Saturday, April 12, 2008

Desert Sage

I was delighted to see a new blog by Carolyn Resnick, a remarkable horse trainer who lives in Escondido, California - not far from where I used to live. Carolyn grew up in the desert and received her equine education by living with a herd of wild horses. Through years of observing their waterhole rituals, she learned their language and was able to be accepted as part of the herd. She wrote a book called “Naked Liberty”, which is a charming and insightful account of how she formed her philosophy and training methods.

I encourage you to visit her new site and leave some comments. I hope that Carolyn will get to know us and that her participation in the blogosphere will be beneficial to all of us horse lovers. One thing that she mentions is that she trains horses in a way that is enjoyable for the horse. She wants the training to be “life enhancing” for the horse. It sounds like what I’m hoping to give Siete.

If we still lived in California, it would be easy for me to just go over and have Carolyn work with us in person. I’ve been feeling very nostalgic for the West this week. My husband returned last night from a trip to San Diego. He grew up there, and we lived in the North County for over ten years. This is the season when we usually go to the desert. The flowers are blooming, and I love the wide expanses of horizon that open my mind to new ideas.

There will always be a part of me that longs for the West. I am charged up by the Santa Ana winds and the scent of desert sage and eucalyptus. Some people say that the colors are dull and brown, but to my eyes, they are magical. I see in the desert the same colors - purple, green, terra cotta, rose - that I see in the ocean floor or on the beach here on the East Coast.

When I fed the horses this morning, the sun was rising after a sudden thunderstorm. The world was so fresh and green. I planted pasture grass for the girls yesterday, and if we lived in California, we would not have this kind of wonderful place. We would have earthquakes and wildfires and drought. So, our life is easier now, but there are parts of the West that are in my soul, and some days, I miss them.

“All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us, the wilderness still lingers. What they dream, we live and what they lived, we dream.”
T.K. Whipple, “Study Out the Land”


Grey Horse Matters said...

I have always loved the desert too, my favorite season in Arizona was always the Spring, so many beautiful colors. I can see why you miss it sometimes. The places we've lived become a part of us, so it is easy to travel back in our minds and call up what we wish to see. Although,that is not as good as actually being there or is it.

Pony Girl said...

I visit my Aunt in the California desert and ride every February and it has become one of my favorite things to do. Things were just starting to bloom when I was there this year. I love the warmth and dryness, the sound of the horses' hooves on the rocks and slate....riding into the little palm oasis. It is so different from the damp evergreens where I live!

billie said...

When I lived in LA there was a wonderful community garden just a few blocks from my apt. I remember the things that I grew there year round and the avocado trees. I had celosia in big pots on my back stoop and there have never been flowers like those here on the east coast. Not the desert, but my memories of the west.

Victoria Cummings said...

Arlene - Arizona is beautiful too, but so hot that I don't think I'd like to live there. Yes, it's good to travel in our minds, especially when the airlines ground all their planes!
Pony Girl - How lucky you are to get to ride in the desert - it's so much fun!
Billie - We had 6 avocado trees when we lived there. It kills me to pay so much for an avocado here -- but I do it because I love them. People forget, but LA really is a desert underneath all the concrete.

Bones said...

The scent of sage and eucalyptus, yes! I grew up in LA and I remember when those occasional thunderstorms would bounce off the mountains and flood the air with the resinous smells of the desert.