Photo Challenge: Surprise

Dawdling through chores,
then a dousing in the shower
And rushing to a book event,
I checked the visor-mirror for

hay in my teeth. It was even
better; a coarse white hair
sprouting from my chin, long
enough to pull, too slick to grip.

Aging requires a tolerance
for physical betrayal but gray
mares like me hold hope that
a certain girlhood dream, one

that involved tossing mane
while cantering the living room
in tennis shoes, still might come
true. One whisker at a time.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Speaker, Equine Pro
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(WordPress Photo Challenge is a weekly prompt to share a photo–I enjoy twisting these macro prompts to share our micro life here on the Colorado prairie. I take these photos with my phone, on my farm. No psych, definitely not high-tech.)


Your Valentine, Edgar Rice Burro.


This year our Valentine message is from Edgar Rice Burro. No, don’t be silly. Of course he doesn’t take over my studio and type his profound and uplifting messages with his hooves. That would be impossible for him to do and you’d be crazy to believe it. Besides, he’s much smarter than that. Edgar Rice Burro uses mind control. May we continue?

Edgar has a deep affection for the human species. Some animals think humans have no intellect; that they have no soul, but Edgar disagrees. He thinks humans are trainable. He also thinks they are cute with hats on.

Valentine’s Day is an odd holiday to equines who are not all that into chocolate, but Edgar thinks a holiday about love is okay. There are lots of things he loves: a good dirt bath after a grooming, fresh baby grass in the Spring, a long and sensual ear massage during muck time… but Edgar wants you to remember, equines value respect over love when it comes to partners.

Edgar thinks love is fickle: Right at the beginning, love requires a fall. You know, fall in love? How do you trust something that starts out of balance? And then, love matches can break up, people can take up new love interests, children can think they out-grow your love. You could be taken for granted. Once that happens, assumptions begin to take the place of honest conversation. Worst of all, you could even be abandoned. Nope. Love is not prudent. Not for an equine.

(Dictionary definition of love: an intense feeling of deep affection.)

On the other hand, respect is meaningful, it’s the language of the herd. Respect is based on actual qualities that exist in that other person or equine, like strength or confidence or intelligence. Respect is the link between partners that elevates gimme a carrot to a higher level of communication like how may we work as partners to achieve our mutual goal. It’s a relationship that gets stronger in face of the challenges of the real world. Respect is the very foundation of civilization to an equine because it defines the hierarchy of the herd and that equals everyone’s safety and security. Respect finds roots in something more substantial than a particularly loveable set of long ears. (Although Edgar certainly has those as well.)

(Dictionary definition of respect: to admire someone or something deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements; a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way.)

Donkeys are the moral compass of any barn. If you don’t think so, lend Edgar your insignificantly small (no offense) ears and reconsider. A strong sense of right and wrong is crucial in a relationship. He would argue that knowing right from wrong is more important than the actions that follow. For instance, Edgar knows it’s wrong to open the gate and break out all the horses. It’s a conscious decision, done with full awareness. You never get a whiny excuse like “I didn’t know we were rationing alfalfa…” or “It isn’t my fault, the Grandfather Horse made me do it…”  The moral compass donkey says with blunt honesty, “Of course I did it, I’m the only one smart enough to know how the clip works and the only one with a prehensile lip that can manage to do it.” See? You don’t have to agree with him, but you do need to respect him.

Edgar says humans are such dreamers and although us equines have always loved our human’s dreams, that only goes so far. Living the dream means mutual respect. You have to show me the respect of acknowledging me and my quirks if the dream is to become real. Your dream is not all about you. The first step is to remember that every living entity deserves respect.

So, if you are wondering what your equine would like this Valentine’s day, Edgar Rice Burro suggests some honest respect. Take time to acknowledge the traits you most admire and reflect in each other: Confident generosity, a sense of humor, and a commitment to positive partnership. Honor his/your strength and amazing capabilities and respect his/your personality and limitations, as well.

After the important stuff, if there is some affection that needs expressing Edgar says he loves apples best.

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.

Edgar Rice Burro, Bon Vivant.

I think we all knew it was only a matter of time.

Edgar wanted me to wait to make this announcement, until after the award show season (Oscars, Golden Globes, etc.) He didn’t want to steal the thunder from his friends. (Best Ass in a Supporting Role- it isn’t one of the on-camera presentations.)

Newsflash: Our own Edgar Rice Burro is will be making his theatrical debut this spring.  You could consider it off-off-off-Broadway.

We could not be more proud of him. And at the same time, you had to expect that it was going to happen- donkeys like Edgar just naturally rise to the top. Edgar has had a cult following for years.

As a public service, I have been asked to say a few words about Edgar, in an attempt to de-mystify his rather iconic persona and control the number of paparazzi helicopters flying over, waking up the goats at all hours.

Here goes: Handsome, most obviously, but beneath this athletic, viral surface there is so much more!

Naturally Edgar is a very interested in philosophy. It is not at all unusual to see him gazing with a Zen-like peace, while thinking deep, soulful thoughts. He is very out-spoken verbally, holding forth with ageless donkey yodels- Edgar sings the blues.  He prescribes to the time honored hippie traditions of communal living and sharing your good fortune with friends.

He is very conservative in his personal habits however. He holds his hairs and doesn’t begin to shed until after the very last freeze of late spring. He frequently worries that he might be over-dressed and would opt for a plain gray suit, if it were available. His nose is multilingual, including some dialects dating from prehistoric time.

Edgar likes children, cats, old horses, and pretty much anything that moves slowly. But he does find dogs a bit loud and abrasive. His favorite color is green- grass green.

Edgar has theatrical experience, of course. He and I did a bit of costumed performance art to Elvis’s Are You Lonesome Tonight? It is certainly the high point of my theatrical life. 

Edgar’s acting style is frequently compared to George Clooney with an easy grace- so comfortable in his skin. Like many actors, Edgar is a bit shy in real life, humble about his leading man good looks, and his Mensa membership. Edgar prefers speak for himself about his political opinions.

What is on the horizon for Edgar? I can’t tell all, but Steven Spielberg has been on the phone with Edgar. He is filming a sequel to WARHORSE, about rebuilding people’s lives after the war. Talks are going slow, Streep is demanding Edgar, she wont take no for an answer. Edgar refuses to fly and is concerned the availability of a good ear massage in England.  Spielberg is willing to build the white cliffs of Dover and several other London sets, all in our south pasture, if Edgar will agree to star. Writers are scrambling to add a part for Fred, the duck. Negotiations continue.

PEACEDONKEY hopes to start filming this summer.

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.