Saturday, August 02, 2008

Horse and Giraffes

HANDICAPPING THE ELECTION. Obama is the likely winner, by a thin margin. That's his style. There's no way he's going to throw a roundhouse punch at an old war hero like John McCain. He will treat McCain with the same courtesy that he treated Hillary Clinton. Being much younger than McCain or Clinton, he owes them that much respect. In addition, the majority of the voters want Obama to win, but we don't want him to win too big -- on account of his tender age.

Maybe race has a bit to do with this too. They used to call a Negro "uppity" if he didn't know his place. But now they call him arrogant and elitist. Obama said, “What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He’s risky.”

HORSES AND GIRAFFES. Connie Funk of Dodge Valley has written a wonderful book about horses, "Beauty from Brokenness." She will have a signing at the Next Chapter in LaConner, Saturday, Aug. 16. I got an autographed copy today.

I started reading the book this afternoon, during quiet moments at the hospital. I've gotten to page 179 so far. But I'm reading the book backwards, starting with the acknowledgments, which list and describe Connie's friends and advisers in the world of horses, children, gardens, and other spiritual delights. After the acknowledgments, I moved to the left, to the Epilog, which is the last chapter -- the book has a Happy Ending! Then I kept moving to the left, going toward the front of the book one chapter at a time.

I'm left-handed -- reading books this way is quite natural to me. Connie is the kind of friend and writer who would completely understand this.

Gee, I'm reading this book and I feel like I know the horses she writes about -- That's a joke. I DO know them, one named Chasta and and the other named Gaela, two beautiful horse girls -- I have visited them often. Connie's house is only a few miles from where I live on Fir Island.

Then Connie writes about a character named Fred who bears an astonishing resemblance to me. This guy Fred has helped Connie prune the roses, the forsythias, the viburnums, the wisteria, the grapevines, and ESPECIALLY the long lovely privet hedge which marches in twin rows to a bower with a wooden cross, said cross being the original wooden cross on top of the spire of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in LaConner, built in 1899.

The old cross is a little bit weatherworn, but it rests underneath a weeping cherry tree and the sturdy privet hedge shelters it from winter winds.

Next to the privet hedge is a giraffe eating fruit from an apple tree. It's a real giraffe, if you mean by that a live giraffe, being a topiary of 8-feet tall, of four cotoneasters, each one being a giraffe's leg, and each cotoneaster carefully pruned up a wire and iron frame, to form the body and long, long neck of a giraffe.

"Fred" has often given this giraffe a haircut with his garden shears. There is a dramatic episode concerning this giraffe, a moment of terror and danger -- but I dare not tell, you must read Connie's book.

Giraffes, as I have seen them in Africa, are the most romantic of creatures. Their long necks are for nuzzling. Their powerful hearts are a surge of passion. A dull zoologist might point out that the strong heart of a giraffe is necessary to pump blood more than six feet straight up the giraffe's neck in order to give good circulation to the brain.

But I say it's love. I watched a scene once, in Hwange Park in Zimbabwe, of two giraffes courting. It was so tender. There were zebras and ostriches cavorting about like ballerinas. But the giraffes lovers held us in awe. It may be, going back again to the very dull zoologist, that the boy giraffe and the girl giraffe have such very long necks and such very long legs, that he is not able to mount her unless she is completely ready, completely willing, and completely cooperative. One cannot rush these things -- as the boy giraffe learned from his forefathers. You must court her, you must dance with her from one thorn tree to another. If you try to force her, you will both suffer.

True. And All the Pretty Horses get Sleepy in the Long Summer Days.

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