November 28, 2013
Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Stampa @ 3:46 pm
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November 12, 2013
Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Stampa @ 7:24 pm
The sky was still popping with stars as I curled up by a clump of sage on an Air Force reservation in southern Nevada. A tiny spring, rimmed with hoofprints, trickled past my hiding place. No other sound marred the desert night, and the quiet sang in my ears. I settled down to wait for dawn—and wild horses. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01hrz5n Suddenly there was a stirring in the brush not 15 feet from where I lay. Twigs snapped, hoofbeats sounded on soft earth. Bulky undefined shapes loomed almost within touching distance.
I tried to quiet my breathing. If the horses didn’t hear me, they wouldn’t detect my presence; they had approached from upwind and would not pick up my scent. A few seconds passed, and I heard a horse blow and then begin to drink. I lay absolutely still, listening. A long pause followed each slurping sound. The spring was shallow, and after drinking for a moment, the horse had to wait for it to fill again. I relaxed. The band would be at the water hole until the sun came up. Perhaps I would get pictures.
Since the 16th century, descendants of domestic horses that had become feral, or wild, have ranged throughout the West. As late as 1925, the number was perhaps no less than a million, although an accurate census then, as now, would have been impossible. In recent decades, uncounted numbers have been put under saddles, shot because they competed with livestock, or trapped and sold for pet food.
The Bureau of Land Management believes that on public lands on which wild horses live—a total area larger than France, scattered over nine Western states—only about 17,000 of the animals survive. They are found only in remote and inhospitable regions and are rarely glimpsed by man. Those who hope to locate them need four-wheel-drive vehicles, good hiking boots, and plenty of stamina.
I also carry camping equipment and a sleeping bag. By sleeping near a water hole, where horses were sure to come, I hoped to increase my chances of making close-up observations for a book I was writing—America’s Last Wild Horses.
Now as the sky grayed, I began to make out the outlines of two bay mares and a newborn foal. They stood on a hill awaiting their turns at the tiny spring, which was monopolized by two young males.
This was not the usual band, made up of a single stallion and as many mares as he has been able to capture. In a way I felt relieved. Since a stallion must engage in fierce battles to win and hold the mares he collects, he On the other hand, I knew what drama a stallion could lend a scene, particularly if he were challenged by a rival. I have watched fights that have developed into blood baths.
The two combatants first go through a preliminary ritual of posturing, during which either horse has a chance to back down and run away. But once the battle begins, it usually goes on with fierce intensity until one horse clearly emerges the victor. Then i came back to my rooms to rent in london.
October 15, 2013
Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Stampa @ 8:35 am
Rescuers are compulsive, often uninvited, helpers who cannot resist the temptation to jump in and try to fix other people’s problems. Also known as either fixers or white knights, they come from diverse backgrounds, but they all have the desire or need to save others. These well-meaning people generally pursue careers in the helping professions, such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, teachers, or social workers with garcinia cambogia safety
Rescuers believe they have the necessary influence, charm, or persuasive powers to help change people or situations for the better. Their identifying traits include:
The needs of others are treated as more important than their own.
They will persist in helping even when it has been made clear that their help is not needed.
They think they know best about what works and what doesn’t for others.
They want other people to need them, and will go from one person to the next offering assistance in order to gain this sense of being needed.
When others ask for their assistance and they can’t help they are overcome with guilt.
They exhaust themselves in taking care of other people’s needs.
They feel utterly rejected when their assistance is not welcome.
Since childhood the rescuer has had the desire to save someone, usually a family member, such as an alcoholic father, depressed mother, or ill sibling. They carry this nurturing trait into adulthood, along with many other positive characteristics. This is good because:
It’s encouraging to have someone around who is ready and willing to help.
Rescuers can intuitively spot another persons vulnerabilities, or identify when someone is in trouble.
They are skilled at making others feel less isolated in their emotional pain.
Although they are not consciously aware of this, saving others is often an attempt at saving the self from past or present emotional pain; their rescuing behaviour can be seen as symbolic self-healing.
Their persistence when tackling a problem, even though it belongs to someone else, can be encouraging.
You might think that we could all benefit from having a rescuer close by. However, there are some negatives to this personality:
Rescuers have the tendency to neglect themselves due to their neurotic obsession to look after others.
People need to learn to solve their own problems and face their own challenges, which is not easy with a rescuer around.
Outside the lives of others, the rescuer hardly has a life of their own; their hopes and goals are tied up with those of others.
Getting absorbed by other people’s problems can be a way to escape taking responsibility for their own.
Rescuers are never really content because they don’t pay attention to their own needs and often feel burned-out.
At some point the rescuer does need to be told that they aren’t always helping, despite their good intentions. From the rescuer’s perspective, others are inadequate and therefore in need of help, so make them aware of this underlying message they are giving to others. This will help them recognise why some people don’t appreciate their efforts.
Inform the rescuer that obsessive rescuing is a way of projecting their own real or imagined weaknesses and vulnerabilities onto others. They need to hear the same message repeatedly, in particular that they cannot take care of others if they cannot take care of themselves. In addition, show them that there are alternative, healthier ways in which to invest empathy and altruistic behaviours. For example, encourage them to ask people if they want or need assistance before giving it.
September 25, 2013
Filed under: Life — Mary Stampa @ 6:51 pm
Chances are to spend much of your day with poor posture: at the computer, in the car, at your desk, slumped in front of the TV after a draining day of computer, desk and car activities. Let’s go back to the hosepipe analogy. Is that water going to flow efficiently if the pipe is scrunched up? Make sure you regularly get up to stretch and move around, and have frequent stops if you’re driving. Better still, why not use public transport? You’ll feel less stressed and can stretch your legs throughout the journey.
Finally, consider giving hot and cold showering a go. Use coconut oil hair treatment product for extra healthy feeling. It works like this: hot water causes the blood to rush to the skin, and cold water makes the blood dash back to the internal organs. Quickly switch between the two half a dozen times, 20 seconds of each blast, and you’ll improve circulation, shooting your blood around the body just as it’s designed to do. Don’t overdo the shock, though: start with lukewarm and fairly hot, and build up over time. l:uua
Fl Although I’m only in my, I’ve noticed that the whites of my eyes have started to turn slightly yellowish. I don’t smoke and I eat a fairly healthy diet. What could be causing this?
Fl Peter Bradbury, president I”: of the Guild of Naturopathic Iridologists, says: ‘Yellowing of the white of the eye, or sclera, is often the result of congestion in the liver or digestive system. If you eat a diet that’s high in saturated fat, and drink alcohol regularly, then this is particularly likely to occur. The best remedy for this is artichoke extract, which supports the liver in eliminating toxins from the body. It helps to relieve constipation too, another cause of yellowing eyes. The herb milk thistle can also stimulate liver function – as an antioxidant it’s more powerful than vitamin E. Severe yellowing of the eyes can be a sign of hepatitis, so visit your GP if you are concerned!
October 10, 2012
Filed under: Travel — Mary Stampa @ 1:47 pm
I had been looking forward to staying a few days in the Monastery of Santa Maria di Polsi and talking with the Superior, who was known to be an expert on Calabrian history. As I descended to it, I saw groups of people washing themselves in the stream. I washed too and asked the reason for their visit. A big festa, they said. In the monastery kitchens people crowded round cauldrons of revolting-looking meat. After a quick chat with the Superior who promised to get me a mule for the remainder of my journey, I left. I had wanted to find a deserted monastery in the true romantic tradition, and the sight of so many people taking advantage of a well-earned festa would have interrupted my train of thought.
I passed through villages so primitive they seemed conjured up out of the imagination—clusters of crudely plastered houses huddling together on a slope, doors opening onto stone steps. In these narrow passage-ways, the conversation of the day was exchanged: it was the domain of the women. The men sat in the cafés and it was rare to find their wives accompanying them. In one village I was told how the priest would settle the engagement between a young couple. He would drop his spectacles in front of them—if they broke, the engagement was ended. I wondered with what force the priest dropped the spectacles and exactly what factor would influence his choice.
Journeying through Calabria is not the ideal holiday, as we find when reading Edward Lear’s Journals or Gissing and Norman Douglas. Its harshness, which promises yet even more beauty beyond, attracts the Englishman; he wants to prise open this oyster, however laborious it may be, and experience both the hostility and the hospitality of a remote country at first hand. They continually complained about Calabria, yet, as continually, they returned to it.
Crotone, on the Ionian Sea, the cradle of Greek civilization in Italy, is celebrated for its doctors and athletes rather than for wealth and riches. It was here that the basic principles of medicine were conceived and developed and where Pythagoras took refuge. The Greek love of beauty is found at its apex in Crotone, where it is said the excellent climate accounts for the beauty of its citizens. Here too lived Milo, the celebrated athlete, so victorious that he was forced to stop taking part in the Olympics.
Milo not only excelled in athletics but also in philosophy. He was one of Pythagoras’s most devoted disciples and stood as a symbol of that harmony which Greeks believe existed between learning and athletics. Energy of the mind and energy of the body were coordinated in this ideal, and its universal appeal could easily be understood in Crotone.
`Near by,’ chants the chorus of the Trojan women of Euripides, ‘near by, as you voyage in the Ionian Sea, is the city nourished by that fairest of rivers, the Crathis. Its marvellous waters burnish the hair to a glowing chestnut.’ Alas, though I often tried, I could never find a place on the course of the Crati River, the ancient Crathis, which flows into the Gulf of Taranto, where I felt tempted to dip my hair and wait for the chestnut glow. Reduced to a muddy trickle by the deforestation of the mountains, the magnificence of the Crathis had become as legendary as the city of Sybaris which lies somewhere deep beneath the alluvial deposits at its mouth. But from the Sila Greca, the northern part of the mountain plateau to the east, one can still see why the Crathis became famous in the ancient world as much for its beauty as for forming a trade route from the Ionian to the Tyrrhenian, cutting short the journey between Greece and Etruria.
The view is at its most splendid from San Demetrio Corone, 1500 feet above the valley. This is one of the villages of the Albanian community—they settled in Calabria in the 15th century, refugees from the Turks. Here each day, in the late afternoon, the villagers make their passeggiata along the main street, which forms a continuous belvedere. By that time the haze has slightly lifted and the sun is sinking towards the pale silhouette of the mountains that skirt the Tyrrhenian Sea; the mass of Mount Dolcedorme gains a few revealing shadows from the new light and seems to advance a little across the plain of Sybaris, a great shimmering apron attached to the blue and brown valley. It is in this light that the sea and the plain cease to merge into one—the graceful sweep of the Ionian coast is only lost in haze to the north towards Cape Spulico.
Each time I made this promenade I was unable to give the panorama as much attention as I would have wished; for unlike the severe inhabitants of most mountain villages in Calabria, the Albanians welcome a stranger with ceaseless attention, gather round him to chat as he eats in the trattoria, sing for him, introduce him to their families and delight in their knowledge of folklore and custom. The Albanians have none of that Italian love of smartness and brightness which has spread even into the Calabrian soul and gives to the most dilapidated village at least one chromium cafe, one well-established barber’s shop. The Albanians are not worried by a little dirt, would not want to change their dingy cafés and trattorias. Tall, fair and blue-eyed for the most part, they differ physically from their neighbours, and though all can speak Italian they use their national language among themselves and have remained Greek Orthodox in religion in spite of one-time persecutions by the Roman Church. And even down to small matters like the tight-swaddling of babies and the extreme décolletage of the women’s national costume, their life is their own.
To appreciate the unique strangeness of Calabria one needs time to sit and talk, to share in the life of the villages, still fresh and untouched by our standards. The mountain peaks have proved a serious barrier to communication, but also a safe refuge for malcontents. One cannot expect to put Calabria on a two-week tourist itinerary—it is not an excursion, but an experience.
October 5, 2012
Filed under: Travel — Mary Stampa @ 1:48 pm
FOR thrice in a day she sends it out, and thrice she sucks it in’—this was how Homer wrote of the Straits of Messina in the Odyssey, not through any ignorance, but for tragic effect, even at a little expense of truth. The idea of his Charybdis was taken from the ebb and flow of the tide. The whirlpool is still there, but the danger has been diminished by knowledge, the myth is exposed and a little magic has gone from Calabrian folk-lore.
Mythology still lingers in men’s minds when they meditate on Calabria, a country closely bound up with learning, legend and athleticism.
A whole unknown world lies behind mountain peaks, some rising 6000 feet straight from the sea, hiding its beauty from those who prefer to sit in a popular resort rather than make the tortuous journey, which after all is a vital part of seeing and understanding the character of a country. It is the thought of the inaccessible that makes man adventurous.
Finding a room at Scilla, a small Calabrian town opposite the eastern-most point of Sicily, gave me the unexpected experience of being offered a bed in ‘the house of the dead’. A mass of mourning women wanted to seize at the chance to make a little money from a bed which had recently held a corpse. I could not blame them but, having just returned from an exciting fishing trip, the sudden change frightened me into declining their offer and staying at a small whitewashed cottage owned by one of the fishermen who had taken me out that morning. It lay near the beach, with the castle gleaming in the distance, and that evening, as the villagers gathered round to discuss the day’s catch, I again remembered lines of Homer that blended with the atmosphere of Scilla:
Plunged to her middle in the horrid den
She lurks, protruding from the black abyss
Her heads, with which the ravening monster dives In quest of dolphins, dog-fish, or of prey
It is here at• Scilla that the pesci spada or sword-fish are caught—the fish that some Italians believe protects their virility. During April, May, June and July special boats are sent out, directed by a fisherman in a look-out boat. Each boat is small, with two men and two oars; one rows, the other stands on the prow, his twelve-foot spear ready in his hand. As the fish passes the boat, the spear is thrown swiftly and then withdrawn, leaving the sharp, barbed point sticking in the flesh of the fish; this is done incessantly until the fish is exhausted. They then trail the fish behind them to the shore, or, if it is not too large, haul it into the boat. It has been known for a fisherman to be wounded through the sides or bottom of the boat by the strength of the sword with which the fish is armed. I watched, with admiration and a little wariness, the skill which these men employed so naturally to make their kill. I was shown other look-outs in the hills, where a man would sit and wave his white kerchief at the sign of the fish approaching, and was told that ex-King Umberto used often to come and stay near Scilla during the pesci spada season and go out with the boats. The battle between man and fish was stimulating not only for the physical prowess displayed but for the swift coordination between thought and action.
Going on south and east to Bova, the largest of the Greek-speaking communities in Italy, I found the landscape similar to Andalusia but the life far more primitive. Brown, scorched grass crackled beneath the feet; a few oak trees stood listlessly trying to give some shade. It made me wonder how man could scrape any living from such soil; little patches on the slopes where something might grow and a cottage is built, miles perhaps from water. An old woman passed, balancing a jar sideways on her head, her eyes fixed ahead, oblivious to strangers. It was a curious feeling to walk unmolested through this village where the peasants sat staring into space, too apathetic to bother with the outside world.
The Tyrrhenian, or western, side of the Aspromonte, which is the backbone of southern Calabria, is far sweeter, more inhabited and cultivated than the Ionian side. I followed villagers making a pilgrimage to the mountain resort of Gambárie, 4300 feet above the valley. The road wound steeply, but at every turn the view made me long to go higher. The smooth silvery leaves of the olive trees glinted in the sun and lay like a lake beneath my feet. I left the pilgrims who were preparing a feast of roast lamb over a charcoal fire, and as I rode through pine and beech forests the call of the bagpipes echoed sweetly after me, and I was reminded of Berlioz, who had imitated this effect in Harold in Italy; high and penetrating it followed me, and it was only as the darkness came suddenly that I realized I was lost. My horse, sensitive and nervous, picked her way patiently until I found a bark-covered hut. With a few ferns, I threw together a couch for the night, and in the morning
when I started off again I found I had made a complete circuit of the long ridge.