Birthday Presence

The Chinese new year just began, and according to the reports I read, this is the year of the wooden horse, which reminded me again of Tony Boy, the gift my parents made for me when I was a child and which I wrote about in my last post.

Tony Boy

Yesterday that was still on my mind when I spent the better part of an hour walking quietly along with a small group of wild horses near the Lower Salt River as they grazed.  Small and a bit scruffy, they are wild in the sense they do not belong to anyone and freely roam the wilderness but are obviously used to the presence of humans.

The little stallion pictured below especially caught my eye as he appears to be Tony Boy in flesh.


He munched happily on shoots of green grass growing under mesquite trees in the loamy soil along the river and seemed to accept me as part of his herd.


What a lovely gift to receive on my birthday while my husband fished downstream.


There have been other gifts:

a desert rainbow,


a phainopepla, a silky flycatcher which looks like a shiny black cardinal,


a common raven providing a dramatic silhouette against blue sky.


Being outside–with sky and mountains and water, in the presence of horses and birds–soothes me to my depths.

What blessings.

*                                             *                                        *

Writing Practice:

What soothes you to your depths?

What childhood toys still hold meaning and memories for you today?

12 thoughts on “Birthday Presence

  1. Love your horse in the flesh. What a great Bday celebration from Mother Earth. Doesn’t get any better, Chris, does it? Namaste

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Happy Birthday! How wonderful that the world is offering you such perfect presents…and your heart and eyes notice with joy. Glad you were born as you are a gift in my life!

  3. Chris, so happy you could celebrate your birthday in such beauty and wildness! Your Tony Boy reminds me of my Barbie (yes, we grew up in very different environments 🙂 In particular, I still fondly remember my Barbie’s wardrobe that my Mama painstakingly sewed…probably 20 outfits. It was a few months before the Christmas when I was 8 or 9 years old and Mama worked on those tiny clothes day & night. She told me she was making them for my cousin and I was so envious! Then that Christmas morning I opened a large gift box from my Mama and found all those little outfits for MY Barbie. I was so happy to have them…but even then I realized the true gift was the many hours my Mama devoted to making them. And I still cry just a bit when I think of that priceless present. Thanks for helping me recall that sweet memory, Chris.

  4. The most meaningful thing to me wasn’t a toy, it was a tape recording my mom made of her reading my favorite books to me. She recently gave my son Rex the 2014 version of this–a book with her recording built right in, with buttons to press to hear her read each page aloud. I still remember pressing “Play” on my brown Fisher Price tape recorder and reading along with my mom, and it’s wonderful to imagine Rex doing the same thing.

    • This brings a smile to my face, Rachel, to imagine your beautiful little boy with his own books. I remember when you were in high school, and we discovered a common love for the children’s book The Best Nest. Your mother had read it to you and I had read it to my own daughter. You and I sang to each other our versions of the song: “I love my house, I love my nest, In all the world, this nest is best.” What gifts you have to share with Rex; he’s a lucky little guy. Hugs to you both.

  5. You had your Tony Boy and I had my Pretty Boy. Kerry Lynn told me it sounded like a name for a parrot, but I didn’t care. I had many wonderful days riding that little pony. You live in a beautiful place, full of peace and wonder. You still look the same too, sweet girl. I am glad you are happy and that your birthday was so special. Thanks for sharing your day with us. Your friend, Debbie Sears.

    • Debbie, you have made my day. How wonderful to hear from you! I have thought of you and your family so many times. You had a profound influence on me when we were young. It doesn’t seem like so long ago! Thank you for connecting with me and for your kind comments. I think we all live in a beautiful place on this earth, full of peace and wonder, if we take time to notice. Wishing you much happiness!

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