Free writing is a great exercise and a little more challenging when the memory is involved.
As mentioned in my last Free Write Friday post on the Childhood Gift, my childhood is very much a blur. During last week’s free writing exercise I couldn’t think of anything to share besides the bear story. Which is fine ~ it’s a nice story. Somehow, though, it left me feeling empty.
The fact is, my mother had given something of great meaning to me when I was a child (besides a roof over our heads, food at the table and a youth steeped in culture), but what it was I just could not recall through the fog of memory while trying to free write on the topic.
That was until a memory jogging discussion with my therapist on Tuesday reminded me of a special gift I still have and that means the world to me.
I’m actually surprised I didn’t think of it as it’s within eyeshot every day.
I don’t recall the exact age I received this thoughtful gift. Maybe nine years old. And I don’t even remember how it was given to me. Perhaps for my birthday.
When my mother toured with the opera company she would frequent antique shops in the various British cities she visited. She would often return home, after a few days away, with easily transportable items she hadn’t been able to resist, like old picture frames and glassware.
I didn’t pay this much mind until one day she presented me with a gold-leaf antique frame bearing a print of “The Arab Tent” by Edwin (Henry) Landseer (1802-1873). The beautiful print she purchased at the gift shop of the The Wallace Collection in London, where the original is on display.
This beautiful print of a grey Arabian mare and her bay colt sheltered in an Arab tent took pride of place on my bedroom wall throughout my formative years. Now, despite more life-altering physical moves than I care to remember during which I lost or misplaced many possessions, it somehow graces a wall in our family room.
I guess this print and I were meant to be together for a lifetime. 🙂
The Arab Tent has become even more meaningful in recent years …
Before Bear arrived in my life I was part-boarding a beautiful grey thoroughbred mare called Murphy. For two years she felt like she was my horse and her owner was happy for me to treat her as such.
In the spring of the second year, Murphy became quite ill. We didn’t know what was wrong with her and for several months she was on-again/off-again with work. By autumn she was dropping weight rapidly and a trip to the equine hospital was in order.
She arrived on a Thursday. Within a day and after several tests she was diagnosed with cancer of the peritoneum (lining of the heart). She was dropping weight by the minute. By Saturday she was dead; euthanized. There was no staying the tide of that terrible disease.
Her loss was devastating to me.
I took two weeks off from riding and then, determined to get back in the saddle, started riding school horses again.
Then, about a month later, my future husband suggested it was time to turn my life-long dream of having a horse into reality.
Three months later Bear entered our lives.
Going back to The Arab Tent for a moment, what amazes me is how prophetic this beautiful piece of art seems ~ like a mysterious foreshadowing of what was going to be.
My experience with the grey mare (Murphy) gave birth to the brown colt (Bear).
Now every time I gaze upon The Arab Tent in my family room, I am reminded of these two beautiful horses that have graced and brought important meaning to my life, and how their coming was, seemingly, pre-destined.
All that remains is for me to view the original of The Arab Tent at The Wallace Collection. I hope that day comes soon.
God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. I’ve experienced enough of life so far to believe this with my whole heart.
You just never know the profound significance of a simple gift.
I’m so glad I remembered this piece of my life and my mother’s role in it.
Thanks for visiting …
©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013