Back in the ’80s, on the ranch, I met a neighbour whose story inspired me. She had been a single mother who had once been a teacher. Now she was in a new relationship and dedicating her time to homeschooling her son.
As she explained to me on a visit with him, he was dyslexic, and she wanted him to have what she knew she could do as an enlightened teacher.
She said, “getting the left and the right and the up and the down to move together as one picture.”
When they left my home, I noticed the essence of “love” hanging in the air from their visit.
A Little Bit Of Love was recorded in Vancouver, B.C. Gord Maxwell on fretless bass (Ian Tyson), Larry Pink on steel guitar (One Horse Blue) and Rocko at the controls. Vocals: Katie & Gord. Katie on her Washburn guitar.
I would not be the creative person I am today without having a wonderful “team” of mentors. By this I mean the people who were inspiring to me over my lifetime. In other words, my teachers.
Born with a sensitive nature, I was very lucky. In some ways I won the lotto for being here on this earth now. Because of this it is my responsibility to be the “evidence” of how they mattered!
Here are the “faces” of the five women who played an important role in my life. Overtime I will mention them and if you follow my blog you will get to know them. I know they have something to teach the world. If it shows up in me…you know where it came from!
Today, I thought I’d share the story of my last Cariboo horse. Being an Irish girl from a family of Irish names, it’s fitting his name was Paddy. Bruce Kiskaddon would have liked him. In his words he was the “old breed with a mustache on the lip.”
My first horse as a young girl, came from royalty. When I married I wasn’t allowed to buy anything higher than “meat price.” Now I don’t regret the horses I owned this way, just the abuse they had suffered before me. I know I gave them a better life for their remaining years. Paddy was one of them.
Paddy’s life started out right but he had the wrong trainer. This man who “broke him” was a neighbour out our way who loved to do everything “the cowboy way”. His reasoning was, “You gotta make them buck and then get all the buck out of them.” This approach as most enlightened trainers know, creates a bucking horse.
So “broken in” Paddy returned home to his owner, a casual hobby rider. Sensing his gentle colt was now a little uppity, he sent Paddy off to another trainer a little distance away.
This is where it get’s a little complicated
The second trainer had a brother-in-law who was also a vet. When Paddy returned home from the second go-a-round the word was, “he had the flue.” His swollen body and inability to move was vouched for by a local range rider. Yes she too had seen him laying down at the trainers all swollen up with…the flue. Remember this for further on.
How I Met Paddy
I met Paddy when the Swiss owners of our ranch asked me to help find a horse for Albert. A friend told me her neighbour didn’t want his horse and it had befriended her horse on the other side of the fence. Maybe Albert would want to take a look at him.
Albert liked him and asked what I thought. I was concerned about the enlarged “capped” knees he had on his front legs.
“Oh, yeah,” said Paddy’s owner, “he had the flue and he can’t bend his front legs now.”
I cautioned Albert but he thought everything would be okay.
Back at the ranch, Paddy didn’t like Albert. He didn’t like men, and threw him when he was startled by an oil spot on the pavement. It was a hard landing for a Swiss gentleman who had never ridden before.
One day Albert phoned me, Paddy had backed into a barbwire fence and needed doctoring and he had to go to Montana. Would I take him back to my place and take care of the cut.
So I did, and Paddy and I had a great three weeks together. He was the only horse I’ve ever had that would trim your flower beds and not walk through them.
However the barbwire cut left a scar but that was nothing…
When Albert returned he told me he was going to ship Paddy for meat so I bought him. One day I had the “brother-in-law” vet come and inspect Paddy. I wanted to know the real story.
a He said, “I’ve never seen the flue do that to a horse’s knees. That horse was put on the rocks. It’s the way he trains them.” a Paddy lived out his life with me.
a He laid down by putting his front legs out straight in front of him. He got up this way too. I rode him mostly at a walk and then later I and Paddy escorted my elderly (80 plus) neighbour “Jud” and his (30 plus) horse “Bud”. I took coffee in a thermos and we’d ride up the hill to some tree and get off to drink and eat cookies and tell stories. Carrots for the horses. a It wasn’t a good feeling the few times Paddy tripped on the trail, so I rode him less and less and he got fat. This made it harder for him to get up and down. He never had a chance to grow old. But he played with my husky/wolf cross, who liked to lead him, with the rope in her mouth, around the yard. AND he was loved by my orange cat Teddy. a Paddy got his feelings up a few times at Jud’s horses and one year reared up and got his front hoof caught on the top wire. I counted 26 barbs with blood and hair. Jud gave Paddy a stall in his barn and I doctored him there. During this time Jud’s goat fell in love with him. a The night Paddy left the stars were around the moon in a special way. a It made me think he wasn’t wasting any time on getting over to the other side. I told my friend Wendy about Paddy and a poem I wrote for his earlier, barbwire backup, at the ranch with Albert. Her illustration of Paddy is here along with my poem. a I wrote Paddy’s story here so you could know the more of it… a
On the last Christmas my brother Terry was alive, I heard a loon. From the top balcony, outside his house it came, drifting down Sheridan lake.
I had stepped out to be by myself. Admiring the stars and the way the snow wrapped itself on the tree’s. Here and there a Christmas light poked through on the tree closest to the balcony. Having enjoyed a beautiful Christmas dinner with my family I pondered there. The haunting sound of a loon answered. I looked down the lake thru moon light and shadow only to hear it again.
“Loons in the winter,” I thought. “Was it possible?” So I went downstairs where the men hang out.
“You’ll never guess what I heard…a loon on the lake!”
I had to speak a couple of times. They seemed to be unaware of what I was saying. Then it came:
“Oh no! That couldn’t be…,” they chorused.
Perplexed, I went back up the stairs and stood by the large glass patio windows. The night was bright and the stars were dazzling. Turning to face my sister-in-law Roberta’s shelves, I was deep in thought. I know what I heard.
Faintly, like whispered murmurings, the sounds of a nature tape. “Oh,” I thought, Roberta had this on so low she must have thought she had turned it off! Would this tape have the sound of a loon on it? And if so, how did it get outside, increase in volume and come down the lake?
Today, I remember my brother Terry with the only craft he ever made. Dad had shown him how to make a loon box out of wood. He only made a few so I bought one before the other’s went into Roberta’s store. This was the summer before anyone knew… Now I have his loon box and the mystery of the loon I heard after our last Christmas Dinner with him.
Did the loon call come from the tape? How did it find its way into a beautiful night and setting? I often think of it as the Christmas Loon and it makes me think of my big brother.
“Shake a paw for a treat!” Sam and Boots with Terry 10 years earlier @ Christmas 1988.
One morning, while I was laying in bed, half awake and half asleep; I heard the voice of an expert.
“Her work will never sell.”
“Yes,” I thought dreamily as I stretched. “I know this one…it isn’t seen as commercial.”
Half awake, I understood what was being said. It was as if I was there, looking over the shoulders of the “expert” who was looking at my work.
But this is when I really woke up. The booming voice over it all…
“It’s the currency of Love!”
Two voices waking me up with two different messages!
So I laid in bed for awhile mulling it over.
It was such an intriguing line… “It’s the currency of Love.”
The fact is, one voice wanted me to know I would never make money from my work. The other voice wanted me to know I had already received!
Currency is another word for money. The largest part of the word is current suggesting flow, energy, power.
Yes, Love is a powerhouse – it runs the Universe.
The bible says: “God is Love”.
If you asked me I would tell you this. I find agreement with the work that comes to me. I believe God created me to create. Creating Love is what God spends on me and expects from me in return; The currency of Love.
This is the story of my Life!
This blog “The Living Of Loving” is what I spend on you the reader. If you leave “inspired” it’s been a good exchange.
A near stranger said to me once:
“You have different creative expressions because you are still exploring who you are!”
This is the ultimate pay off. “The currency of Love”
P.S. I will be mulling this experience over for awhile as I’m sure there is more to discover…on my own or in listening.