Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Walkabout 2017

The 2017 Mustang Walkabout

So begins our 2017 Mustang Walkabout season. In just over two weeks we will be on the horse ranges. Many fans ask what exactly is a 'walkabout'? Traditionally, it is a rite of passage among aboriginal Australian adolescent males in which they make the transition to manhood by spending as much a six months alone in the wilderness.  The phrase has become more mainstream as a journey to reach a destination, either literal or spiritual. A craving for the open road, a desire for a road trip, itchy feet are all phrases synonymous with a modern walkabout.  

For Meredith, it is a time to leave a busy medical practice in New York City and focus on the horses, the landscape, and her spiritual growth. Meredith learns a great deal about herself on these long trips into the wilderness, and she learns about ecology, equine ethology, photography, and nature. She brings her 26-string Harpsicle® Harp and plays for the mustangs.

For Karen is is a time for quiet contemplation, for heightened perception, and to experience the energy she gains from painting. There is nothing else to distract her from her art; she can completely focus on the mustangs, the sky, and the sage. There are no cellphones, no technology, no bustle of everyday life. Spending time with the horses, without of the trappings of modern life, offers an experience like no other. On the Walkabout Karen observes the horses as they are, and not from a reference photo. This is her time to paint from life or to simply observe the mustangs. She leaves refreshed and energized.

We live with the horses, we sleep next to them, we eat next to them, we enter their lives, if only as privileged observers. We hike miles in 80-100°F (26-37°C) over cactus, sharp fragrant sage, alongside prairie rattlesnakes, and other less venomous denizens of the western horse ranges. We bathe when we can, often using a bucket and sponge (and soap!) or the occasional foray into town for a 'real shower'. We cook meals over a camp stove, drink lukewarm beverages, and treat ourselves to "space ice cream". 

Right now we are gathering equipment, cataloging whatwe have, and purchasing whatever we might need such as spare batteries, memory cards, and lens cleaner. This year, Meredith and her family will be joining Karen at Sand Wash after a family vacation in Alaska. Then the Lowders will fly home and Karen and Meredith will continue on to Great Desert Basin in Utah.

This immersive experience allows us to enter the lives of these magnificent wild horses. We are humbled by their struggle for survival. We feel incredibly honoured to share their lives, if only for a few weeks each year... We will be sharing our walkabout on our Facebook page.

Please join us on our adventures...
Meredith & Karen

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