Search This Blog


The Rider

The Rider

The Rider

After I took this photo, when I stared into the shadows, I saw what appeared to be the image of a person riding a horse, a jumper. Of course, within photographs or paintings, I see what most resonates with me. Art is painfully introspective, indeed.

My whole life, I rode hunter/jumpers. Later, I did it professionally (and always rather obsessively, I might add), and it's still deep, deep within my spirit -- the farms, the fields, the students, the horses, the sound of the farrier pulling down the drive, the exact weight of one bale of hay, the look and feel of the land at dusk. I don't think I'll ever shake it; the life and times with these four-legged creatures are ingrained in every ounce of little me. And I know that this part of my life will continue to call out to me, as it has since I was eight years old.

Don't we all have scenes, loves, memories that beckon us? I believe that as human beings, we are drawn to certain environments and other people who will best teach us life lessons about our soul's purpose.

In 2008, I took a break from the horse world and since then, there have been many times when I've taken small farm jobs and considered getting back into it full force, but each time I return to the barns, I realize that over the years, like everything else, the horse world has drastically changed, and I have changed as well. Some farms maintain the "old school," family-like, inclusive feel, but they're few and far between.

My best memories include the five years when I worked with a boss who pretty much allowed me to make most of the farm decisions, especially when he was out of town showing. He "gave me the reins," so to speak. He knew that I was already hard on myself, that no extra encouragement was necessary. And he also wanted what was best for me; he was constantly giving me new horses, new projects, keeping my world interesting, giving me encouragement, plans, and goals. As a result, an environment of trust, respect, and commitment grew. Of course, there were challenges, tests, and difficulties but overall, there was a spirit of working calm. I believe that most people blossom when a boss allows them the freedom to explore his/her individual talents. As in film and television, it's all about the genius casting. Both in the horse world and in other fields, I haven't been able to duplicate this fit in my job search. Yet.

Perhaps someday, I'll be able to simply ride for fun or have my own small farm, one where I can make the decisions. Deep down, I suppose I have childlike dreams of this. Or perhaps I won't ever do it again -- nope, not at all. No matter. See, it isn't really about the outsides -- the jobs, the "uniforms," whatever the role may be. It's about me learning about me. And over time, in the guise of the horse world, I learned about winning, losing, teaching, working with numerous diverse clients, managing employees, being an employee, and finally, how I wished to be treated then, and how I wish to be treated now -- with respect, integrity, and truth. And this is what I wish for the others. And this is what I wish for the beautiful beasts.

Whether I ride or don't ride, I carry these lessons with me, and it is all good, all right. I am not hell-bent on much these days, other than the desire to feel love, give love, and emit peace. There is nothing wrong with being Champion at the horse show. It's a "hell yes" celebration of hard work and passion. There is nothing wrong with winning. Winning is badass. But what comes next? Dinner. Don't forget to feed the hay and grain, to take care of the creatures. And when succeeding, if I look around and see who is still there close to me, I know who supports me in becoming my best. And I remind myself to try to make each and every one of them smile, because they are the people who got me there.

Soul mates celebrate our wins, and when we lose, they support us on the journey back. These are the ones who make us want to grow into our full, true selves. Or as Oprah put it, "That's true love when you want to be better for the other person." It isn't a competition. We're all equal riders on a journey to wholeness.

C.A. MacConnell


Photo: Special Kind

Special Kind

I dig this. This shot felt like a special kind of love. XO,
C.A. MacConnell

They revived her. Merrily.

The first line is the title in this poem. Have a good day. I can't wait to walk through the trees. <3, C.A.

They revived her. Merrily,

the middle-aged actress,
reappeared from her trip
to the emergency room.
Handsome Dillon. Covered
in tattoos, he was marked
with the perfect sleeves.
He had a wife and children.
The dog still barks for him
at six o'clock. Flawless Carly
once hitched a ride to rehab.
Next to her, Aaron, the lean
machine, had a seizure --
not one, but two. Fourteen
years ago, they kissed

-- C.A. MacConnell


What People Really Mean

So I was taking a walk, pondering things:
haha, what an awful face, but I really was pondering. So I came up with this list. Just wanted to make sure you all are clear on some things. Here goes...

What People Really Mean

1. You're looking better. (This means you looked like shit this whole past year and maybe even the year before that one).
2. You're glowing. (You look sweaty, did you come from the gym again)?
3. You look healthy. (Could mean that you really are glowing, or could mean you're puffy and bloated from that sodium-packed fake spaghetti frozen meal you had the night before).
4. You don't have those bags under your eyes like you did. (See number one).
5. You are still single? (Might as well get some more cats and write your will while you're at it).
6. Looks like you're eating your veggies. (You look greenish-orange, and your ass is like a turnip).
7. Wow, you're fit. (As in, the last time they saw you, you were hanging loose all the hell over the place).
8. You're handsome. (If you're a man, this is great. Sometimes, if you're a woman, this is great, and other times, it's confusing).
9. You look sharp. (Can't go wrong with this one, in my opinion, unless the person is wearing a Phish t-shirt and it's total BS).
10. You look like a movie star. (Really depends on the character they're referring to; that is, you could be a lover, a mom on crack, a cowboy, a fish, a heavyweight champion, a corrupt sausage, or maybe even Jabba the Hutt, but I'd say, whether male or female, this is a complement, as I wouldn't even mind being compared to a hot dog bun).
11. You wrote three novels, wow. So, are you still looking for work? (This means that writing isn't work, but it's more like eating candy corn, and it's as easy as wiping your ass).
12. Didn't you know you had to go before you went in the woods? (Someone is annoyed with your urinary tract and becomes codependently worried that the problem might include #2).
13. I'd like to try yoga sometime, maybe. (This means they hate yoga, but they think the teacher is smokin').
13 1/2. I'd really like to try yoga. (This means they really think the teacher is smokin').
14. I'd like to take a walk. (This means a leisurely stroll, not a power session with weights, flames, and heavy breathing involved).
15. I like to hike. (This also means a leisurely stroll).
16. I do training for triathlons. (No lie. Do not mess with these people).
17. I love Halloween. (Most people love the idea of it, and they say "I love Halloween" to be cool, but then there are a select few who say "I love Halloween" while they're decorating the house with cobwebs, blow-up witches, silly string, and airplane-sized spiders while wearing a skin tight skull suit, making a bowl full of olives/eyeballs, and forcing the kids to wear matching pirate outfits for the next month).

Love, (This means I love you, readers! Thank you for visiting my site and supporting my art).
C.A. MacConnell

Photo: When Light Breaks Through

It's the little things, like that moment when light breaks through.
C.A. MacConnell


Photo: We Version

We Version

Night night,

C.A. MacConnell

Full Length Mirror

She's on her personal, makeshift cat
walk -- it's her body
the hang-it-on-the-door bedroom mirror,
and if she tilts it,
and the carpet is the wonder of ugly...fat...
flat in places,
bulging in others,
and she isn't wiry or unique,
and the belly...just...plain
but still worse are the thighs --
wait --
she could tear her fucking face off
and live

C.A. MacConnell


Photo: Sneaky


Ha. This week, I've been into blurry, grainy b/w...more like real film with strange exposures. I love b/w film. Lately, the ones I've taken look more like drawings, in a way. Indeed, I have no technical skill/training with photography...I just go by what I see and feel, and I try to capture the subtleties in things; I hope you like the shots. Recently I checked out The Weather Channel's photo contest, and those suckers are amazing. More of the "shock value" kind. Humbling. Mine are sneaky, only to be appreciated by the geniuses of the world, ha. Or those who do not have the proper tools. Right on. I make art for people such as those builders who don't own a hammer.

Hells yeah. Bow down.

Just having some fun with some other art and fuckin' around while I'm waiting on some things with my latest book. Trying, hoping, praying, walking, listening, paying attention to Kylin the cat. That's my life. I keep saying he's 17 years old, and I've decided I will never change his age. Forever 17. The photo isn't Kylin. It's Bart, a cat I was watching for a li'l bit.

Anyway, exciting, I know.

Got to see the British Arrow Awards on the Showboat Majestic (see pic below). They were all right, but not the best I've seen. I was kinda "iffy" on it. The Oscar Shorts are my favorite CWC event, for sure. Never miss that.

Hope your day is awesome. <3 to whoever's reading...thanks for checking in,
C.A. MacConnell

Photo: Showboat

Showboat Majestic

C.A. MacConnell


Quote of the Day

Mom:  "You love animals. You could work at a vet."
Me:  "That'd be great if I weren't afraid of dogs."
Mom:  "Oh yeah."


I'm Here. I've Got Your Back.

I'm Here. I've Got Your Back.

Yesterday, I was in the woods, about three and a half miles into a walk, when suddenly, I felt a great rush of air, and something soft brushed against my cheek. Startled, I stopped and looked left. Right there, on a log in front of me, a red-tailed hawk landed and turned to the side, looking back at me, seemingly grinning, as much as a hawk can grin. And I realized that what I had felt against my cheek were the hawk's wing feathers.

I studied him. He appeared to be an adult male, although I'm still a beginner when it comes to hawk sightings. Stunned, I looked at him and whispered, "Baby!" He wasn't a baby, but that's just what came out of my mouth, as if I were using it as an endearing term by a lover.

Still not moving, he looked back. Shadowed by the trees, he appeared absolutely beautiful and wise.

I moved a little closer. My heart fluttered, and then it felt warm, as if it filled up with something -- some kind of liquid gold, if you will, or, as I later thought -- absolute love. Literally, it felt as if the Spirit of the Universe were directly speaking to me, saying, "I'm here, I've got your back."

Frozen in place, seemingly unafraid, from the side, the hawk looked back at me through one big, clear, open eye.

Thank you, I thought, bringing my hands together, pressing my fingers close in prayer.

And for a brief second, he continued to look at me through that unblinking eye, making sure I was all right. And then he flew away.

For a few moments, I stood on the path, completely mesmerized. My next thought was, No one is going to believe me. Then, smiling, I thought, Who cares, I saw what I saw, I felt what I felt, and I believe it, and it is magnificent. I have never heard of a hawk coming that close to a person, and there was really no reason for him to swoop down like that -- he wasn't after any prey or anything. No mission at all, other than to say hello to me. Simply, he flew across the path for fun. Unbelievably, his feathers brushed against my cheek, and then he sat on the log. It was for me, and only me. Truly, I was blown away.

About a year ago, there was another time when I was walking and a hawk flew right over my head; that one was nearly close enough to touch me, and I could feel the breeze of the flight, but I've never, ever had one actually touch me before, and I've never heard of it happening to anyone else.

Writing to you this morning, I'm still amazed by the experience. Chills. Some people see burning bushes, I guess. I had a hawk touch my cheek. Amazing.

Someone, something, a greatness, is there. Every now and then, if I open my eyes, I can see the universe reveal this divinity, literally touching my skin.

I used to feel an affinity with wolves. In the past few years, it's changed to hawks. Somehow, I've become more aware of these creatures, and now I feel that a Great Spirit is reaching out to me, letting me know this:  You are all right, just how you are, right here, right now, and I accept you and love you. Just checking in. I'm here. I've got your back. This is my version of God today; it changes with me, becoming new to me, and in turn, new to you.

C.A. MacConnell


Zoe's Kingdom: We All Have a Place

Dear reader:  good morning. I'm a little lightheaded, like I am when I don't sleep well, arggh. Ah, well, there are worse things. Still job hunting, and it's frustrating, but I'm a trooper. Hey, I wrote this l'il number a while back. I just love this picture, and it really inspired the essay below. I didn't take the shot, but pro photographer Bill Adams did. I'd be thrilled to meet Zoe, the zebra.

The essay here still stands well; I thought I'd repost it on this steel grey day. Whoever's reading, I'm sending out love and light and hope to you...may you find peace, love, happiness, and a yummy, dense cookie. They have these monster vegan cookies at a cafe I know, and they're in my thoughts all the time, ha. Here's the essay. Hope you dig it. Definitely goes along with the one I wrote the other day, called, "Follow the Inner Voice." Kind of a hand-in-hand message. Peace out, C.A.

Zoe's Kingdom:  We All Have a Place

Her name is Zoe. A while back, I came across an enhanced version of this photo on social media -- the photo-shopped one was circulating around, and it showed her stripes as nearly neon. (So we even photo shop zebras). Well, mesmerized by her unique beauty, I did a little digging to find out the truth, and it seems that the photo (shown left) is the original print, and this is her true color -- muted from the enhanced one but amazing, nonetheless. Indeed, she is real, and she has golden stripes and blue eyes.

Zoe lives at the Three Ring Ranch animal sanctuary in Hawaii, and she has a condition called Amelanism, a pigmentation abnormality characterized by the lack of pigments called melanins, commonly associated with a genetic loss of tyrosinase function; it can affect fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, including humans. So scientifically speaking, this is the cause of her striking appearance. So Zoe is not an albino zebra either. For sure, she stands out. In her world, she stands alone. Sure, there have been others like this, but it is rare.

Imagine how this would affect a zebra's life. In the wild, her ability to camouflage within the herd would be impossible. Her safety would be threatened 24/7. Indeed, she would be a walking target, and this would undoubtedly change the herd. Interesting to think about...of course she is safe in this sanctuary, but here, she still interacts with a herd, and it seems that her mere presence would definitely change things up.

For nearly 25 years, I worked with horses, and I'd sometimes spend hours watching the herds graze. Of course, on these farms, there were no stallions -- only geldings-- and we separated the mares from the geldings, so it wasn't like observing a completely natural scene; however, their personalities varied as much as people's do. Some were bullies. Some were laid back. Some acted like kids who needed naps. Some mares were strong, wild, and maternal. Some mares were demure, yet sneakily affectionate. All over the map. And they formed unique and lasting friendships -- often, they paired off, or they hung out in threes. Some steered clear of each other and when they got close, they'd bicker, fight, or ignore each other. Just like people. Now, I haven't spent time observing zebras, and I hear they're difficult to tame, and I know they're vastly different than horses in actions and reactions, but it seems that there is a similar bonding system within the herds...

With the horses I knew, each and every one, despite their defects, played a crucial part in the herd's survival, and even though they lived on a farm, their clear-cut instincts and roles were always apparent; that is, there was an ever-present concern for others. For instance, the maternal mare protected the wilder, younger one, letting her know that a storm was coming, and that they should take cover. Then she'd bite at the heels of all the mares, riling them up, nearly forcing them to run to the gate so that we would see them and bring them in to shelter. The feisty, thick, ruddy-haired gelding gathered up the rest, even the ones he disliked, when he heard the storm siren, and when the attractive show horse balked, the tough one let him know who was boss. And then there were the mares who let the pregnant pony hit the trough first, so that she could have the freshest water. Despite individual personalities, the overall care and concern was constant.

Despite feelings, genes, histories, likes and dislikes, animals accept their place as tiny, humble parts of the universe, mere minuscule specks of the whole, and they inherently know that they play an important part in the world's survival; that is, through instinct, they are always aware of the larger whole, the planet, the universe. As people, our complicated minds, hearts, and feelings allow us to succeed at so many things. And of course we have the power to create and destroy. Consistently, do we not lose sight of our place in this vast wholeness? Do we not forget that we are in this together?

I am not excluding myself, oh no. I admit that I forget as well, and honestly, I get caught up all the time, for sure. I try my best to continue to do the next right thing but of course, I know that I have a long, long way to go. But on the days when I'm aware and in tune (with the herd, if you will), life just seems...well...right. All good, all right. Just think what the world would be like if we all maintained this awareness at all times, if we were all out for the good of everyone, rather than just focusing on ourselves. And of course, many are participating in this idea in a large way. Many people have for centuries. Each time we meditate and send out light and prayer, we are participating. Each time we stop to help someone or something and don't expect a return, we are participating. That is what animals, trees, and plants do, and the inter-workings of nature are the closest thing to divine perfection that I know. Daily, it humbles me.

Simply, at it's core, nature works, and it is brilliant. Just think what would happen if we could all let go of ourselves and all at once, all together, focus on the big picture -- love, survival, instinct, and ultimate giving. What if we thought of others not during prayer time, but all the time? Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, man in West Virginia who gave up his health ticket at the free clinic so someone else could have eye surgery, and Zoe -- we're all the same. It may sound fantastical, but I do believe it is possible to find this wholeness if we work on ourselves from the inside out and focus on our place within the design, and in turn, focus our energy on how we can best give. And I could take this further and say this: if we all did what our deepest soul's purpose was calling for us to do, if we paid attention to our hearts completely, if we gave without expectation of a return, there would be no war, there would be no need for money, and no one would even have to work.

Zoe reminds me of the circular nature of things. Zoe reminds me that although I may stand out at times, there is a reason for my presence in the universe, and I can make a mark. Someone like Zoe has a place in this too. Maybe she represents the future. And thinking deeply, maybe she was sent from some divine spirit to shake things up. Maybe, among the most traditional and powerful zebras, there may be some resistance. Some will find her strange. Others, like me, will find her to be strikingly gorgeous. This morning, she is my little miracle.

C.A. MacConnell


Follow the Inner Voice

At times, my heart and gut have told me things such as this:  Hey, don't do this; something is definitely weird here. Not dangerous, but weird nonetheless. Yes, this feeling even gets specific. A few years ago, repeatedly, on the inside, I heard, He's lying. Not sure about what, but he's lying. And my gut has told me this:  That's not his real name, so don't call him. Or yes, sometimes it's positive:  Don't wait another second. Do this! No question about it. Still other times, it's in between:  This will be all right, but it's not what you're looking for. In each case, this deep down feeling has always been right on target.

The heart-voice has never failed me, but even still, I don't always pay attention to this important, curious, little feeling inside. Most of the time, it hits me smack in the center of the chest. Other times, more toward the belly, the head, or even the throat. Why don't I pay attention? Perhaps I worry about what others will think. Or I don't listen to myself because of what someone says, such as, "Oh, no, I think it's all right. It's fine, really." Against my better judgment, I'll let another person's words sway me. As I get older, I pay more and more attention to this "inner voice," as I like to call it or "god consciousness" as others call it, but I'm not perfect at it yet.

The trees, the ducks, the koi fish -- they are perfect at it. How about the clouds, the sun, the moon, each and every star? The planets, the air? Ah, the water. In this universe, all of nature lives and feels and trusts completely. Think about it. Infinitely, they believe. With humans, doubt rolls in, but there is one time when we are perfect at it as well. When we love. When we love, truly love, we are perfect at the connection with our inner voice; that is, when the love is the kind where one being solely focuses on how to give.

Then, like that mother nursing a child, like that man helping his girlfriend with a broken right leg make her way up a ramp, like that boy holding his girlfriend's skateboard on his back, like those two hawks who will reappear in the fall in the same tree until the day they die, there is a stream of god consciousness, absolute trust, and the ultimate essence of the inner voice.

Today's truth:  The focus is on how to give.

A duck's life. It just makes sense. <3 u,
C.A. MacConnell