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dog on Gunflint Trail

“There are stories of animals that have been bred in captivity experiencing the terror of the open door. It might seem counterintuitive, but captive animals often have the good sense to know their chances of survival in the wild are uncertain at best. The prospect of running away or flying off is simply too painful and frightening. So they stay put in the sanctuary of the cage… The instinct for liberty may be deeply ingrained, but we are all captive in someway to something… The cage of habit. The cage of ego. The cage of ambition. The cage of materialism. The line between freedom from fear and freedom from danger is not always easy to discern.” ~ Kyo Maclear, “Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation”

Last weekend, Steve and I and the dogs were at Gunflint Lodge for my 60th birthday escape. As we drove along Lake Superior towards our destination, the sky was cloudy and gray, as it had been for days. The wind whipped the expanse of blue Superior water into a white capped frenzy. Waves ran towards the shore where they struck against black rocks and the cliffside, sending fountains of white water spraying into the air. We passed by a couple spots where surfers, clad in wet suits and carrying surf boards headed towards this welcome gift of raucous water.

Lake Superior

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woman and horse

“In mythic symbolism world-wide, both horses and ponies represent the following things: Physical strength, inner strength, vitality, appetite for life, the driving force that carries you forward, the driving force that overcomes obstacles, passion, movement, flow, self-expression, and that which makes you thrive. They are also symbols of vital life forces held in perfect, exquisite balance: love and devotion paired with freedom and mobility; the wild and instinctive supported by the disciplined and domestic; strength balanced with vulnerability, mastery with modesty, power with compassion.” ~ Teri Windling, “Mist, Wild Ponies and the Animate Earth” 

Horses and all they represent have lifted and carried me at times in my life when I felt powerless, weak and afraid. They have provided me moments of grounding and peace when I most needed them.

However, like all beings, horses age and as they do so, that strength and vitality begins to wane.

horse being nebulized

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dog in woods

“Feel lucky for what you have when you have it. Isn’t that the point? Happily ever after doesn’t mean happy forever. The ever after, what precisely was that? Your dreams, your life, your death, your everything. Was it the blank space that went on without us? The forever after we were gone?” ~ The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman


One person can stand in the middle of a forest feeling panicked and confused. “Where am I?” she says.

Desperately looking from side to side, turning in circles, then looking to the sky for the sun to tell her which way is east or west — whatever difference that makes since she doesn’t know which direction she’s been traveling.

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