Photo by Anne Lazarus
The coloring of this colt was a mystery to me, never having seen a horse going from red and black to taupe and grey in just this way. That, and his personality – staunchly cautious yet persistently curious – captured my attention. As soon as I got home from collecting dung, off went a picture to my dear Brent – a staunchly cautious yet persistently curious Texan.
Instantly he sent back, even though he is always on the road, that the color of the legs and tail is known as chrome. It’s hard to look at a detail and not see a story, and in the ethereal legs of the colt was seeing horse meld to land, as if a dusting of sage had indelibly settled upon him. (How I feel of Nevada. Though I’d take a shower, the days and weeks and months of trekking still within me chrome? Anyhow … ) That chrome in the colt arises from a color blocking agent adds to liking of him, for it puts me to mind of ullage, one of my all time favorite words. Ullage!
Abridged dictionaries give just one view– the amount by which a container falls short of being full, and might reference evaporation in a wine bottle, as if “falls short” is a bad thing. Yet, what made me fall in love with ullage was something else. Years ago, plowing through my monolithic, unabridged, hardcover dictionary wanting a short, rare word that starts with U, I unearthed ullage as the empty space in a rocket that allows for the expansion of gases, and now I had a view that made a distinction like lighting and lightning bug. That absence was a virtue where fuel could combust and propel without destroying the rocket. That nothing could be a part of momentum.
Ullage and beauty. Even love. Direct ideas, yet a million things. The chrome in the colt. White space between objects, like miles between dearest friends. Open range. Western sky. And the tiny pierced holes in a typewriter page.
We were driving south through the Truckee Meadows when, out of the blue, Scott Robert said …. Today someone told me there’s a woman who made a million dollars selling tumbleweeds. He said it kind of thoughtful, quizzical, Can you imagine? Yes, I said. Though leery of the million dollar part, still, as a dedicated business coach it was easy to accept tumbleweeds as a venture. Better yet, it made me smile. That’s what I want! To have my habit of picking up stuff in the desert become making a living. A couple of miles later, still thinking tumbleweeds I said, Do you know what people are really buying when the get tumbleweeds? Love of The West. And our cowboy hearts trotted into babble and by the time we pulled up to my brother’s house there was an idea– Mustang Preserves. How to capture love of the American West, as if bottled, to have and to hold. Part of me was brainstorming in the delight of how nothing (dung) could be something. Yet, also it was some unknown hot damn of Elko for the first time that had me going electric. Have you ever gotten that overwhelming excitement that washes through you as peace? Like the quite before a storm, or the release after orgasm. Well there it was for me. A vision: where cowboys have cows to justify being where they want to be, I could adopt mustang dung. So that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of months. Meditating and obsessing about the depth and breadth of meaning infused into dung. And I’m here blogging in a left brain sort of way, where blogging is something one is supposed to check out, to try on, if only for a week. Yet the truth is I’m a huge fan of The Julie/Julia Project (both the book and the movie). Julie/Julia is a modern day Rocky (for chicks) and I’d like to walk in the footsteps of a life recast if only one knew what that might be. Julie had cooking as her touchstone. For me stones and bones and feathers randomly collected are what give me a feeling of being grounded. So for the past two months I’ve been dabbling in Mustang Preserves. And it’s been wonderful. A soothing meditation. And I’m here to wallow in that, to extend that exploration. No editorial calendar, no devised program, no preconceived message. It’s just, as most of my life has been, left-foot-right-foot-repeat-as-needed, ambling from one sentence to another. A gal just here for the happy opportunity to write off (the business of business) topic. To relish some dovetailing joys found by mustang dung.