The Horse of Ten Toes

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My boots are crunching on cold dry snow. I’m walking the frozen river, delighted with every curve and bend, starting from a meandering slough where overflow threatens to soak my boots (though snowshoes keep me buoyant) and ending at the wide expanse of river, frozen and deep. A river walk.  Here is where I go to untangle thoughts, oxygenate my lungs, and absorb the natural beauty that meanders through my life-space. The first thing I see when I wake up in the morning are mountains, and a twisting river of snow, the steadying river below.The Horse of Ten Toes

Tazlina River

Feet planted. Nowhere to go, no final destination
Overcome resistance, take
the first steps born to sensation, unsteady.

Right brain, left brain
walking on, walk it out, walk
rhythmic like a graceful poem or slowly
as in one breath.
Inhale lift foot,
exhale, step down and pay attention to your

thoughts that sashay like snowflakes
in the dark liqueur of the mind flowing,
without pause.
Answers to big questions rumble beneath the ice,
above, the shank’s mare hesitates
and stumbles.

Push mountains, lift the sky
scenes unfold with no where to go
no final destination but the
here and now in walking there, where
one step at a time,
movement heals all, and motor-less motion renders
a clearing of the deadfall.

Shank’s mare is derived from the name of the lower part of the leg between the knee and ankle – the shank, today known as the shin-bone or tibia. This expression was once used in an Iowa newspaper, The Dubuque Daily Herald in May 1869:

“A public exhibition of the velocipede (a predecessor of the bicycle) was given on the streets last evening by Mr. Clark, who managed the vehicle with considerable skill.  They are a toy, and will never come into general use in competition with Shank’s mare.” Well, we all know that bicycles are much more than a toy, and a wonderful way to get around under your own power!

I love walking. When I was only 3 years old, we lived in a rented farmhouse a few miles outside of Frankenmuth, Michigan. I used to walk to town with my mother, and I marvel at how far I walked at such a young age. Those walks were the inspiration for my children’s picture book, Carry Me, Mama.

Walking is poetry in motion.

Qali, the Inuit word for snow that sticks to the branches of trees



0 thoughts on “The Horse of Ten Toes”

  1. You carry me along in your words, a special sort of place carved of earth and body warmth. This post holds the rhythm of your walking. If there is an Inuit word for 'blog post that summons the presence of a woman I hope to befriend' that would capture it all.
    I am just putting your post up on right now. Just wanted to see what you are up to today. Thank you for the full report. xoxoox Love, your BlogSister from Escanaba- but in Massachusetts now, Suzi

  2. I love that Suzi…blog sister and fellow Yooper! Nature carries me and never fails; I can always count on her. I am so pleased you tuned in; it is nice to hear your clear and vibrant "voice".

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Welcome to the creative playground of Image, Sculpture, Verse.  I live in a river town nestled in the Chugach Mountain Range of Southcentral Alaska.



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