Faces, happy

8 06 2011

I love first-time visitors! My wonderful friend N came with me today, fresh on the heels of her completion of a master’s degree. I think we had a wonderful celebratory day!

Some teasers:

Faces, beautiful.

Face, adorable.

Faces, beloved.

N, hope you had a wonderful day! I loved sharing it with you! And congratulations!





From the vault

6 06 2011

Not too long ago, though … I’m avoiding vacuuming … looking for some pix I took a couple of weeks ago of Apollo … and came upon these that I couldn’t resist pulling into Photoshop for cropping and saving.

So for no other reason than “wow, aren’t they beautiful,” enjoy!

Whisper

Daddy Bounce – loved the early morning light on their dark, handsome faces!

Cinch – he’s always watchful, and I relish being able to capture him when he relaxes.

Varoujan – really … do I ever need a reason to post such divine cuteness?! 🙂

The claret cups are blooming. A few years ago – a couple of years ago? – we had a wonderful variety of colors from pale pink to yellow to this deep rosy red. This year, I haven’t seen anything but red, but they’re very vivid. In my notes about the horses, I also keep track of other details about the range – the timing of greenup, what ponds are holding/shallow/dry, what’s blooming when. For such a dry place, we have a fairly wide variety of blooming wildflowers right now: wild blue flax, white daisies, still some phlox, Indian paintbrush, 4 o’clock, larkspur, prince’s plume, globe mallow, some little purple flowers, evening primrose. Last week, I saw the first sego lilies of the year. As great as the contrast between prickly cactus and gorgeous claret cup blooms, the oddness of seemingly fragile sego lilies in our rocky, dry, tan environment always blows me away. It was WAY too windy to even try to photograph the lilies, but they have won a place as one of my favorite wildflowers – for all they represent, for their ability to grow and thrive in such an unforgiving place, to bring beauty to a place some might call harsh, to bring life to a place some might call empty … and you know I’m not really talking about flowers anymore, don’t you? 🙂





Close at hand

6 06 2011

These pix of Varoujan and family – and trailer – were all taken from my Jeep, on the road, through the driver’s side window.

The full midday sunshine doesn’t do this little guy justice – he’s just handsome as heck!

Big brother Gideon reminds me so much of big sister Hannah, and not just in color. He was being encouraged by both Mouse and Steeldust (likely his sire though he was raised with Butch as head of the band) to stay with the group and not linger back with interloper Aspen.

He’s shedding out of his darker hair, leaving behind that smooth, beautiful red-bay.

Varo and mama Luna. He has full run of the family, and you’ll just as likely see him hanging out with grandpa Steeldust as daddy Butch as brother Gideon (they’ve really started to hang out and play now) as auntie Alpha as mama!

Steeldust taunting Aspen.

Butch looking back at Aspen.

Aspen up on a hill looking down at the band – deterred – for now.





Happy June

1 06 2011

Have gotten busy the last few days and haven’t been able to tweak new photos let alone post them, but this is one I had tweaked earlier … and really, do I need a specific excuse? Brothers Varoujan and Gideon and mama Luna at left. I’m really not sure what I love more, mamas with their babies, daddies with their babies or big siblings with their littles! You probably know the answer … I love them all! 🙂





Dawn and on

24 05 2011

Still have lots to share from almost two weeks ago … looking forward to getting back to the basin this week, weather-permitting. Loved getting all that moisture (including snow!), but I can hardly stand not having been in the basin for two weeks. I want to see it GREEN, like we’ve hardly had yet this year (the green-up was as subtle as I’ve ever seen it, and the cheat grass has already gone to purple), and I want to see ponds brimming with water. I want to see all the babies and families! Don’t know what I’ll find … and that’s why I’m so eager to get back out!

Juniper, mama Kestrel and daddy Comanche. For whatever reason, I just love knowing Comanche is a full-fledged daddy … He has taken such good care of Winona.

Baby girl in the spotlight

Isn’t she divine?

And the whole world is new and interesting and beautiful, to be explored and marveled at.

Then they left the shadows of the trees for the morning sunlight.

All things bright and beautiful …

All things wise and wonderful …

It was a gorgeous morning. If snow fell in the basin last week with the rain, I wonder what she made of that? What all the babies – tough little mustang babies, made of stern gossamer stuff – made of it? I hope they delighted in it and kicked up their tiny heels and ran for joy of life!

We wandered over the pinon-juniper island and found Luna’s band already hard at work at nap time. There’s just about nothing better than napping in that delicious morning sunshine after the day’s first trip to the water hole. At least, that’s my take on it. 🙂

Alpha was just to the left. I think Mouse was a little back, also to the left.

Zeroing in … Steeldust is likely Varoujan’s granddaddy (likely sire of Butch).

The littlest mister laid down …

And big brother Gideon came thiiiiiiis close to joining him … His nodding head dropped so low, I was sure he was going to lie down, but he never did.

Meanwhile, just a little distance away …

Big sister Winona, fascinated by the baby …

Ha! Mama Kestrel was just steps away to the left. Pretty soon, these two will be playing together and running circles around mama and daddy!

Handsome daddy Comanche

He stays close …

🙂

Baby girl couldn’t resist the call of nap time, either …

Like mama Luna, like daughter Kestrel … I really don’t know how to articulate how I feel when I sit with these horses, in the sunlight of a beautiful spring morning, a million miles away from anywhere and everywhere. It’s the most incredible gift to be able to do that, feeling their quiet magic all around. I am grateful beyond words … I am amazed beyond reason … It keeps me going back, it makes me do everything I can to ensure their survival in the best conditions possible. Above all things but my own family, they are my light in this world.

Juniper

Luna the beautiful and wise, mother of (at least) Kestrel, Ember, Hannah, Gideon and Varoujan; grandmother of (at least) Winona, Fierro and Juniper. We are so blessed to have her (she came from Sand Wash Basin in 2001).

Varo and Luna, Gideon and Alpha in back.

Do you see all their eyes? Luna and Varo, of course, Alpha … and Gideon? I love trying to capture images like this – puzzle pieces of family life.

Baby gives mama a schnuzzle …

Mama gives baby a schnuzzle! I love how her mobile lips are stretched out to him.

Mama, always a comforting presence …

Loved the light on him against the shadowed arroyo wall behind him.

Just love … just always simply love.





Light and beauty, beauty and light

22 05 2011

Truly, sometimes I have no words. In the basin, with them, I just hang on tight to the moment, the moments, the glorious beauty all around me, us, them. They carry it with them … the world accentuates all that they are.

What’s the saying?

When God created the horse, he said to the magnificent creature: I have made thee as no other. All the treasures of the earth shall lie between thy eyes. Thou shalt cast thy enemies between thy hooves, but thou shalt carry my friends upon thy back. Thy saddle shall be the seat of prayers to me. And thou fly without any wings, and conquer without any sword. ~ The Koran

How could it be said any better?

These images were all taken from about half an hour before sunset to a little past the same day as the pictures in the “Till Dawn” post.

It’s plentiful, it’s prickly, it has slender, rubbery “leaves,” and the horses seem to think of it as candy. I’ve seen them surrounded by grass – actual grass – and still nibbling (as Gideon here) on greasewood.

Grey/Traveler and his daughter Terra

Mama Houdini, baby Deniz and yearling Gemma were out of sight in a little draw down and behind Grey and Terra.

King, emperor, knight in shining silver of Spring Creek Basin.

Alpha, queen, empress, once his favorite …

Mouse

Varoujan and daddy Butch

And good night …





Till dawn

19 05 2011

Pre-dawn is a truly lovely time of day. These photos were taken from about half an hour before dawn to just after, when the light was just kissing the trees in our corner of heaven.

Cinch

Liberty gives Cinch an early morning nuzzle.

Pretty Gaia with Liberty

Luna’s band at one of the ponds. From left: Steeldust, Gideon, Alpha, Varoujan, Luna, Butch and Mouse.

Mama Luna and her boys. She’s actually drinking out of a puddle there. I’m not sure why she drank there rather than from the main part of the pond.

Love all their faces. Butch is looking at Comanche’s band, who are at the other side of the pond.

Mama Kestrel (Luna’s daughter), Juniper and Winona (Luna’s granddaughters!) get a drink at the pond.

Winona and Comanche

Comanche, watching Luna’s band.

Sweet Varoujan gives mama a nuzzle.

Off to graze.

Juniper and Kestrel

Good morning, beautiful girls!

Daddy, Juni and mama -dawn. You can’t miss that piece sticking out from his nostril … I’m not sure what he did there, but it does seem to be a piece of skin that he ripped somehow. Doesn’t seem to bother him for grazing or drinking. He’s looking at Grey/Traveler’s band.

Peaceful, beautiful, all right with the world. Out here … it’s easy to believe in everything that should be right with the world …

What more to say? 🙂





A few of Varo

11 05 2011

From sunset one night:

Love this sweet, sweet boy – Varoujan.

Look at him looking! Love the light, the swish of mama’s tail, the brace of his legs as he finds milk and comfort.

With mama and brother Gideon …

All those faces – faces of family – at sunset, the dawn of a beautiful life.





‘Don’t be hasty!’

6 05 2011

I was wrong.

Luna’s foal is a he, not a she.

Not missing a beat, Aghavni renamed the little mister Varoujan – “VAR-oo-zhahn” – which means “male dove” in Armenian.

Luna and Varoujan catching a few winks at dawn.

Still a little bit of shadow from the east ridges, but mama and baby are in the spotlight! Brumley Point in the background.

It was a gorgeous, gorgeous morning that started out at about 25 degrees! Once the sun lit us, it warmed up quickly and became T-shirt and shorts weather.

While I did mention the Armenian (Aghavni) and Turkish (Servet) journalists visiting Durango and getting a taste of our small-town American journalism, I don’t think I posted a link to a story about them.  The article is a good one, but it doesn’t begin to do justice to the depth of knowledge these two have. It has been fascinating having them in Durango. Our visit to the basin last week will stand out as – truly – one of the best!

Aghavni and Servet wrote stories for our paper about their countries’ reactions to the finding and killing of Osama bin Laden. With their professional backgrounds (to say the least), it’s possibly the most amazing occurrence of “it’s a small world” with that happening while they were in Durango I think I’ve ever known.

Aghavni’s story.

Servet’s story.

Our Varoujan … because the world needs more doves and because peace is worth sharing.