin my third reading of the Mahabharata, and perhaps I will read it for the rest of my life. I have never been more moved by any other work of art I have ever encountered during my 47 years on Earth. The Mahabharata is Life, and I am deeply grateful for it.

WHD – Snow Horses

10/16/21

I never really cared too much for winter on the east coast. The snow tends to be slushy and dirty, filled with grime from traffic, that can linger for weeks after a storm creating a soggy and depressive atmosphere. The clouds, too, linger around and whole months can go by in a dull, overcast, grey. But this doesn’t mean I don’t like winter. I have vivid memories of a family trip we took to Lake Tahoe when I was boy back in the late 70’s. As we were passing through the mountains at night to reach our destination, thick flakes of snow began to fall, rushing at the windshield in a mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic, pattern and filling my heart with delight. The next morning I woke up to an absolute paradise of a winter wonderland: quaint log cabins with heavy white roofs lined with icicles, dark green pines sagging low with snow, the mountains more majestic than ever, and of course, the infinite lake stretching into a misty abyss, all illuminated by the morning sun. It all impressed a sense of wonder into my heart that has never left me to this day. Winter can be stunningly beautiful, and so it is out here in Wyoming.

I had been a little intimidated about the onset of winter out here, however. For one, I’ve been scrambling to shore up my new house to ready for the season. This house had all kinds of problems and would have been a damp and frigid pit of illness all winter had I not taken urgent measures. But now, after fixing a leaky roof, leaky propane, and rotten siding, as well as replacing a rusted out wood stove and stuffing a lot of gaps with insulation, my home is actually quite cozy and hospitable. It feels good in here, especially looking out the window at an endless sea of white framed by speckled mountains.

I was also a little worried about maybe getting a bit lonely and feeling isolated, since I did only move here a few months ago and don’t have a lot of friends yet. But truth be told, although I’ve been alone for the past few years, I haven’t felt a single pang of loneliness in over a year and a half. I think it’s more than simply growing used to solitude; I feel I’m growing closer to God. I feel a conscious presence everywhere around me and in my heart. I feel a new sense of hope and purpose in life emerging from the ashes of yesterdays dreams. I don’t feel isolated from anything, but rather intimate with everything. I think I’ll be quite content just diving deep into music recording projects this winter, puncuated by frequent outdoor escapes to snowshoe through the mountains, cross country ski across a frozen resevoir, or ride powder at the nearby resort.

But this is a blog about horses. We got our first winter storm out here just a few days ago. We may have gotten eight inches or so, but I discovered that the big snow drifts out here can quickly turn a few harmless inches into several deep feet of heavy snow. I was worried about the horses on my land. Their water was frozen and so was the hose to fill the tank. The horses themselves were standing out in pasture with their backs to the heavy winds that were scattering snow and frost everywhere. I messaged JW to ask if we should be concerned. He wasn’t worried for them at all. He knew the storm was passing and the temps would come back up, and he knew the horses would eat snow to sate their thirst when their trough was frozen. I still felt a little sorry for the horses and decided to bundle up and brave the snow to feed them some apples and keep them company. They were excited for the apples and glad to see me, but no more than usual. They seemed completely content, business as usual, as if they didn’t even notice the weather. The only difference I noticed at all was that the lower half of their snouts were dark-stained with moisture from grazing through the snow.

The next day the sun came out although the snow remained on the ground and the temperatures low. Again I went out to greet them and enjoy their company. They were perfectly happy in the weather conditions, very lucid and bright in their vibrations. I felt lifted up by just being around them. They helped me to feel the vitality of the moment in fearless contentment. They were not daunted by the cold, nor anxious about the winter. They were alive in the present, thriving, confident. They were illuminated by the sun, supported by the earth, groomed by the wind, and sated on snow. In that moment I felt a sense of possibility as wide as the endless prairie.

After witnessing the beauty of a snow-draped Wyoming and the fearless fortitude of four, fine, horses, all my anxieties facing the winter have vanished. I don’t see the months ahead as any type of descent into less favorable conditions. I see a sun ascending over the white-capped mountains, its radiance accentuated by the crisp winter air. I see a woodstove in my basement, heating the floor boards and keeping the whole house warm. There is a fire kindled in my heart that warms my whole being in the same manner. I will tend to it, and not let it go out again.

WHD – The Alpha & The Omega

10/07/21

My relationship continues to evolve with the eight horses I have access to on a daily basis, my neighbor’s herd of four (three geldings and a mare), the four grazing on my land (1 gelding and three mares). An interesting an unexpected lesson that the alpha’s of each herd taught me recently, is that hierarchy and pack dynamics matter, and that even as an outsider human, I have to cooperate with these aspects if I want to sustain harmonious relationships with all the horses. As I mentioned before, my neighbor’s horse Lefty shunned me for three days once the new herd arrived on my land. He had sort of laid a claim on me and tended to monopolize all my attention, pushing the other horses away or even biting them if they approached while I was petting him. Once he saw me lavishing affections on the new horses and feeding them apples that used to be for him, he ignored me for three days, wouldn’t come near me, and wouldn’t let me pet him. You could say he gave me the silent treatment. And it worked! I did feel snubbed and at first I couldn’t understand why. I hadn’t realized that horses are so temperamental.

This week, Cece gave me the silent treatment as well for a day and half, but for a different reason: I was being too fair and equal to all this horses in her herd, not giving her the greater share of attention and treats she was entitled to as the alpha. It started with an afternoon apple feeding. I cut two apples into eight slices, two slices for each horse. I gave each horse a slice in the order they were standing around me. Both Cece and Jasmine were suprisingly pushy, getting a little too used to getting sweet treats. When I went to give the last apple slice to the omega of the herd, the smaller, reddish mare, she was very hesitant to take it and I couldn’t understand why. She loves apples. As I was trying to give her the slice, Cece kept pushing into my personal space, and the reddish mare had a frightened look in her eyes. I tried to give her the apple one more time but she made a cry and jumped back, as Cece tried to pounce on the apple. I wasn’t going to try and force feed her the last slice, but I felt Cece didn’t deserve it because she had been so aggressive, so I gave the slice to the ever mellow and sweet gelding, Ticket. From then on Cece wouldn’t let me pet her for a day and a half. She even seemed to tease me. She would let me approach her, but as soon as I reached out to pet her she would quickly walk away as if to make a point. Point taken. I felt snubbed again and could feel the coolness of her emotions. She was mad at me.

After contemplating it for awhile, I think it was more than just being mad for giving away her slice. I think she is the alpha of the herd and is used to getting the first drink of water and the best patches of grass. I think she expects the others to defer to her and I’ve noticed they always do. By being fair about distributing the apples equally, I was actually going counter to the natural order of things. That’s why the red mare was hesitant, confused, then scared; I was trying to force on her what really did belong to Cece, what Cece was entitled to as leader of the herd. By not giving her the last slice, I basically disrespected her and sidestepped her authority.

Since then I’ve really taken the time and acted sensitively to win back Cece’s affections, and have succeeded very well. In fact, just two days ago she did something that no other horse has yet done; as I was petting her back, she stared leaning into me and swaying back and forth to rub her side on me. The swaying was very rhythmic, and with each sway should would lean into rub me. This went on for several minutes and felt quite intimate, especially feeling her massive weight pressed upon me, but her knowing just the right threshold of strength. Cece has also begun to act possessive of me like Lefty used to, and if I go pet any of the other horses for too long, she’ll approach to arrest my attention and push the other away. I guess now I’ll have to decide if I’d rather be friends with all the horses, but have Cece be a little cold to me, or if I should just have Cece as my best friend and maintain a more cordial relationship with the others. As you know, I am new to horses. I must say I never expected them to be so sensitive and tempremental. Yes, horses can be catty.

Today I walked a loop around my property at sunset. The horses were uncharacteristically scattered thoughout the pastures, each one doing his or her own thing. I intended to just pass the horses by and not bother them, but as I came up on each one, it ran up to greet me. They all knew I didn’t have apples. They just wanted to say hello and see what I was doing. Yes, my relationship with these horses continues to grow. They like me, we all get along, and we seem to have an understanding. I find it very fulfilling to be accepted by the herd, and they provide me endless delight. I often experience deep inner silence when I am with the horses as well. I feel their own silence by just spending time with them, and fall under its spell. They provide for me a portal to a more natural, wild, state of being. Horses are indeed noble creatures. I am honored to walk among them.

WHD – A Tale Of Two Herds

I really think horses know how to pose for the camera. They see themselves on the screen and always hold still for the shot. This is Cece. She was my favorite of the original two, but now that Jasmine and Red have arrived, Jasmine has shown a lot more personality. Cece is sweeter, but Jasmine more playful and never shy around me. Jasmine is the alpha of the herd.

It fascinates how much depth there is in getting to know horses, how many layers. Not having spent much time around horses, at first I was getting to know the general nature and temperament of the animal, how they communicate, what they do and don’t like. Then I discovered what it’s like to establish familiarity with the herds, to get a place where we’re all comfortable and okay with each other. But now I’m getting to know these horses on a much more personal, intimate level.

I really noticed this today feeding apples to both herds of four that I have access to, the four grazing on my lot and my neighbor’s four horses. I fed my horses first and spent some time with them, and then left them to graze in my north pasture and went and fed my neighbor’s horses along my southern fence. I’ve known my neighbor’s horses about a month and a half longer than I’ve known my horses. My horses and I are really starting to have a rapport. They follow me around more often now, and I have unique ways I interact with each of them according to their nature and how our friendship has progressed. I think we all still feel a little new to each other, still retaining a degree of shy politeness, but we’re definitely getting over the hump into more casual relations. Ticket, the only gelding of the group, and “the dumb one” as JW puts it, is just as mellow as can be. He just stands there. I feel I could set a table on his back and eat dinner off him and he wouldn’t even mind. Or I could place my laptop on his back and write my next journal entry. Maybe I’ll try it. He’s not a moron though, just mellow. He’s plenty receptive to my attention and affection. Cece and Jasmine, the two bays, have opened up to me the most. We’re all quite comfortable with each other now and there is warmth between us. The smaller, but well-toned, reddish horse, who I uncreatively call Red, is still the shyest. But she may just be the omega of the pack. My neighbor’s mare Macy acts similar and is definitely the omega of that pack. She loves me, it’s just that the other, more dominate, geldings box her out and make her stand back. When I catch her alone she always runs to greet me, in fact, of all eight horses she does seem the most happy to see me each day. She’s beautiful and graceful, and has an angelic air about her.

After feeding my herd apples, they followed me for awhile, and then got the picture they weren’t gonna get any more servings. I felt like such a king being followed by a single-file line of large, majestic, beasts. I had intended to just go inside, but I saw Beau staring at me from across the fence. I’ve come to really believe that horses are telepathic and can beckon me from a great distance. Beau wanted me to come say hello. He wasn’t hoping for apples, I think he was just bored and hadn’t seen me in awhile. Nevertheless, I quickly ran inside and cut enough apple slices for all four, knowing the rest would come if they saw Beau getting treats. Indeed they did.

Spending time with these four who I’ve known considerably longer, it became very apparent how much more at ease and familiar we were with each other. It was as if we could all be our true selves and leave careful politeness behind us. It felt playful, and with much more content in the communication between us; we had more to say, greater rapport. As I’ve mentioned before, Beau can be incredibly pushy when he smells I have apples. I feel though it’s become a bit of a game, even an expression of intimacy. He loves to test my boundaries and is definitely smart enough to know when he crosses them, but loves to persist doing so even when I chastise him. But I’m no pushover, so I’ve started to match his willfulness with equal force in pushing back. It’s almost like wrestling. He likes to see what he can get away with, but I like to see how forceful I can be with him before he gets mad or spooked. We both enjoy it, and in a way it expresses how comfortable we’ve become with each other. It’s like how you can spar or wrestle with your buddies. You love each other and mean no harm, but it’s fun to test strength and wills sometimes, or to be rowdy just for the sake of rowdiness. I enjoy fighting with Beau. He knows I won’t hurt him, and I know he won’t hurt me. Sometimes he’ll even grab my fingers with his teeth, but just like a dog, he knows just the right amount of pressure to be felt but not to injure. One of these days I’m gonna bite him back!

Lefty is the horse I’ve grown closest to out of all eight. He’s a beautiful horse, and even my neighbor agrees that he’s the brightest and sweetest. He’s a great horse, exactly the kind of horse one could hope to have. He can be all business when it comes to apples, but when the feeding is done, he’ll spend more time with me than any of the others, and he’s even protective of me. He’s the alpha of the herd, and when we’re bonding, he doesn’t let the others come near. Him and Beau are good friends though and will usually start grooming each other after my visits. Today I spent a whole five minutes rubbing and scratching Lefty’s back while softly singing the Hunuman Chalisa. I noticed that both his hears were turned around in my direction listening intently. We had a real moment. We’re definitely friends.

Later Old Man Baker came around. I really like him. He’s well older than all the rest and is all skin and bones. He almost always keeps to himself and has never taken an apple from my hand, but in recent weeks, he will hang around and let me pet him. I think he has a beautiful face and eyes, but he does have these two deep pits above each eye, I guess just a sign of his gauntness. Today for the first time I scratched the inside of these pits with my finger. It was weird. They were so deep! He didn’t mind though. He’s a smart, sensitive, horse, but his age really shows, even in his attitude. He’s so independent and has this air about him that he’s seen it all and isn’t impressed. I love that guy.

It’s such an exciting adventure for me to not only get to know horses, but to discover the depths of their intelligence, warmth, and personality. I really am becoming friends with all eight. It uplifts my heart, enriches my life, and these experiences make everyday a good day.

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