Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Stranger and stranger," cried Alice

A couple of Sundays ago a small group of us got together to drum in the solstice. I blogged about the weird effects seen in the last photo I took that day. Now, a couple of weeks later, I was having a look at the photos taken by my boyfriend's daughter when I noticed this small purple haze just above the place where we sat. These were taken about an hour before we started drumming, and that purple shape is the same colour as all the other purple blobs we've captured over this labyrinth.

The first time this happened was in 2005. It had been a year after my mare Melody had crossed, roughly the same period of time had elapsed since the Indonesian tsunami disaster. My mom had just built her Labyrinth of Animal Remembrance and she'd asked me to take some photos. I'd conducted a simple ritual at the centre of the labyrinth and painted a stone with Melody's name on it, placing it along the path. About a week later I downloaded the photos and discovered this:

A milky white haze on the left and the now familiar amethyst blob to the right (not sure how clear it is on this pic). There are three photos from this batch where you can see the haze and the purple blob in varying densities. They are all in more or less the same place, even though the photos were taken from different angles. The purple blob in the solstice photo is about 40˚ to the right of where it is in the above photo, but they were both taken from the same place.

There has been some heated debate regarding the phenomena in these photos. The purists insist that it's merely lens flare, or dust particles. I'd have been the first to agree with that, had I not taken these and seen this for myself. Since 2005 there is a lot more info available regarding orbs, or blobs of "light" which show up mysteriously in photographs.

The instant I saw this photo on my screen I knew that something special had taken place. The purple orb caught my eye first and then the grey haze. My skin prickled with goosebumps as I took it all in... the amethyst coloured orb appears above the spot where I placed Melody's stone. If you look carefully at the grey orb, soften your focus, you'll see a horse's head in there. I didn't notice this initially - it was pointed out to me by the editor of Renaissance Magazine. She saw "an animal" when she looked at it. I studied the photo on another screen and could clearly make out the horse's head.

It all seems so matter of fact to me now. At the time though, it was like there was a thundering explosion in my head. Melody had been my soul mate, my mirror and teacher - the horse who taught me more than any teacher had. I'd been devastated when I made the decision to let her go. I spent the year after her death in some kind of bubble, I could barley feel anything, the grief was so solid, it was lodged in my chest like a lump of cement. December 23rd 2005 was the anniversary of her passing. I'd felt nothing, experienced nothing, not even a glimmer that she might be around me in her spiritual form throughout the year.

During my good bye ritual I asked that she send me a sign that she was ok. I just needed to know that my beautiful mare was out there somewhere and that the connection we had shared had not evaporated into nothing... this photo was the result.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Definition of a door

I read somewhere that the definition of a door is something a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of. Cats can climb through windows, and clever cats can jump up to grab at a door handle and open a door... The same can't be said for dogs. Except probably clever dogs. I don't have one of those. Well, I suppose shouldn't say that about Velvette, she is after all the quintessential Lab - loves food and swimming, but not necessarily in that order. She also has this annoying habit of sitting JUST outside a door and giving a low grunt to have it opened WIDE enough for her to get through! Joe just barges in, shoves the door aside and doesn't care if he has to slither through a narrow opening. Not Velvette. Nope. She'll sit and grunt until I get up and do it for her. This the breed who pulled heavy nets full of fish from frozen waters. It drives me nuts when she does'nt show any initiative . Especially in this weather, it's up and down and in and out the whole day. Sometimes it feels like that's all I do: open the door, close the door and feed the dogs. Maybe she's not as dim as I think as she has me trained and she doesn't even need a remote control!

Friday, June 26, 2009

He wasn't a Beatle

The first words I heard when I woke up this morning were that Michael Jackson had died. I can remember what I was doing the day I heard that Michael Hutchence, Kurt Cobain and Princess Diana died. I can recall what I was doing when I heard about the passing of Hansie Cronje and Heath Ledger...

My earliest such memory though, is hearing the news of John Lennon's death. I was eight years old and on the way to school. I was with my family in our Toyota Corolla, driving up the hill past the Ohenimuri Country Club, in Walkerville where I grew up. We'd missed the bus again. The 7.30am news came on the radio and we heard that he'd been shot. I have no idea why that memory stood out so clearly for me. It wasn't like my folks were ardent fans of the Beatles or anything.

What is interesting though, is how much I came to love and admire Lennon, by the time I was 18 I had declared him my hero and searched for the books he'd written. I consumed his biographies and lost myself in his lyrics.

The media went beserk today with the news of Jackson's passing, and I couldn't help but wonder what the hooha was about - I mean, it's not like he WAS a Beatle, or anything. I can't say that I was surprised though, by all the reminiscing that went on. What with being an 80's child, I was there when Thriller was foisted upon the airwaves, but I just didn't get it. Not then and not now.

The only Michael Jackson song that I ever really liked was "Librarian Girl" - so I thought I'd make some smart-arsed comment to that effect on Twitter. But first, I checked the lyrics – you know... to be sure, to be sure... Only to discover that the song is in fact titled "LibERian Girl," and has nothing to do with falling in love with a bookish type at the library...

There goes that fantasy. I was clearly in some other tent when the Michael Jackson circus went thundering past...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My first Blog Award

I was a bit on the slow side to realising that I'd been given a Gold Hydrant Award for this post, from Life With Dogs - THE funniest dog blog on the Net. Thanks to Chester for putting me straight on the fact that I was "a worthy recipient of this coveted award," and pointing out where it came from!!

This is so cool, thanks Nigel and Co. I try to take my Animal Antics writing seriously and I can only hope to emulate the hilarity quotient of your blog! This is still one of the funniest things I've ever read, and is a fairly typical enactment of what goes on in my life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Whoever said global warming was a myth didn't know what they were talking about. Today's weather was distinctly odd, especially for this time of the year. We really haven't had a cold winter so far despite the Incoming Cold Front threat which is mentioned on a weekly basis. Except for one acutely cold spell a few weeks ago, it's been T-shirt weather during the day. I'm guessing that winter has finally arrived in my part of the southern hemisphere, with rain and snow forecast elsewhere for the rest of this week. The clouds and unseasonal rain cleared this morning revealing a bright, sunny day... but the cool wind turned and now you can feel the bone-aching cold creeping in. A necessity, I know, but not my favourite thing. If I were a bear, I'd be well-fed and hibernating with another three months of sleep ahead of me!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

sunday solstice

My mom decided to participate in the Canadian Prayer Quest: 8000 Drums. Apparently there is an ancient prophecy which states that when 8000 drums beat, Mother Earth will be cleansed and rejuvenated. We added our own intentions and prayers to the day and walked the Animal Labyrinth of Remembrance too. The labyrinth was my mom's brainchild too.

This is the last pic I took before my camera's card was full... It's interesting for a couple of reasons: Apart from the huge Orb like blob on the left of the pic, my mom appears to be seated beneath an amethyst-coloured shower of light with that horizontal rainbow above her head.

Yes, I know i took it straight into the sun, and that those are 'flares' and blobs of 'dust' or suchlike. However, if you are into Orbs and odd photographic effects, then you tend to view such photos in a different light.

I did a similar ritual to this a year after I lost my mare Melody. When I took the first photos of the then new Labyrinth, some interesting things showed up in the pics. They were also taken from a similar angle to where these were taken from.

Amethyst is my mom's favourite colour, there she is dressed in purple, drumming away, something she loves doing. I'm guessing that when your actions match your intentions, the Universe will use any means possible to give you a thumbs-up, letting you know that your efforts are appreciated.

I'm wondering who the Orb belongs to...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why bother...

... being anything EXCEPT a dog? There must be some unwritten law of nature which predicts that if you live with dogs, they WILL expect you to get out of bed at an ungodly hour. If you don't, then playing 3-a-side bed rugby is bound to get you up.

I've just figured out why it feels like I have weird indigestion. Weird only because when I located my indigestion area, it felt BRUISED. Only then did I remember how my day started – with a Jack Russell using my chest as a spring board to referee the Labs as they tackled each other. On the bed. Where I was still sleeping. In the dark. At 5.30am. Dark because it's mid-winter!

This is Jackie now, doing what Jackie does best: sleeping. Throughout the day, while her human walks around, bleary-eyed, stumbling over sleeping dog bodies.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hazy shades of winter

South Africans are funny people - as soon as we get a bout of weather it makes the news. Of course, summer on the highveld is super hot with thunderous storms and thirst quenching rain. Winter is another story though. Usually bright, clear, cold and sunny days are the norm. Except when we have unseasonal rain, like we had yesterday. It really whacks the temperature down, but it's pretty to wake up to. The mist sets in and creates monochrome scenes reminiscent of London.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

S'no goose

I'm really having a hard time of it, trying to organise the chaos in my head. Manic thoughts are having head-on collisions and that pure stream of consciousness that we should all be plugged into seems to have been hi-jacked by the pins-and-needles party in my brain's frontal lobe.

Basically, by now, I of all people, should have my thoughts under control. I should be thinking useful things to help me create my reality. As opposed to those thoughts that resist reality and continue to wreak havoc with my daily existence. Our spiritual gurus remind us that thoughts are things, and by focusing on the negative ones, or rather, on the reality that we DON'T want, we bring into existence the very situations we are trying so desperately to avoid.

My dog Joe acts as a good Colleen-Reflector. Always up for a laugh, I think his job in life is to show me where my thinking has taken a wrong turn.

Yesterday he chewed through my only pair of warm winter thermals, the ones a friend brought me from the States. This morning he bit the goose. That goose drives me crazy. Every morning he charges at us when we get to the stables. Wearing wellies is fine, but when I forget that I have naked legs under my jeans, his beak attack leaves me looking like I've been crawling around the floor of a heroin hostel.

The goose and Joe have gotten personal before. I've seen the bird run his beak up and down Joe's neck and back while he just stood there, taking it. Instead of getting the hell out of the way, he stays within beak-biting proximity. This has been going on for months until this morning, when the dog must have decided he'd had enough. I heard a commotion and when I looked again, the goose was clucking forlornly to itself, waddling away from the stables. That animal NEVER waddles, it's no Jemima Puddle Duck. It usually swaggers, wings outstretched, hurtling towards you...

Anyway, the goose looks ok, still yelling at the top of it's voice. Doesn't look like there's too much damage. I put an emergency call through to my mom – she's used to getting frantic requests for help with our animals. She's sending healing energy and I'm praying to the goose gods that they spare the noisy duck, while I promise to never allow Joe within biting distance again.

What does this have to do with thinking mean thoughts about geese then, you ask. Well, the noise that goose makes is enough to rattle the teeth in my head. I must be honest and admit to wondering when it would shuffle off it's mortal coil and leave me in peace. His rooster companion must surely be deaf, talk about being hen pecked. I'm figuring this is what the Universe delivers when you allow aimless thoughts to run rampant inside a busy head. Darling Joe, being a steadfast co-conspirator, no doubt thought he'd help out and put a sock in it, so to speak. Which takes me back to yesterday's stocking fiasco. If I moan incessantly about how cold it is, my Reflector Dog is going to help create that reality for me and keep me cold...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The damage is done

Joe just chewed through my thermal stockings. It wasn't really a surprise as I'd already taken them away from him once this afternoon. The resulting tennis-ball-size hole renders them useless in the freezing cold weather we're experiencing in Jozi right now.

He has this thing with socks – carries them around in his mouth. At the beginning of winter he left a small hole in my long grey socks. Yes, I wear LONG socks in winter. I'm allergic to the cold and go to great lengths to convince my brain that my body is warm. Wearing long socks under my jeans is NOT super sexy, I know. Especially when BFB runs his hand up my leg, expecting the smooth, silky, shaven limb one expects to find, as illustrated by lady-razor tv ads. It does however, ensure that the object of his desire is not the same temperature as a forgotten pork chop stuck to the bottom of a vegetarian's freezer.

I'm not sure why my dog has a sock fetish. As a puppy he shredded some really important things - like my riding boots, the strap on my crash-cap, my NEW gloves and my favourite Bach Flower Remedies book. I thought he'd gotten over that, but clearly he hasn't.

It's not enough that my dog causes unnecessary damage - my glasses and cell phone have been through the ringer too. A couple of weeks back I made the mistake of leaving my jacket hanging on the fence behind which a mischievous pony was corralled. I'd had carrots in the pockets the night before, and she was making sure that there were none left. By the time someone noticed my jacket, the sleeve was on its way down her throat. I didn't think anything of it until I was walking home... when I put my hand in the pocket, I noticed the unmistakable grass-green gobby sleeve. With a sinking feeling I extracted my glasses and phone from the mess... Glasses were in two pieces and the phone – well, it still works, but the screen was crunched by some heavy duty horse teeth.

BFB came to the rescue, yet again. He popped the lens back into their frame and gave me his spare R200 replacement phone. I'm guessing he's glad the stockings were made redundant and probably wont be replacing those anytime soon.