Friday, June 27, 2008

labyrinthine summer

The summer does feel labyrinthine this year, with lots of things going on, interweaving and moving in different directions all at the same time.


The actual labyrinth is coming along beautifully. I envision it being fully in place just about the end of summer, which will be a perfect time to complete the creation and begin to use it. I already feel the benefits of walking the path. Keil Bay is actively asking to go down the path with me.

I had an image of the wooden sign this morning as I walked up the path, and that will be a good art project for a rainy day.


I also had a major revelation about a garage art project I've been percolating for over a year. The back wall of our garage (the wall you see when you pull in the garage doors) and the stairwell up are both that bland putty color with white splotches where the studs are. It occurred to me awhile back that it would be fun to hire our favorite local mural artist to come work with us to create something magical.

This morning it hit me that what I'd like to do on the garage wall is a mural of our property - a sort of birds' eye view - which is based on what is now, but also includes what will be. An actual visualization of the farm we want to end up with as we live here and improve the place. We can include the labyrinth, the 100-Acre Wood, the Endless Possibility Pool, etc.

I LOVE the idea that instead of a wish list or a dreaded to-do list, I will have a mural. Each time I drive into the garage I'll spotlight the things I hope to create here.


Writing has been labyrinthine too. I worked daily for several weeks and am now doing a bit of research reading, following a whim I had while actively writing. It feels good to be on the path to finishing this novel up and getting it out there.

I do find myself circling back to the beginning and re-walking the story as I edit, and there's such a good feeling to this process of re-working and digging deeper with each circuit. I hadn't thought of the editing process as walking a labyrinth until just now, but the metaphor fits, for me.


One day this week I sent away hair and saliva samples from Keil Bay, for kinesiology testing and a full report and recommendations for herbal treatments as needed to balance his system. I've been reading the stories of a large number of horse owners who use this particular woman and they have kept fascinating records of their horses' progress on the herbs. The course of treatment, if needed, generally lasts from 3 weeks to 11 weeks depending on what is found. I talked at some length with the woman, and between her words to me directly and what she has achieved with these fellow riders, I am very excited about the testing. Once I see how this works with Keil Bay, I plan to do it for myself and then work my way through the herd.

She is running 4-6 weeks behind right now due to the number of clients she has, so it will be the end of July before I get results and recommendations. I'll post as things progress.


I've now started Salina on her rice bran meal supplement, which is added in to her "soup" of soaked pellets, flax, vits and minerals, and kelp. I wondered about this soupy mixture and how she would adapt to it, but she adores it -- and Keil Bay would dearly love to be put on the same routine.

I've reduced her feedings now from 4/day to 3, which is where I'll leave it for the time being. It's been less than a week and I already see she's gained a little weight, which she can afford to do. I suspect she is getting more of the nutrients this way than she was with the "whole" pellets.

The only downside to this is that she gets messy and needs to be sponged off on face and sometimes legs! But that's a small chore in exchange for peace of mind and ease of eating for the Queen.


So... a sampling of some of the paths I'm on this summer. Circling toward the fall.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Your life does seem like a labyrinth of so many different intertwining forces. I love the idea you had for the garage wall, it would be an inspiration every time you came past it.
I'm very interested in your herbal lady and would love to hear more about her, and have her address.
As for your post yesterday, a young sport horse just looking for you? I think you're wishing he would show up sooner than later. But alas it may be anything else, donkey, cat, dog, birds... can't wait to see the outcome, perhaps it will be an animal who finds you in the real labyrinth!

billie said...

Arlene, I'll be happy to pass on the name and contact info privately - I hesitate to post her info, as she is swamped right now with inquiries and samples for testing. I also want to wait until I have firsthand experience to report before recommending her by name on my blog. However, based on everything I know thus far, she is highly accurate in data that can be verified prior to starting the herbs, and as she doesn't in any way assume anyone will be buying the herbs from her, she doesn't necessarily benefit from sales that way.

I am hoping somehow she gets caught up and I have Keil Bay's results sooner than expected. I am very eager to proceed if things seem on target.

Ha! - a young sport horse is already in the picture - at least in the sense that I know about him and his owner/trainer knows about me. :)

His price is a bit prohibitive at the moment, and meanwhile he is living naturally in a well-cared for herd, getting dressage training by one of the best, and gaining in experience. So... I keep hoping that my readiness for HIM coincides with his reaching upper level competence and that BOTH of those things coincide with a small windfall of cash into my bank account!

One piece of the attraction is that he was bred by Keil Bay's previous owner and he looks very much like Keil Bay. I haven't met him yet, but in photos and descriptions, he is dreamy.

I keep my eye on him and hope for the best.

Janet Roper said...

I love the idea of a mural in your garage! How creative, and innovative to show your 'to-do' list as a finished vision!

I might have to borrow that idea.....

billie said...

Go for it, Janet - I'd love to see your end results!

I got in touch with our artist friend, and he's excited, but will have to start in August. Which gives me time to get the garage cleaned out! :)

Victoria Cummings said...

The mural is kind of a vision board. It's a great idea! Keep us informed about the herb lady - that sounds really interesting. Maybe you'll sell a book just at the right time to buy that sport horse - fingers crossed.

the7msn said...

I'm lovin' that garage mural idea. It took me back to the scene I embroidered onto the front of my jeans (bell-bottoms of course) back in high school. There was a cabin right below the knee, and a pond and a fence and lots of flowers. It was the place I imagined I wanted to live. So except for the pond, I wasn't too far off. Sew it/paint it and it will happen.

billie said...

Victoria, thanks!

Funny story about book sales and horses. The year my first novel got agented and looked like it was going to sell, I kept saying "when the book sells I'll buy my horse."

A good author friend told me not to link up my non-writing dreams with books, that the publishing business is just too fickle.

I'm really glad I listened. The horses have been a life-changing, calming force as I continue to aim mss at NYC and hope one hits the target. :)

I still do speak of book deals and movie deals (optimist that I am!) in relation to "bigger things" but I try really hard to remember not to set up one thing to depend on the other.

billie said...

Linda, I absolutely love the idea that The7msn began as a dream embroidered on the bell bottoms of your jeans!!

Do you still have them?

That would be another wonderful project - embroidering the farm into a sort of tapestry. Wow.

jme said...

i love the use of the labyrinth as a metaphor for your editing process! it would fit mine well also. i don't write well enough for publication (i'm resigned to entertaining myself with it!), but i also find that when i go back to edit or rework a story it tends to take on new layers, and even new, undiscovered passages to explore. it's what i love most about writing!

all the best with your labyrinths, literal and metaphorical!

billie said...

jme, I would have to disagree with your assessment of your own writing, just having spent some time at your blog!

I'm glad someone resonates with the labyrinthine editing approach - the thing you wrote about discovering new layers is exactly why I adore writing and will never stop, whether any of it gets born between hard covers or not!