An Easter Story

Posted By on March 31, 2013

An extraordinarily hot summer-induced tomato glut followed by the sweet aroma of pot after pot of Sue’s basil, garlic and tomato pasta sauce caused an Easter Sunday trip to the supermarket to acquire additional freezer containers.

‘Oh noooo!’, cried Kai, on reaching the checkout counter. Click here to continue reading …

Two conversations

Posted By on July 10, 2012

These days it is seldom that I start conversations about my dietary choices. Inevitably they involve education to some degree and I’ve learnt that education is most effective when a thirst for knowledge presents. When a question is asked. Not when I decide that I would like to share my knowledge about the horrors of what we humans do to our fellow beings. And so to have a day where I have two such conversations is unusual. As was last Sunday. Click here to continue reading …

Unlearning – the key to a gentler life (for most of us …)

Posted By on July 2, 2012

I feel shame when I consider how long it’s taken me to make gentler choices. If only I’d been gifted with the emotional and intellectual intelligence of a childhood prodigy to see through the lies and deceit of my early teachings. If only I’d questioned the incongruities. If only I’d shut my ears rather than my eyes. And my heart.

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Out of touch

Posted By on June 20, 2012

Tonight as I fed out the hay the frayed end of a hay-net rope brushed Billy’s side. Gentler than a butterfly’s landing. Yet his skin rippled. He stepped away.

It reminded me of whips and spurs and kicks in bruised bellies. Of ill-fitting saddles and ill-fitting riders.

And of how shamefully out of touch we are with our fellow beings.

Billy-Phar

The working class

Posted By on May 5, 2012

This post was written back in October last year when I was fortunate enough to spend some time holidaying in New York City. Written after returning from a walk through Central Park where I grimaced each time I passed by a horse-and-carriage. (There were, unfortunately, many grimaces.) But, for lack of a suitable photograph to accompany it, this post was not published.

The embedded video sent me by a close friend, however, serves as a good accompaniment to my thoughts behind the post. Not because it’s a shock and horror video of working animals. But because to many these are not working animals. Despite the bright lights, the night shots of shows, the flashy dressing of Pignon himself, people do not see horses working in a show; they see just what Pignon can make them do. Mesmerised by tricks the audience watches Pignon’s talents. And misses the lives of the horses. From what I’ve seen Pignon appears to have some talent (although I’d like to see every aspect of his training, of his being with horses, before heaping too much praise on him) but if people watch these collections of photographs and believe that (domestic) equine Utopia has been found I must voice my objection. And looking at his schedule of shows all over Europe I must shout that objection. Is this a better way for so many horses? Most certainly. Can Pignon teach a whole generation of horse “owners” how to be better companions? You bet. My problem is this: outstanding animal trainers, many of them gentle, have existed in circuses for years yet we no longer accept that animals should be made to perform night after night. But we still marvel at this … Is this the way to help horses all over the world?

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Brothers …

Posted By on February 4, 2012

Kai & Thomas

It’s a bite-sized chunk shy of 3 am. Kai’s been pinwheeling and cartwheeling around the bed since the clock’s hands were together as one at midnight. No crying. Just queen-sized bed Olympics. Uncomfortable. Teething again. We try to settle him. Turn on a gentle light: little hand in mouth. Trying to soothe.

Some Panadol and back into bed. Thomas joins us and, as has become habit lately, sleeps at Kai’s feet instead of his usual spot in-between Harry’s legs (or on his chest). But Kai’s still on that Olympic track and Thomas is getting regular kicks in his belly. He stays there. Harry tries to protect him. Playful claws and teeth (never skin-breaking) hold Harry’s hand. Harry gently withdraws it. Loud purring. Caressing kicks?
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To a gentle 2012

Posted By on December 31, 2011

Happy New Year to Friends and Family, past, present and future. And to our wider family. May 2012 be a gentler year for all.

No Fear. No Arrogance. Just being. Kai & Cracker.

A new addition to Avondale

Posted By on December 17, 2011

As a young medical student I was commonly told, Don’t feel too much. Keep your distance from patients and their emotions. I disagreed then and, after 20 years of experiential learning on the matter, I disagree now. One needs to feel for and with patients. Experience their joy. As well as their fear and aching. It enables one to travel better the journey with them. But, and this is essential, one must look after oneself. For the emotional workout can be extreme and exhausting. Work those emotional muscles but then relax. Stretch. Lie on your back in the middle of the paddock naming cloud shapes, with animals all around you. So that you can go back stronger and do it with even more caring. And live a more connected, deeper, richer life.

Well, those 20 years of exercising my heart have come in handy this week. I feel every possible emotion has had its moment with me these last 7 days, including some numb voids in the changeovers. You see, not only did my little porcelain doll, who in her short time at Avondale taught me more about the handling of adversity than any other, and showered us all with head-rubbing love at every opportunity, leave us for the Rainbow Bridge on Wednesday, but on Tuesday morning I received THE call that Sue and I have been waiting for since January; I write this post high above the clouds on our way to pick up another addition to the Avondale family. Click here to continue reading …

Tobi …

Posted By on December 14, 2011

Tobi about to give her good friend Abbey a headrub - as only Tobi could do

Rest in peace little angel girl. We’ll meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.

The Grim Reaper’s come calling lately …

Posted By on December 2, 2011

… but at times has had to retreat with only the scythe he brought.

When death involves those close to you it’s hard not to fall back on old paradigms of death involving fear and nightmarish images of the Grim Reaper. But when I quieten my aching heart and sit quietly with those departed I think of death as did the Grecians of old:

Death, or Thanatos, is the counterpart of life, death being represented as male, and life as female. He is the twin brother of Hypnos, the god of sleep. He is typically shown with his brother and is represented as being just and gentle. His job is to escort the deceased to the underworld, Hades. He then hands the dead over to Charon, who mans the boat that carries them over the river Acheron, which separates the land of the living from the land of the dead. (1)

Perhaps since then they’ve constructed a bridge.  Complete with an overarching rainbow …

Rainbows over Avondale

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