Letter from a Blind Yogi: Back in the Saddle


There's a gold moon over Madison tonight, voluptuous and hazy.

The color makes me crave autumn apple smells and the sight of orange-leaved oak trees. My husband and I just took Susie for a walk in her stroller. She kept repeating, "tiny moon, I see a tiny moon." The air was fragrant like skunk weed and fresh cut grass. Can't complain. I love this block.

Out of nowhere, we spotted a spindly-legged coyote loping across the tall grass fifty feet away. We'd been squatting next to Susie Q's ride, spying bunnies and ducks across a pond. I skipped whirling her around to see the brownish-gray canine leap over the bike path. The coyote ignored us and cut into the cornfield that lies parallel to the water. My husband thought the beast was a cougar. He suggested we stick to the sidewalk next time. He's from Illinois.

If we'd gone more scenic, we'd have hit a horse pasture. At 7 p.m. nightly, a farmer drapes orange plastic fencing across the road to usher his charges to their barn. He whistles and calls to them by name; Penny, Daisy, Fatty and Bruno.

"My toothsome neighbors. Susie calls them 'ponytails.'

I've always been a little horse crazy. My daughter has a growing collection of My Little Ponies to show for it. There is a Facebook page set up to mock people like me. It's called 'I hate people who are obsessed with horses.' Dafuq? Peep their profile photo.

Where's the equine love?

The commentors on their page go to befuddling lengths to either berate or defend ponies. Here's one from a pro horse reader named Michele, who likes capital letters: "GO HORSES LONG LIVE KENTUCKYY AND HORSES AND PEOPLE THAT LOVE HORSES WOOP WOOP A-GO HORSES A-GO HORSES WOOOOOO YEAHHHHH OWWWWW OH YEAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND MY HORSE AND SHEZA CHARLIE CHIP AND LILLY AND SECRETARIAT AND UNION RAGS AND DADDY LONG LEGS AND ALL THE OTHER HORSES IN THE WORLD HORSES RULE WOOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Woop, indeed.

Roderick trots out his anti-horse agenda saying, "It's a nightmare, my nephew and my neighbor talk all the time about freaking horses.I close my eyes and all i see are those fucking horses!"

Page fan William, rides it out neutral like Switzerland with, "I LOVE PANCAKES!"

I do not visit such a page to sharpshoot grammar, case and punctuation choices. That's a job for a hero on a white horse.


The best movie ever.

These personalities are familiar to me. I'm from a rural town. Most folks take a more tempered approach to horsemanship.

My aunt emailed me about hanging out in the barn at her friend Jane's. I asked how her yoga practice was going. Aunt Patti is the only half-blind yogi I know. She can't legally drive. Yet she has a kickin' asana practice. Her chutzpah inspires me. She, like all my aunts, has been a nurturing force in my life. We bonded over watching The Black Stallion  a dozen times.

She says, "Did you ever hear 'blind in one eye, can't see out the other?' Well that's me. As far as yoga goes, I try to balance in the middle of the floor. I can see better where there is little light. Light from the sides is the worst, it just blinds me. Sun glasses don't help. I'm turning into a vampire."

She wrote me a letter on my thirty-sixth birthday:

Dear Hally,

The whole Enstrom family is here for a reunion. I am so tired from running all over the map. Mike's kids are going back today. True California kids. Very respectful, a lot of fun, all give hugs. One of the girls' boy friends is a super chef at some fancy place. Just good kids. Had a good time at the reunion at Red Arrow Beach. 90 degrees and humid! Today resting. Dave's mom and 2 bros are coming for coffee.  First "the hair of the dog that bit them."  Bad cycle to get into. I've been there.

My yoga teacher is at her family reunion till next Monday. :( Reno was planning to go with me while he was here otherwise. :) That would have been awesome. He's been practicing for 25 some years. I think we are going to go to Pictured Rocks up in Munising, MI. At 6 a.m. tomorrow, all day. Sounds like fun. I'm not upset about not camping, I'm available for anything that comes along. My yoga instructor set up a schedule for us while she is gone (only 1 teacher) for practice.

Dave and I went to Jane's for supper Thursday.  After dinner, we went out. Rose was riding Jane's 2 yr. old half linger Ranger. She wanted us to come watch her in case something happens. Jane and I were sitting inside the horse corral watching Rose try to tame him down a bit. We're sitting there and here come the other 3 horses behind us, nibbling on our ears and earrings, give our chairs a push, or us. Rainey, Jane's mumma horse, comes and stands right in front of us blocking our view. Wouldn't move (jealous). I was so amazed, never met such docile big horses. They're so friendly and gentle, such soft velvety noses. They frisk you for treats. She lets them inside the barn, they follow you all over, come when you call them by name, and I didn't have my iPad or my camera. I would have taken a movie. Never experienced that before.

I better get going. Rita and Eileen are out in the back yard baking in the sun. Glad your birthday was good. Still hoping to see you sooner than later. Say hi to all and I love you all. Bye for now. I have to go to yoga for 1pm. 

Love, Patti

My aunt, the yoga Jedi. May the horse be with her.

Tagged under: Yoga Practice
Hally marlino

Hally Marlino is a blue collar yoga teacher and writer from Madison, WI. She's a spirituality skeptic with a BA in Theatre Performance from UW-La Crosse. Years ago, she held a low rank in the U.S. Army. When she’s not teaching freestyle vinyasa around the isthmus, you’ll find her bike-riding and beer-appreciating with her family. Hally is exactly half ballerina, half professional wrestler. C...READ MORE