Getaway

Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap

What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?

~*~

Hmmm … just when I’m day dreaming about getting away.

I have many dream vacations, and all involve places I’ve been or things I’ve done before.

Cariage trade in Vienna
Carriage trade in Vienna

I dream of returning to Prague and Vienna, and adding to that Budapest to complete that classic cultural triangle. My husband and I have discussed doing a river cruise and somehow integrating these three cities into such a trip. That would be awesome.

London and Paris are on my re-bucket list ~ I grew up in London so would like another chance to see it through adult eyes, and Paris needs more time. The week we spent there in 2008 simply wasn’t enough. I would also explore more of the English and French countryside.

The Villa
The villa we rented in Tuscany

Italy, of course, is high on my list. Last year we lived the dream of renting a villa in Tuscany for a week. I would do that again in a heart beat, but for a month this time. And I would return to Florence, Venice, Rome and Milan. I would love to see Lake Como.

View of Barcelona from the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
View of Barcelona from the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Barcelona, of course, I would love to see again. Last time I was there I was under the weather with adrenal fatigue which made it really difficult to take it all in. I would love to experience it through clearer eyes. And explore the Spanish countryside as well, Perhaps find some Andalusian horses to photograph somewhere.

Ireland! Oh my goodness, I would love to return to the Emerald Isle. We were there three weeks in 2011 and it was amazing. Next time I want a month and to include Northern Ireland (we missed that last time) and more time on the Atlantic coast. And to stay in manor houses and castles again. That was fun.

Irish Pastoral
Emerald Isle

Scotland, too. Yes, that’s high on my list of vacation priorities. Inverness where much of my Scottish ancestry is to be found, in particular.

Warmer climates? Certainly. I’ve never been to Arizona or New Mexico. I think that would be fun. So many warm colours, and art; so much turquoise and cowboy culture. Wyoming, though not necessarily warmer has mountains. I’d like to see Jackson Hole.

Hawaii’s on the list, in spite of the fact there was a tsunami warning the last time we visited. That was special. But it’s so beautiful there so worth another go.

Beautiful America Bay in New South Wales, Australia
Beautiful America Bay in New South Wales, Australia

I’d return to Australia. Do more exploring than the last time when my experience was akin to that of Barcelona.

Mostly right now I just need to get away.

I think I hear an Ontario spa calling …

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Weary Waking

Daily Prompt: First Light

Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it.

~*~

No rhyme nor reason

To night’s restless sleep,

Tossing and turning.

Shroud of weary waking

Weighs upon me heavily,

Slumber’s dreams drowned

In ether and remembered no more.

T’will be a quiet day.

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

The Dream Made Real

Daily Prompt: Do or Die

~*~

The Greeting

~*~

When my horse entered my life nearly nine years ago I was at a low point. The mare I’d been part-boarding for two years had died of cancer three months before; I’d lost my job 12 months earlier and I was floundering. Fortunately, my astute partner (now husband) suggested it was, perhaps, time I had my own horse; that my long-held dream come true.

I was speechless. I’d ridden most of my life and always dreamed of having a horse to call my own. And now it was coming true?

Once I’d been assured it was, we started horse shopping ~ a crap shoot if ever there was one. Still, to narrow the search I wrote down a list of what constituted my dream horse. By candidate #4 I’d found my match.

It was one of those moments out of the blue. A complete stranger told me of a Hanoverian horse breeder she knew who had, according to the criteria I’d shared, the perfect horse for me.

“Don’t make a decision until you’ve looked at this boy,” she told me.

An appointment was made and days later we drove the two hours to meet him. He was everything I wanted: four years old, dark bay, over 16 hands, schooled in dressage, and had a great temperament. I rode him. We clicked. We checked back a week later. Still a good match. A pre-purchase exam was arranged. He passed with flying colours.

The dream made real, this horse was mine. I had stewardship over the one thing I’d ever wanted ~ a horse to call my own.

The confirmation he was the one for me? His registered name: “Shakespeare.” I’m a writer. He is my muse and equine therapist.

He stays where he is!

(299 words)

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

 

 

 

Night Terror(ist)

Night Light

~*~

Lights out …

Lurking,

Shadow dweller.

Haunting and predatory.

In the night

You cross the boundary.

Advance.

Faceless, but not

Formless.

Familiar.

Menacing.

Paralysis overwhelms.

Screams,

But no sound.

Terror’s creep keeps creeping.

Shallow, my breath.

*

{Breathe.}

*

Thoughts form.

{Be different.}

Words speak.

Low. Monotone.

Controlled, somehow.

“What do you want?”

I ask.

Silence.

Again.

“What do you want?”

Hovering o’er me,

Your whispered, jumbled words

Confuse; are

Meaningless.

Not even you are sure

Why it is you haunt

Me.

Silence.

“No …”

I say, calm.

Silence, then

A shift.

“I’m sorry,”

You say, contrite.

Your words surprise.

My breath then caught

By your tender,

Unexpected kiss

Upon my cheek

As you retreat.

Gone ~

Forever into the shadows.

Silence.

Lights on …

{Breathe}

~*~

This seems rather dark following my last post.

However without this, I hope, final dream-state encounter with the Night Terror(ist) who has haunted me at various times of my life and driven me to waking up in a full blown panic, my previous post What Changed? would not exist.

Thanks for stopping by …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

A Simple Message

This post is written in response to a challenge offered by Lana of Living with Post Concussion Syndrome. Please take a moment to visit her inspiring blog.

The challenge: What Dreams Are Made Of … For this writing event, share a dream or two that’s had a great effect ~ even after waking.

~*~

Full moon

I always pay attention to my night time dreams. I write them down. Review the more dynamic ones with my therapist to find the meaning and application to my life. The subconscious has a lot to say and I want to know what it is.

There have been a few times in my life ~ when I was at my most distressed, as it happens ~ when my dreams have actually proven to be of some comfort.

The first one I recall occurred when I was 12 years old.

I was staying at my grandmother’s at the time and one night had gone to bed quite distressed. A much anticipated trip to a farm to see horses and make a new friend had been cancelled at the last minute by my second cousin who had arranged the excursion. Her husband wasn’t able to go so they’d decided to postpone and arrange to go another time.

I was grief-stricken, sobbing myself to sleep on the couch that served as my bed for the two months of that summer at granny’s trailer home. Inconsolable, actually. Burdened heavily by my life in survival mode (though I didn’t know it at the time) I looked at the chance to be with horses, and maybe even ride, as an escape from the unhappy circumstances in which I found myself.

During the night, a dream. Nothing elaborate. A simple message. An angel, it seems to me, appeared as an ethereal, comforting presence and a gentle voice spoke the words “everything will be alright.”

The next morning I awoke feeling much better; my heart lighter. I recall getting off the couch and going over to my grandmother, who was making breakfast in the galley kitchen, and telling her about my dream and how I felt that everything would, indeed, be okay.

Within moments the telephone rang. Granny answered. It was for me.

It was my cousin. She had changed her mind. We were going to the farm after all. Her husband could go another time.

To this young distraught girl it was a total miracle. Just as the voice in my dream had spoken, everything was going to be alright.

We did go to the farm. I did spend time with, and ride, the horses. And I met a girl the same age whose friendship I would enjoy until several years later when life got in the way.

It has occurred to me since that my grandmother, realizing how distraught I was by the change of plans, may have called my cousin after I went to bed and asked her to reconsider. And that it might have been her standing over me in the night, the angel that she was, with a reassuring voice telling me everything was going to be okay.

It doesn’t matter how it transpired. I have never forgotten those gentle and oh, so important words ~ words that have comforted, guided and consoled ever since, during times of sorrow, grief, uncertainty and pain. At times that simple message was the only thing I had to hold on to, giving me the strength and the understanding to know that whatever happened I would be fine.

In recent years I have come to admire the supremely talented Canadian singer/songwriter Jacob Moon who, a few years ago, penned a song called, believe it or not, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” When I first heard it I was reduced to tears by its simple melody and moving words. Jacob had put to music the song in my heart. Now whenever I hear it I am moved to remember that moment, long ago, when a simple message comforted the heart of a distraught young girl. Words I continue to lean on as my life unfolds and realize that in my trials I am not alone.

Here’s a link to Jacob Moon performing “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” via YouTube. Please take a moment to listen and hear the beautiful words.

Thanks for visiting. And thank you, Lana, for the opportunity to share this special moment from my life …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Resurrection

 Lambs in Spring

Little white balls of beautiful fluff,

Bouncing and prancing and that kind of stuff.

Baaing and whimpering here and there

Sometimes they’ll do nothing but stop and stare.

Crying for mother on a lovely spring day,

Mother comes running; decides to stay.

Bounding and twisting round and round,

Looking for something no other lamb’s found.

~*~

This is the first poem I remember writing.

I was 10 years old at the time and my form teacher at school had issued a challenge during an English lesson to write a poem for spring. It would have been this time of year, in fact.

I wrote it. Handed it in.

A few days later the teacher was distributing the marks and asking some of us to read our poems to the class.

On my paper he’d written “Very Good!” but in front of the class he asked me, “Are you sure you didn’t copy this from somewhere?”

I was a tender and insecure child being raised in a broken home and in the shadow of my mother’s operatic glory. To have the light shone on me at all was difficult enough but to be accused, perhaps even in jest, that the work I’d handed in was not my own totally mortified me. I defended myself, of course, and he seemed to accept it, but I have never forgotten how ill it made me feel to have someone question my integrity as a writer.

I know this poem by memory. To me it is one of my greatest early writing achievements. If I ever publish a proper book of my best poems this will have pride of place on the first page.

All other writing has sprung from this creative moment. It was the first time I saw myself as a writer and, ironically, the first time (and hopefully the last time) I was accused of plagiarism.

There was a huge gap of time before I was able to see myself as a writer in adulthood. Though I kept journals and occasionally wrote poetry I had disassociated when I was growing up so pursuing dreams and cultivating my talents was beyond my comprehension or ability.

It wasn’t until a kindly woman, my boss at the time, gave me a good, swift kick in the proverbial derriere (I was in my late 20s) that I began to awaken from my deep creative malaise and see myself as a writer, perhaps for the first time. I was working as her administrative assistant in the corporate relations department of a real estate association, and she saw something in me she thought needed cultivating. However, she had to threaten to fire me before I was able to wake up enough to see it myself.

This incredible woman waded through the muck of my unconsciousness to find something long hidden and almost lost, and gave me the opportunity to reclaim it. She taught me how to build an employee newsletter ~ research, write, edit, produce. It started at four pages and, as I got the hang of it, quickly grew to eight pages. Circulation about 150. I learned quickly and loved doing it. In time I was promoted to Editor of the association newsletter ~ a weekly publication circulated to more than 25,000 realtors in the Greater Toronto Area.

I suppose I share this to demonstrate the difference people can make in our lives, and to demonstrate that if we can only get out of our own way we might resurrect an important piece of our life puzzle.

Had my school teacher been more supportive and understood me and my life situation better he might not have been so free with his accusation and I might have had more confidence to pursue this obvious talent. There was no one at home to do this, so left to my own devices, confused and with nowhere to turn, my only alternative was to let it go. Even as a child it hurt too much to have my integrity questioned.

But, as I’ve learned, it takes just one person to see potential and show you what’s possible for you to start believing in yourself. And, as I am learning again in these middle years while pursuing a long-lost equestrian dream with a new coach, this can happen at any time in your life.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections

 

 

 

 

Solo

Mrs. Cardinal

Solo

Upon her comfort

Perch she sits,

Gazing out to

Horizons golden-

Veiled, and longing

For the gilt touch

Upon her furrowed brow.

Not so far, the flight ~

But, ah, so

Alone.

The nest now but empty,

A cagéd prison

Of her untested fear.

But, the sun ~

The sun does so beckon

And the warmth

Upon her back

Would be so fine.

Thou agéd wings unfold,

Perchance the light upon this

Solo flight to shine.

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014 

What If?

Prompted by Kellie Elmore’s #Free Write Friday

fwf

What If?

What if? What if? What if?

Looking back from here to there

It is a redundant question.

Looking forward from there to here

A different one altogether.

The past cannot be changed.

I am my past,

The good and bad of it

In a bundle of sorrow

And joy. I cannot

Change what was; but I can

Change how I look at it;

How it effects me.

As for the future?

I shall not should myself

To death, nor shall I

Immerse myself in the

Torment of hoping

For what can

Never be.

But, I shall state

At life’s crossroads

“I won’t look back and

Ask ‘What if?’.”

As long as I follow my

Heart these two

Little words need

Never from

My lips

Trip.

~*~

Recently I made a major decision to move my horse to another barn.

The process of deliberation did include “What if?” but it was more in terms of “I don’t want to be looking back 10 years from now and asking ‘What if?'”

This actually made the decision a lot easier. Who wants to live with regret at an opportunity lost? Certainly not I. I know what that’s like and it’s taken some time for me to let go of that negative way of being.

At this stage of my life making mindful decisions is more important than ever.

Being mindful of my horse’s needs as well as my own was an important part of the decision process. His physical and emotional care are paramount. He’s been well cared for where he is and I have no dispute with it.

Me and BearBut, after nearly eight years for him and 13 years for me of being in the same place, it’s time for a change. Time to see life differently. Time for new perspectives and input and friends.

I am really happy with my choice to move Bear to this new farm. He will be well cared for and I will be one step closer to my dressage dreams. Our world will expand in wonderful ways and I’m really looking forward to it.

I am certain that 10 years from now I will not be looking back and asking “What if?”

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music … The Music in Me

Pipes

Music moves me every day. Sometimes in subtle ways; sometimes the emotion of it is almost more than I can hold.

It depends on the day … and on the piece of music.

The Weekly Writing Challenge has asked us to write about being moved by music. This is a challenge for me as much of my life has been moved and shaped by lots of different kinds of music. In this post I can only touch on a few things.

I love how music lives in us forever

As I negotiate the middle years it amazes me how the memory of a moment from my past, and all the feelings that go with it, can be triggered by a simple melody and a few memorable words.

I don’t understand the science behind hit. All I know is that the music (as well as books, movies, etc.) we absorb lives with us forever. It is a powerful emotive force that can build up or, tear down. Like all living things it has its good, bad and ugly. It is why I am so careful about what I tune into. These vibrations colour my life forever.

Lately, I’m finding myself downloading from iTunes songs I’ve heard on the 70s satellite radio channel. “Oh, I remember that song!” And I sing along as if no time has passed, the words and vocal nuance as alive in me today as they were 35 years ago. I tuck the tune in the forefront of my memory band for replay whenever the spirit moves. I am 15 again.

1977 seems to be a key year. Hotel California (The Eagles); Dance with Me (Orleans); Reminiscing (Little River Band) and, of course, many, many more. Their music was a panacea for me at a difficult time. I don’t focus on the angst. I focus on the melodic turn; the harmonic counterpoint; the catchy words, and smile.

Though I loved the popular songs of the day, I was raised in a home glowing with classical music. All through my formative years, my mother was a soprano on the international stage, with a base at the English National Opera in London’s West End. Opera was the music culture I grew up in. Rock was my rebellion.

I made my own operatic debut at the tender age of five in the children’s chorus of the Canadian Opera Company’s 1967 production of Harry Somer’s Louis Riel. I might have had a music career of my own were it not for a series of unfortunate events that quickly followed, including my parents’ divorce and our move to London. Mine was not a happy childhood.

I was a child lost in shadows.

Later in life, however, I found my own venues for musical expression.

I’ve always loved music that begged me to go fishing

In the rock genre Genesis, Pink Floyd, and the Eagles provided lots of opportunity to dig deep for the incidental lines, or hum along with a rhythmic bass. I loved singing along with the Eagles’ harmonies. I’ve always loved the harmonic line.

I loved the blending of voices creating layered depths of beautiful uplifting sound. My dream was to sing in a large choral ensemble.

I started in church choirs. I had some training (grade V piano and some theory), but it was my natural musicality that always saw me through. Though I can read music I’m terrible with the numbers behind it all. Math was never my strong suit, so I learned a lot by feel. After all these years I still don’t get how a time signature works. I’m a feeling singer. I can’t explain it.

Still, at the age of  27, and after years of slogging it out in church choirs, I finally had my chance to audition for a large choral ensemble. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Canada’s premier large choral ensemble, was looking for singers to join its ranks.

I’d done few auditions in my life. Growing up in a shadow makes it painful to step into the light. But after humming and hawing for a couple of days I finally concluded “If not now, when?” Did I really want to live to regret a step not taken just because I was afraid of it? I didn’t want to look back 10 years later and wonder “What if?”

So, with some coaching from my mother I prepared the set soprano audition piece  (Rejoice Greatly from Handel’s Messiah) and gave it my best shot.

I’d never acted so confident in my life. Elmer Iseler, the Choir’s conductor at the time, was a larger than life character, yet somehow I felt at ease. Perhaps it was my nothing-to-lose attitude that saw me through. I struggled with the sight reading test (never my strong suit); nailed the ear tests and delivered the aria with relative confidence. Even if  I received a rejection letter six weeks later I at least had given myself the thrill of the chase.

The letter arrived. “Congratulations on being welcomed into the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir for its 1989/90 season.” Talk about being moved.

I sang in the Choir for 12 years, re-auditioning every year. It was the standard requirement of all returning choristers and it never got any easier. Unless life got in the way everyone wanted to come back for the next season. No one wanted to be released because the conductor didn’t think they had the pipes anymore.

I’ll never forget my first rehearsal

The rehearsal venue at Roy Thomson Hall was filled to capacity with 180 singers all set out in their respective sections ~ Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass. The great curtain of sound descended first with the singing of Godfrey Ridout’s thrilling arrangement of O Canada, followed in short order by the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah ~ and this was just the warm-up.

If the purpose of starting with these two iconic pieces was to blow the new-comers away, it succeeded. It was overwhelming to the point of tears. There I was, nestled in the soprano section with the altos singing from across the room, and the basses and tenors booming beside me. A vast, warm melange of vocal harmony enveloped me.

Pure magic.

With each rehearsal I found myself more enthralled. That I should be part of such an experience was incredible to me. I recall all the happy, studious, joyous faces eager to make beautiful music together. One hundred and eighty men and women from various walks of life, of various political and religious stripes, leaving their differences behind and moving each other, and audiences, through the great choral masterworks. Beautiful, heart warming, rapturous, uplifting, life affirming, glorious music.

The journey to performance was a veritable roller coaster ride. Studious exasperation during difficult passages. (The roller coaster runs in any Bach work come to mind, or anything exposed in a cappella). Relief when we got it right. The scratching of pencil lead across the page as we all made notations ~ lines through edited passages; circles around difficult notes; changes in vocal colour, tempo; switches from one vocal line to another ~ all things designed by the conductor to convey to us, his instrument, the vision he had for a particular work.

Consider Messiah, for instance

During my 12-year tenure with the Choir we worked with many esteemed conductors all of whom had their own interpretation of how Messiah should sound. Large orchestra or chamber orchestra. Up tempo and sprightly, or profoundly slower and stately. We even performed the Mozart version. Choruses were included and excluded according to the considered whim of the conductor.

And then there were the up-stands and the down-sits. One conductor might want us to stand in an appropriate moment several bars ahead of the upbeat of a particular chorus, while another preferred us to rise to the occasion with only notes to spare.

Every season a new set of notes scribbled over the erasure marks of an old set. For many in the Choir, including myself, Messiah was such old hat we welcomed a new conductor’s interpretation just to keep us sharp. (No pun intended.) 😉

I had the same score for 12 years and sang the work in more than 60 performances. When I left the Choir and returned my score to the librarian it was like parting with an old friend.

Universal language

Music is, of course, a universal language that speaks to us all. One of the great challenges of performing the great masterworks is singing in a variety of languages.

It is a privilege, I feel, to experience the beauty of language through music. Even the English language takes on a delicious flavour when peppered with notes in a choral feast.

I loved singing in Latin. It’s such a lyrical language and wraps around the notes so easily. The requiem masses were mostly in Latin. Among my favourites are the requiems of Mozart, Verdi and FauréBrahms’ gorgeous requiem is in German.

Other languages we tackled frequently included French, Russian and, occasionally, Czech.

To move our audiences through music and word was an incredible feeling.

Perhaps some of the most memorable moments occurred when we performed a capella. Keeping such a large choir tuned while performing without instrumental support is no mean feat. It’s incredibly stressful, in fact. However, it’s also magical. The washes of vocal sound so potent; so powerful that sometimes it was all I could do to stay focused on the music and not trip in a puddle of rapturous emotion.

Among my favourites: The Rachmaninov Vespers particularly the Ave Maria; Henry Purcell’s Hear My Prayer, O Lord; C.V Stanford’s Beati Quorum Via, and Morten Lauridsen’s divine O Magnum Mysterium. Listening to these lovely pieces makes me so wistful for my choral days.

I miss singing this beautiful music, but it’s not where my life is right now. So, I allow it to reach me through listening, and that must be enough.

To close, I’ll leave you with The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in rehearsal under the direction of their current conductor, Noel Edison, singing Eric Whitacre’s divine Lux Aurumque a piece, regrettably, I never had a chance to sing.

I know classical music, or even choral music, is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it lives on in my heart and continues to colour my life in so many beautiful and uplifting ways. It will continue to do so until my days are done.

If you have read this through to the end, thank you. I have had fun reliving some music moments that have moved me. Now you might have a sense of how music has shaped my life. And this isn’t even the half of it … 😉

If you have listened to any of the links I’ve furnished here, please comment on how they might have moved you.

Thank you for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Others Moved by Music

  1. Return To Planet Claire | Nitty Gritty Dirt Man
  2. When You Need to Drown Out The Noise | My Days In A Song
  3. Drown it Out In A Good Tune | My Days In A Song
  4. Moved by Music » Kryson’s Kreations
  5. How the music sounds: Then and Now (With a nod to The Roches). | Jaye’s Brain
  6. cooking & culture |
  7. Bill Evans and the Real | cheri grissom
  8. What a Wonderful World | The Crone’s Apprentice
  9. 1989 | Ramblings of a Creative Mind
  10. Music, Inducing Words | tuckedintoacorner
  11. Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music | Writing Canvas
  12. Songs of Innocence and Experience* | Menomama3’s Blog
  13. Music…and a New Adventure | Lori’s Life and Other Stuff
  14. Chasing Down My Memory Lane | Your Smile is Priceless
  15. My love will fly to you each night… Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) | betweenfearandlove
  16. Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music | Nola Roots, Texas Heart
  17. Addicted To Love | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  18. Music as a Medium for Communication | melodymo
  19. Discovering Serenity with Gheorghe Zamfir’s “The Lonely Shepherd” | SIM | ANTICS
  20. Bead of Jade | Duo Tell

#FWF Reprise: Childhood Gift … The Arab Tent by Henry Landseer

Free writing is a great exercise and a little more challenging when the memory is involved.

free-write-friday-kellie-elmoreAs 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.

The Arab Tent

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.

MurphyIn 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).

A kissI get goosebumps just thinking of it.

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

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013