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Horses, Corn Shocks and Marmalade Skies

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sunset light is magical. All the better when you have magical subject matter, bathed in surreal light.  A chestnut horse, blissfully unaware that the forest behind her is going up in flames. That the flame is licking along her legs and belly, lighting her mane.

Farther along, a little group of horses catches the spirit of the moment. A black filly canters up to them, setting them all off in a flurry of pounding hooves.

As my blogger/artist friend Erin says, pretty horses bring out the seven-year-old girl in me. I cannot get enough of them, especially in motion. I live in a rather depressed area, and riding horses are a luxury that is becoming rare. Nobody can afford to feed them, shoe them, vet them. Especially since they wind up being animated pasture furniture 99% of the time. They don't really have a job or a purpose where I come from. Everybody's so busy that only a lucky few seem to get ridden at all. 

These, on the other hand, are Amish country working horses. They may pull a buggy, a wagon or a plough for much of every day. And when they get turned out in the pasture to hang with their friends, they're genuinely happy. Released. 

I have a hard time picking my favorite shot of the day, but it may be this enormous draft horse putting on a little speed. She's on fire in the late sun, her proud blue shadow high-stepping right alongside her. But for the halter and the fencepost, she could have come off a cave wall. My heart fills up and overflows with her solid beauty. This world is such a wonderful place.

We can drive two hours and come to a place where nobody uses electricity because nobody needs it. Where, if the power went off, nobody would notice. Where nobody stares into screens, but into sunsets and fires. Where bedtime is when it gets dark and work starts when it gets light. 
You blow out the flame, close the hardcover book, and sleep.

Where your transportation is alive and breathing, gets thirsty and hungry, is subject to moods, and whickers to you when you come out of the grocery store. 

Where top speed is around 10 mph.

I can romanticize it all I want, because I really have no idea what life is like in Amish country. I can guess, but I can't know. I'm of another time and place. I might as well have stepped out of The Jetsons' cartoon, with all my timesaving gadgets and my car, which might as well be a spaceship that can transport me hundreds of miles with no effort at all. Living like this, I'd miss the ability to take photos, to share them and reach out to so many. I'd miss the people I'm in contact with. I'd certainly have a lot fewer people in my life, but I'd know what their voices sound like, the color of their eyes, their particular scent.

I'm grateful for the standing stubble, for the spilled grain that draws bunting and lark, for the sun's last fire on antique cornshocks. I'm grateful for the mice rustling within, that draw the harrier, the hawk, the great white ice owl, which in turn draws me here.

Whether I see it or not. 

 I still have these horses, these cornshocks, this snow and these skies. I still have this light.


It's about the light...always. This is proof positive.

The 3DTV is another cool gadget. Simply put, you can bring home the theater effect on your home screen with this electronic gadget. While some models may come with the glasses, other models do not.

cool gadgets

"Whether I see it or not." I love that.

Beautifully said and illustrated, Julie.

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Loved it. One of your best.

Some of your most beautiful pictures ever. I see paintings in all of them, just like you. We live an hour from Amish country here in western Kentucky, and it's one of our favorite places to visit. I feel the same kind of slowness and simpleness there that you speak of. They do have gas lights inside and some have has refrigerators so there's some modern conveniences. But I admire their work ethic and their desire to decide what things should be in their lives.

Stunning pictures, Julie! And I also have an inner child who has always loved horses. The appeal of a simple life calls to me, too, but I think it's a bit of a siren song; the assumption is that a simple life might have fewer stresses and problems, but I'm not sure that's true. I think instead they just change clothes.

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 2014 at 8:16 AM

Beautifully said and wonderful photos !
Darlene Shamblin

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Stellar, and appreciated even more each time it is read.

Posted by Lucy from MN January 28, 2014 at 10:16 AM

I have an "animated pasture ornament" that looks a lot like your favorite. She's rarely energetic (being the most energy conserving being I know) enough to frolic, but when she does, I laugh out loud. I do ride her, but it's been too cold lately.

I also wonder what it would be like to live without electricity, but recognize that I wouldn't have my computer, iPad, cell phone and radio, nor would I be able to interact with wonderful people like you. The hermit in me is conflicted...

I love the light - there are times, when I go out to feed, that the light on the hill opposite my house is indescribably beautiful. Alpenglow on steroids... I'll have to try to capture that.

Love the light; love the subject matter. I am a horse-crazy girl; have been for 52 years. Blessed to have my own horse most of those years . . . and I RIDE.

Loved the sunset with the corn shocks in the foreground. Of course, the horses were great, too. Thanks for sharing.
Shelley from Michigan

Posted by Anonymous January 28, 2014 at 2:34 PM

An excellent post, but this thought stuck a chord with me in particular:

"Where nobody stares into screens, but into sunsets and fires."

Recently I walked into a living room with someone. There was no TV in the room, just furniture, a fireplace and art. "What's there to do here?" my companion in dismay said when he realised the absence of a television.

Thank you. Touching images and beautiful story.

Just beautiful, in word and deed and cellphone shots. Thank you for this post.


Posted by KH Macomber February 1, 2014 at 6:21 AM

Julie, you are a beautiful writer!

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