Project – visions of Venus

24 08 2006

I inherited some blocks of wood 20×20″x1.5″ and am thinking of doing a combination of woodwork and painting, meaning the frame is an integral part of the work itself. Last night I got started painting in watercolour as a base to work from. I thought the dyes would penetrate a few layers of the wood, so when shaping it is still visible enough to work as a guide. I have always had a fascination for women “floating”, probably left over from the feelings of achieving flight when I was in the ballet. Carefree, joyful. If anyone else has done work throwing an extra half dimension into a painting and has some tips? My rotary tool sits poised.

wateronwood

I have ten of these block, enough to put together an entire exhibit on floating women or round happy womenfolk, or whatever direction unfolds to me.





Mrs Ravenwood

29 07 2006

Mrs Ravenwood
by Heather Blakey





Up On The Moon Mare

28 07 2006

Night rides harrow,

screech and howl,

long fingers catching the

edges of cloaks with long

nails, the black

sheer as shrieking.

Yet the mare takes a

rider to the stars this time,

the cloak rippling in the

lunar wind, shaking out

crags of old

illogical thinking, or

superstition.

The stars are bright,

not twinkling, glowing in the

velvet.

Close up they blaze like

fires, and friendly lights.

The mare has no trouble questing

the air,

winged and well shod by

the sturdy stablewomen,

who know their

art. 

(copyright Imogen Crest 2006.)





Mrs Luff – Stable Hand

27 07 2006





A Night Ride, She Says

27 07 2006

A Night Ride She Says

 

 Pt. I

I paused, with the twilight fading into night behind me, at the open double doors into the barn.  A warm, welcoming golden light burnished the coats of the horses looking at the woman at the far end of the spacious barn.

 

I walked slowly toward her, pausing to let this horse or that horse whuffle the palm of my hand . 

I had almost reached the other end when a handsome paint horse stretched his head and neck out towards me.  He rumbled softly in his nose, then turned to face me, his eerie blue-white eyes studying me calmly.

He looked so familiar, as if we’d known each other forever, I ignored the last half-dozen stalls and stopped in front of him. His mostly white face moved closer to me and sniffed, I let him smell my breath and become acquainted with me. 

His face was carved in the finely chiselled lines of the Andalusian forbears in his Mustang heritage.  His solidly muscled frame was a testament to the care he was getting. 

“I see that Chippewa chose you.  He has ignored every other person that had come in search of mounts for the Night Rides.”  

“Chippewa??  His name is Chippewa??”  I looked closer at the liver chestnut and snow-white paint horse. 

He was the living breathing incarnation of one of my two favourite Breyer’s horses I’d had when I was a child.

“Yes.  He’s named Chippewa.  Why?”  The stable Woman smiled a bit, her regular, unexeceptional features were tanned to a lovely golden-brown shade. with the promise of future laugh-lines at the corners of her eyes.

She was unremarkable to see, until you met her eyes.  There was such a calm happiness lighting her blue-grey eyes. 

Her dark brown hair was mostly caught in a braid, with delicate curls forming a halo around her face.  The silver strands around her forehead sparkled with life and vitality, much like her charges.

She had hands that were classic Stable Woman hands, strong from years of work, calloused, with short nails; yet they were sensitive and gentle hands. 

She wore no jewellery, and a small man’s watch was peering from beneath the cuff of her shirt.

She was dressed in a soft tan shirt, tucked into brown denim jeans with a slender leather belt.  The legs of her pants were tucked into a pair of worn Welly Boots.  She had splashes of mud, horse slobber, and road apples from shoulder to toes and still seemed to have an elegant grace. 

She even smelled like a barn, the sweetness of hay and straw, the rich perfume of stored grains, sharp-smelling liniments, saddle soap, and the scent of healthy, happy equines.

“He looks almost exactly like this Breyer horse I adored when I was a kid.”

“Does this surprise you dear?  Isn’t all of this conjured by your imagination?”  When she smiled widely, her appearance was transformed, she grew incandescent and unforgettable. “It does make sense.  Chippewa was always the horse I dreamt of riding.”  I blushed, and then grinned.

“I’ll bet he takes a rubber bit, and has a soft, soft mouth, doesn’t he?”  I automatically tugked an arm under the horse’s neck.  He in turn leaned closer, then nudged my ribs gently. All the memories associated with that particular model horse came cantering back to me.  So many hours I had escaped from an unhappy childhood, astride my sturdy, tireless Mustang.

Sometimes we would gallop as far and as fast as possible, stopping for brief rests in sheltering shadows before resuming our headlong flight. Other times we wandered slowly, pausing to graze here, then splashing through cold, clear streams and up the grassy bank on the other side.

When things were worst we simply stood beneath the shadow of an enoprmous oak tree frosted with mistletoe.  We were side-by-side, my arms around his neck and his head a warm comfort over me shoulder. Tonight I hugged his neck and scratched his ticklish left ear.  I thought of how pleasant it would be to  spend hours in a broad meadow beneath the stars.  As he would graze on the dewy grass I would lose myself in the slow, stately dance of the stars.

I knew, in my spirit, that this was the beginning of a great adventure for Chippewa and myself.  Of what sort I had not yet intuited, yet I doubted it would be a sweet stroll on the grass.

Pt. II

I had slid onto his warm broad back, with only a tied-on blanket between him and I.  I held the reins firmly, relishing the feel of the well-cared-for leather reins between my fingers.  I had foregone even an English saddle, I had never used one on Chippewa in my youthful  dreams.

We trotted into the darkness, crickets chirrrrrrr-chirrrring away, and the occasional frog ribbbitting sleepily from a nearby pond.  We had hardly passed between the brick-and-wrought iron gates when a gravelley, unhappy voice spoke from the darkest shadows. “You’re early.  Good.  My sisters will be here soon.  In the meantime…”  I heard the sound of unshod hooves on the smoothly raked sand of the trailhead.  The horse and rider were huge!!

I was sure the horse was at least part draught animal, and the rider may have been sired by a giant on one of the sisters of Medusa.  He was tall, and heavily muscled, wearing armour reminiscent of the figures on Ancieint Grecian pottery or mosaics.  The inky black horse towered over Chippewa, giving him the look of a slender pony. Chippewa looked up at the horse and bared his teeth, with ears flat against his neck.  This was the only time I had dreamed/ fantasised/seen him behave so, normally he was gentle and sweet-tempered.

The man(?) laughed, sounding like a rockfall from the side of a box canyon.  The horse shook his head from side-to-side, the armour he bore clanking like cast-ironware.  The disturbing thunder of the other Furies (even I could intuit that was who they were) on their black-black mounts grew louder before they joined us by the side of the road. The Sisters were twins, both Giantesses, on enormous mounts, the hair of all three was stiffened into spikes, and I could see the greeney-grey tracery of scarificated tattos on their pallid faces.  The eyes appeared to be black hollows barely lit by deep-set, glimmering flames of red.  The weapons they carried were glossy from care, and each was unique with one purpose. 

Their leather gloves were bristling with spikes, and their hobnail boots had spurs that resembled small scimitars, instead of facing back to spur the horse, these faced outward from the rider, another weapon made to protect vulnerable ankles.  I had no doubt they could have held off the Mongol Hordes with no other warriors at their side.    Their forbidding and angry visages were warning enough for even the foolhardy souls.

“Come!  We’ve much to do tonight!!”  The man spoke sharply and his Sisters shrieked like a storm rampaging in from the North Atlantic.  All four horses broke into a run and then began to gallop towards the stars. I was mesmerised by the landforms reeling below us; I could have sworn that a yellow glimmer from below was the sulfur rising in Crater Lake.  I knew then where we were going, and why

Pt. III

As we circled over the cluster of lights I sensed we were hovering over the small town I had lived in with my ex.  It was time to release the anger, send the ugliness home to where it had been born. 

All the nights I didn’t know what would be worse, another visit from the police or my so-called husband’s rages when the drugs wore off.  The days when I was too ashamed to be seen in public, fearing that everyone assumed the worst about me too.

All of the fights that began with another person, before he carried them home to be his excuse for the heartless and cowardly words.  I nearly drowned on the tears I refused to shed, not wanting him to know that he still had that much power to wound and embarrass.Too many days I wandered away from the house to seek quiet and calm in the library, those states of being were extinct in the building I called ‘home’.

I subsisted in fearful aloneness, and was drowning in the self-doubts that he had hammered into me with spite and a sick sort of vengeance.

I felt every inch a bean side when the cries of justifiable rage that had been kept silent for far too long burst into inchoate voice.

I could feel the cords in my neck swell with the depth of my cry, and tears blurred my vision of of the still-hurtful memories.

As my voice swirled in the heavy air, accompanied by the Furies’ shrieks; a vicious storm burst into noisy, electrified life below us.

Lightning sliced from clouds to the ground below.  The thunder was satisfying in its volume and ferocity.

Hail fell heavily, bouncing almost two feet up after it impacted the ground.  The winds were powerful enough to swirl the hail as if it was Autumn leaves.

Finally, the storm broke, battering against the houses, the heavy raindrops beating trees into submission.

My voice broke as well, with a painful crack;  I gasped before collapsing on Chippewa’s neck and I cried.  Cried with great sobs, tears freezing on my cheeks from the altitude.

The Furies’ Brother angled his horse closer, this time Chippewa did not lash out.  I felt the mailed, enormous hand of Brother Fury carefully encompass my shoulders.

I finally looked up, and stared, for a moment I could have sworn the Brother Fury had a human face, and sorrowful blue eyes.

“It is finished?”  He rumbled, removing his hand from my back.

“Yes, for now.  I will shed quieter tears in bed later, in private.”  When I spoke the ice on my face shattered, and when it landed on my hands it was not ice but crystals.  They had shattered longitudinally, becoming graceful leaves of clear crystal.

After studying the crystals for the moment I tucked them into a pocket.  “I’ll cleanse them when I get home.  Then I’ll keep them, to help me be empathetic to other’s heartaches and secret sorrows.”

“It is time to go, look…”  I followed Brother’s pointed finger, to a sunrise that was just beginning to lighten to the East.

“You’re right.  It is time for me to rest well, and enjoy happy dreams.”

The swift ride back to the barn was taken in utter silence until we landed near the barn.  Chippewa looked in the direction of his stall with longing.

“I believe that it is time for my old friend to rest too.”  I finished the sentence to no-one, the Furies had gone to their home.

I cooled down Chippewa, stroking him from time to time.  He was silent, as was I.  When he was dry and relaxed under my hand I led him to his stall, and gave him some tepid, clean water.

I left the barn, knowing that if I should need him, Chippewa would be waiting for me, stretching his head in my direction.





Burning the Midnight Oil – Tilley Harris

26 07 2006

Burning the midnight oil

The nimble fingers of the Stable Women work

preparing the mounts

for those who would ride

the night skies





Night Ride, Part I– Lori Gloyd

26 07 2006

One cannot resist what L’Enchanteur bids, so I made my way down to the stables. It was big and airy and many ears perked up and bright intelligent eyes turned my way as I entered. An elderly woman, small and spry, emerged from a stall with a filled shovel.

“Don’t mind me—doin’ a little housekeeping for my guests….” She disappeared out a side door and came back a moment later, shovel empty.

“Now, what can I do for you, madam?” she chirped.

“I’ve been asked by L’Enchanteur to come here and pick out a horse.”

“Ah, yes. L’Enchanteur—smart lady, don’t you know. But, madam, you should know—you don’t pick the horse, the horse picks you.”

I sighed. “Yes, I’ve had experience with picky horses. My dumb luck I’ll get another ornery one. Just as long as this one doesn’t talk, I’ll be fine.”

“Talk? These horses don’t talk….except one youngin’ in the back. Still tryin’ to figure who his sire is. Odd little bugger. Won’t shut up. Anyway, let me open the stalls and we’ll see what happens.”

The stablewoman moved from stall to stall, tripping the latches and opening them all. Then she and I waited. Just as I was starting to fidget and flashback to school days when I was last to be chosen for a playground team, one horse, a long-legged blue roan, clopped out of the stall and stopped in front of me.

“Ah, Syren—who would have thought her? Well, madam, you will be well pleased if not a bit surprised with this one. No doubt, you’ll have a….wonderful… night ride.” The stablewoman looked a bit nervous and hurriedly scampered off.

“Wait! Night ride? What’s that? I thought I’d come back tomorrow and just take her for a little trot. Hello? Ma’am?”

The stablewoman was out of sight. I stared at Syren for a moment. “Night ride, huh? Can’t be any scarier than a ride on a thunderbird.”

Syren tossed her head and snorted. I think she was laughing at me.

Lori Gloyd © July 25, 2006