Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Lake of the Dismal Swamp

"They made her a grave too cold and damp
For a soul so warm and true;
And she's gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp,
Where all night long, by a firefly lamp,
She paddles her white canoe.

And her firefly lamp I soon shall see,
And her paddle I soon shall hear;
Long and moving our life shall be
And I'll hide the maid in a cypress tree,
When the footstep of death is near."

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds,
His path was rugged and sore,
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,
Through many a fen where the serpent feeds,
And man never trod before.

And when on the earth he sank to sleep,
If slumber his eyelids knew,
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep
Its venemous tear, and nightly steep
The flesh with blistering dew!

And near him the she-wolf stirr'd the brake,
And the copper-snake breathed in his ear,
Till he starting cried, from his dream awake,
"Oh when shall I see the dusky Lake,
And the white canoe of my dear?"

He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright
Quick over its surface play'd,
"Welcome," he said, "my dear one's light!"
And the dim shore echo'd for many a night
The name of the death-cold maid.

Till he hollow'd a boat of the birchen bark,
Which carried him off from the shore;
Far, far he follow'd the meteor spark,
The wind was high and the clouds were dark,
And the boat return'd no more.

But oft, from the Indian hunter's camp,
This lover and maid so true
Are seen at the hour of midnight damp
To cross the Lake by a firefly lamp,
And paddle their white canoe!

Thomas Moore

All of these photos were taken this past winter in Charleston, SC by yours truly.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Herb Garden Update

And she forgot the stars, the moon, the sun,
And she forgot the blue above the trees,
And she forgot the dells,where waters run,
And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze;
She had no knowledge when day was done,
And the new morn she saw not: but in peace
Hung over her sweet Basil evermore .....
'For cruel 'tis,' said she,
'To steal my Basil-pot away from me.'
- John Keats

I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to
know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly
branchlets through one's hand, and have the enjoyment of
their incomparable incense; and I grow it against walls, so
that the sun may draw out its inexhaustible sweetness
to greet me as I pass ....
- Gertrude Jekyll

Monday, June 16, 2008


Funny World

He told me about Jesus & Arizona & the best way to make beer & I said you're a funny kind of preacher & he said it's a funny kind of world & I still remember his eyes clear as a desert morning.

for daily stories go to STORYPEOPLE

Monday, June 09, 2008


Well I finally went back to riding.

Thursday night was my first class since May 1st. Why? You ask.
Well, because on May 1st was the day that my horse, Comet, decided to buck me off.

It was almost a relief actually. Ever since I began riding ( one year ago) I would wonder at the start of every lesson if it will be the day that I fall off. And, up until May 1st it never was.

I must make it clear, however, that I did not simply "fall off" the horse. That would imply that I was an incompetent, unbalanced or unskilled rider. I am actually all of those things but they are not the reason that this unfortunate incident had occurred.

I must start by saying that is was very clear, from the moment that I walked into Comet's stall, that she did not want to play that day. I had never ridden her before and was not familiar with her rude behavior. She immediately came at me with her lips curled back and her teeth bared, pushing her face into mine. This, I thought, was going to be the day that I had my cheek bitten off by a horse.
As it turned out she was not in the biting mood, she was just trying to intimidate me into not tacking her. Well, it worked.
She ended up getting her bridle on by an 8 year old (little brat), who had no problem with her behavior. Oh to be 8 years old again- sigh.

We actually rode together rather well. She had a pretty little canter that was quite comfortable for me. I am so used to Valentine's canter- which is very bumpy, and brtutal on my bad back. Comet was like a rocking horse in comparison.

This was the lesson that our instructor decided to have us attempt bareback riding. That, also, actually went very well. We simply walked and then trotted around the ring without our saddle. The reason is to help us learn the feel of the horse and to develop a more balanced seat.

The problem came when we were asked to sit on our horse and then to turn around so that we were facing backwards. The instructor was then going to walk us individually around the ring. As soon as I turned around and got myself settled is when Comet decided that she had had enough and began bucking. With no reins, neck or mane to hang onto I was dumped onto the ground. The fall itself was not that bad. Comet is a shorter horse than Valentine so the fall was not as bad as it may have been had I been riding him.
I did manage to get back up on Comet, still bareback but frontwards this time, and take one more walk around the ring.

I did not realize at the time that I had fractured my elbow. I was in terrible pain and finally went to the emergency room at 7 the next morning. That x-ray showed no break. The only good thing about going to the emergency room was getting the percoset. A week later it was re x-rayed and the break was found.

The worst part was having to go to my son's wedding in Vegas with my arm in a sling.

It's on the mend, although I am still in some pain and in need of a little bit of therapy to get my range of motion back.

I am back in the saddle again and loving it. My first lesson back, after more than a month off, was with Comet- AGAIN! I wavered for a second but I did get back up on that rotten mare. She was so well-behaved this time I almost thought she was a different horse.

I was very nervous going back to class but the more I stayed away the more nervous I became. I know it will happen again- and may be much worse next time. But, as my chiropractor says "if you're going to live life things like this are bound to happen".

Here's to "living life" and taking the risk.

The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 - 1964)