Sunday, 24 February 2008
little bear's porridge
today was a little bear's porridge day..not too hot, not too cold, but just right. even a little scotch mist to help green the few leaves remaining in the garden.
needing a little grounding after the headiness of opening night & associated pre-performance butterflies, lukewarm pseudochampagne and requisite schmoozing (don't get me wrong, it's fun at the time) i wander out to the paddock and call up my four-legged sister, Kelpie. there's nothing like conversation with a horse, they are mind-readers and like a full focus. our horses need no catching...they enjoy company and if not already waiting at the gate will canter up as soon as they spot us.
i saddle up. i used to ride bareback all the time but the bounce (both for getting up and for sudden dismounts) isn't what it once was. at least the bridle is bitless, soft and seemingly comfy. she puts her nose into it quite happily.
one of my 'three' rides with me, bareback on the palouse pony Sparky, her red hair aflame in the afternoon sun. the elderly welsh pony trots along beside us, joyfully kicking up her heels from time to time and stopping for a snack when she feels like it. her retirement plan seems to be working nicely for her! sheep glance up at us as we ride on by, knowing by the dog's relaxed bumbling they won't be mustered today.
it's good to be out on a paddock, even if the dry of summer does make it look a bit like the badlands. a slight shift in the light and the scene is straight out of the pages of Tolkien, a grassy steppe with lichen-covered boulders that does nicely for Rohan. unfortunately the time spent in the studio in recent months, constructing costumes and works for next week's exhibition has meant that certain spontaneous plants, including the dreaded scotch thistle, have also been enjoying the scenery. Onopordum acanthium (scotch thistle) was introduced to this continent by the early settlers...specifically those with a fondness for heather and haggis.
Georgiana Molloy, an extraordinary woman who (with her husband) was one of the early settlers of the state in the far west, wrote home to her sister "please send me some more thistle seed, quite new" as her first crop apparently failed. unlike poor Georgiana, who shuffled off this mortal coil after having too many babies in too few years (including giving birth to her first child in a tent in a storm on an ocean beach) the thistles thrived. in practical terms, this means my next studio-free day will be spent grubbing thistles, with my horse-sister curiously watching me, rather than carrying me, literally and metaphorically, away from toil...