El Mariachi’s Gift

August 3, 2014

Do you remember when I first wrote about El Mariachi in “Rescuing an American Icon?” That there is always something good that shines through a tragedy? What people call, a silver lining. While circumstances were such that it took a while to get to a place where I could share, once again I’ve experienced just how unpredictable life can be and how it has a way of surprising you with twists and turns you never could have imagined or understood as they were unfolding.

Losing El Mariachi felt unbearable. It had been a very tough summer – so full of sadness and loss. But amidst the challenges, I reminded myself that I had been given a remarkable gift. A gift made even more precious by El Mariachi’s passing.

“The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.”
~ John Vance Cheney

I had been given a rainbow.

The Ballad of El Corazon (written by Rene’ Ferdig)

Images seen with a dubious heart,
Where did he come from?
How did it start?
Questions unanswered that made no sense.
How could such things have been allowed?
No rebuttal found in the eyes of the proud.

Waiting is the hardest part
Of looking for my long lost heart,
Waiting is the hardest part.

Memories of days long past
Floated in her head,
Like a ship with no mast.
She glimpsed the king’s glory many times,
With a heart full of wonder.
Until the day he lost his home,
His family ripped asunder,
This king torn from a perfect throne,
Surrounded, yet all alone.

Waiting is the hardest part
Of looking for my long lost heart,
Waiting is the hardest part.

Soon rescued by her caring heart
Full of hope – a new kingdom to start.
But time began to fall apart.
The king was betrayed
By the lord of the land
Turned to a hidden hell – and…
…Some even died
The king was found starved
And stripped of his pride.
But she came through again
With an elegant plan
At home in the desert sand,
Of his new benefactor
He at her side, Hope’s own protector.

Waiting is the hardest part
Of looking for my long lost heart,
Be strong of mind and strong of heart,
Yet waiting is the hardest part.

Such a glorious young life,
True image of the master.
Her heart beat …faster and faster.
There was no query and no lying,
But there was also no denying,
The old king was his sire –
El Mariachi, flame of the wild.

Waiting is the hardest part
Of looking for my long lost heart
The wild king now has a son,
El Mariachi’s own El Corazon!

Now what will become
Of the young El Corazon?
He belongs with her and no other.
Give him a chance at a brand new life,
And a golden older brother.
Patience comes with practice,
And practice in abundance, but….

Waiting is the hardest part
Of waiting for my newfound heart
The wild boy is headed home,
El Mariachi’s own young El Corazon!

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With his "golden older brother"

With his “golden older brother”

My rainbow, my healer, my gift - El Mariachi's gift.

My rainbow, my healer, my gift – El Mariachi’s gift.

Related Stories:
“Rescuing an American Icon”

The Passing of an American Icon

Images by Pam Nickoles Photography, along with all site content are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. Photos and/or text may not be used, downloaded or reproduced in any form without express written permission from Pam Nickoles Photography. Feel free to share, but please respect my copyright.

 “His is a power enhanced by pride, a courage heightened by challenge. His is a swiftness intensified by strength, a majesty magnified by his grace. His is a timeless beauty touched with gentleness, a spirit that call our hearts to dream.”  Author Unknown


“His is a power enhanced by pride, a courage heightened by challenge. His is a swiftness intensified by strength, a majesty magnified by his grace. His is a timeless beauty touched with gentleness, a spirit that call our hearts to dream.” Author Unknown

With great difficulty and sadness, I share with you the passing of a most magnificent wild horse – El Mariachi. A horse that was admired, loved and an inspiration to me and so many others.

My life was forever changed the day I saw him in the White Mountain range of Wyoming. How our lives were to become connected, I could never have imagined, but I will always be grateful for the privilege.

Most of you know what El Mariachi meant to me, but I realize this is a shared heartbreak. He touched so many people. There was just something about him. He had such presence – you couldn’t help but be in awe of him. What an amazing creature. He made my heart sing.

Wild in Wyoming.

Wild in Wyoming.

In the wild - chasing another stallion down a steep hill.

In the wild – chasing another stallion down a steep hill.

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To all of you that came together on El Mariachi’s behalf, I send you healing thoughts and my utmost gratitude.

(To the readers of this post, please understand that I will not be sharing any details).

Some of my favorite images…

At his new home in Arizona.

At his new home in Arizona.

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El Mariachi with Hope.

El Mariachi with Hope.

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“I have seen things so beautiful they have brought tears to my eyes. Yet none of them can match the gracefulness and beauty of a horse running free.” Author Unknown

Run free El Mariachi…run free…

(The original story: “Rescuing An American Icon“)

Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images by Pam Nickoles Photography, along with all site content are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. Photos and/or text may not be used, downloaded or reproduced in any form without express written permission from Pam Nickoles Photography. Feel free to share, but please respect my copyright.

Part three and the final post from our trip to Arizona to see the wild ones. Mostly just a pictorial. Images from our last morning with the horses.

(Click on the images for larger/sharper views)

In the mornings, El Mariachi and Hope can almost always be found in a little pocket of vegetation beside the other horse's paddock area where El Mariachi can keep an eye on everyone throughout the night. Always the sentry.

Working his way around to the barn area for breakfast.

With Hope following close behind

Beautiful light on a beautiful boy

Hope hears Tom in the barn

Ready for their feed

I never tire of just watching them eat.

I decided to leave the horses in peace and walked around the property just enjoying the morning and sights.

Hope watches Tom go about cleaning

Time to be out and about

Hiding

We were running out of time, but both Tom and I wanted to take another hike before heading to town. It’s difficult terrain to do our usual trail blazing, but I think we did pretty well for the most part.

This is one amazing cat - he followed us out for quite a distance. He looks like a mini mountain lion out there in the desert (Michael's description that is just so fitting).

Meowski

Timid and Diana came with us too.

I don't know how he manages it on almost every trip (since I've never been bothered), but Tom is snagged by another Jumping Cholla. HA!

And what’s the best way for a black dog to cool off after a hike in the desert? Why, a dip in the pool of course! 🙂

The very athletic Diana

Another wonderful visit with Michael and all the critters. We very much appreciate the privilege of spending time at Wolf House.

Part One of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-1/

Part Two of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-2/

The “Email Subscription” link automatically alerts you to new posts. Stay updated and subscribe today!

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction or downloading permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images. To share, click on the blog entry title. The permanent link will be displayed in your browser’s address bar. Copy this address to share.)

Prints: www.NickolesPhotography.com

Just a few days before we were to leave on our trip to Arizona, I found out that a Facebook buddy of mine was going to be in Tucson at the same time we were. I had the privilege of being with Aleta when she saw her very first wild horses in Sand Wash Basin, CO, we both attended a wild horse event featuring Michael Blake and Ginger Kathrens and a wild horse rally in Boulder, CO. So of course (with Michael’s permission) I asked her if she’d like to come out to the ranch while she was in town.

(Click on the images for a larger/sharper views)

Aleta with Shelby

Aleta brought her cousin Amy with her (also a horse person). Little Boy clearly thinks she's found the right spot to scratch.

Aleta with Little Boy

Bliss

Gypsy (on the right) nuzzles Smudge who is a bit uneasy with us in the paddock.

We headed out to the arena to watch El Mariachi and Hope for a bit before they decided they needed some space and raced out to the rest of the property.

Respecting the horse’s wishes, we let them be and went up to Wolf House to visit with Michael. Always gracious and generous, Michael spent some time visiting with us before taking us all down to his studio. There he shared stories that went with some of the many photos and posters on the walls, signed books and shared some tracks from one of his CD’s. I think a good time was had by all. 🙂

After some lunch with Aleta and Amy in town (thanks you guys!), Tom and I went back to the ranch and just hung out. We put the wild ones up for the afternoon and let the rest of the horses out.

Gypsy and Smudge

Tomas

Gypsy

Before we knew it, it was time for the evening feeding. Michael had told me that El Mariachi has an affection for carrots, so I tossed one out for him while Tom was getting the other horses fed. Though he hesitated to accept my gesture, the carrot proved too tempting. 🙂

El Mariachi and Hope are more comfortable with us if we’re sitting in the car, so we parked near their stall just to watch them eat for a while before calling it a night.

Dark clouds again, but still no rain.

Bright and early the next day, we left the ranch to meet up with a couple more Facebook buddies. We’d met Cindy and Jacky on a previous visit. We piled them into the car at the meet spot and drove on to the Phoenix area where we were going to pick up Karen, a wonderful painter.

Karen showed us around her place where we met her dogs and horses before she took us out to one of the areas she draws her inspiration from. I was ready for a nice hike to see more of the Arizona desert, but what we got was quite the adventure!

Our guide, Karen McLain

Dry wash area

That's Karen in a forested area that made young Jacky feel like she was in a Harry Potter movie. 🙂

It was beautiful and interesting terrain. I could see why Karen liked it out there.

Cindy spotted this tree with a cactus growing on it.

Yup, getting pretty dark - just after I took this photo, the sky opened up on us.

Okay, so we’ll get a little wet. No big deal. We’ll just tuck our cameras inside our coats. Surely it wouldn’t rain that long. Afterall, Arizona is so dry. HA!

We got pummelled as rain turned into hail!

On our return hike, the ground turned into little streams and the trail became a slippery mess, especially as we went up and down some washes. I was pulling up the rear and had just told Tom to be careful when his legs went out from under him and from one direction to the next. With arms flailing, he somehow managed to stay upright, but joked about feeling like he had just performed something you’d see in a cartoon. We both laughed – Tom was grateful I was the only one who’d witnessed his gymnastics.

When we finally got back to the car, the need to document this event took over and I snapped this photo of our drenched companions – my little point and shoot hasn’t worked properly since.

L-R: Jacky, Cindy, Karen and Tom.

We were soaked – I mean completely SOAKED – and we were all still smiling and joking. My kind of folks. Karen suggested that despite our condition and appearance, we should get some lunch. And so we did. What a sight we were. Wet and cold, we sat there chatting away. Water was still dripping off my pony-tail and down my back. Brrr… Still, a good time because of the cheerful company.

We said our good-byes to Karen and pointed the car towards Tucson with the heater blasting (there was short stop at Target for some warm socks for Jacky). 🙂

We dropped off Cindy and Jacky and continued south. Despite how it turned out, we had spent the day with some great people and shared an adventure we would all remember for quite a while.

As Tom and I made our way to the ranch, we were treated to this rainbow. What a fitting final photo.

Part 3 (the final chapter) to follow…

Part One of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-1/

Part Three of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-3/

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction or downloading permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images. To share, click on the blog entry title. The permanent link will be displayed in your browser’s address bar. Copy this address to share.)

www.NickolesPhotography.com

We caught one of those really late flights into Tucson on a Thursday night, signed for our rental car and drove to the hotel nearby. We were beat. It had been a work day for both of us. Now it was past midnight, but I had a hard time falling asleep knowing that in the morning, we would be driving to the ranch to see El Mariachi, Hope and Michael Blake. I was like a little kid – so excited.

We were up early and on our way. We figured the horses would probably still be eating breakfast by the time we arrived.

(Click on the images for a larger/sharper views)

We're almost there - the road to Michael's ranch.

And there he is – enjoying his breakfast and wondering who the visitors are. SO good to see him!

Not comfortable with strangers, the horses leave the barn area for the acreage where they keep a constant eye on us.

I decided to follow them to see about some photos, but they made a big circle around me and went back to the barn. 🙂

We spent a bit of time saying hello to the other horses and then decided to go up to Wolf House to see Michael. We parked next to his old truck and I cracked up when Meowski popped up from inside to greet us.

Hello Meowski!

It’s always great to see Michael too. We caught up a bit and then went back down to the horses so Michael could work.

Something has Hope's attention

The horses were headed down to the creek area, so Tom and I decided to tag along, enjoy the cool air and scenery.

I noticed this freshly chewed cactus plant. Wonder what was dining on this just before we showed up?

I think whatever it was might live under this rock ledge

We heard some whistling so we started back towards the barn. It was Michael letting us know it was time to put the wild ones in the arena and let the other horses out for the afternoon.

The horses know this routine pretty well. El Mariachi and Hope went right into the arena.

Michael has more horses than he did the last time we visited. He rescued three Mustang mares that were slaughter bound. They live with Tomas and Little Boy and seem to be adjusting well to their new lives and home.

L-R: Gypsy, Little Boy and Tomas

Michael with Gypsy

Shelby has really distinct markings

With the horses penned up for the afternoon, Tom and I decided it would be a good time to hike into the national forest and back up to the grotto.

Looking down at the horses and yes, El Mariachi is still watching us. Ever alert that boy.

No water in the grotto this time, but with those clouds, maybe there will be.

We’re joined by Diana and Timid.

And Scout came along as well. Tough old girl she is.

Diana is a beautiful Belgian Shepherd - a rescue of course.

Big, gorgeous landscapes all around

The afternoon flew by and it was time to feed. Back to the barn.

This is Smudge. I got very few pictures of her. Smudge is really distrusting and didn’t want anything to do with us. I hate to think what she’s been through.

Time to put the girls, Tomas and Little Boy back into their paddock area for the night. They seem to get along well, sharing stalls and eating together. Both Little Boy and Tomas seem happy with the female companionship.

L-R: Tomas, Gypsy, Shelby and Little Boy in the back

Michael says goodnight to Shelby

One more photo of El Mariachi.

We spent the evening listening to more of Michael’s stories and chatting away until we all called it a night. Tomorrow we were looking forward to guests at the ranch.

I slept like a baby…

Part Two of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-2/

Part Three of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-3/

The “Email Subscription” link automatically alerts you to new posts. Stay updated and subscribe today!

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction or downloading permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images. To share, click on the blog entry title. The permanent link will be displayed in your browser’s address bar. Copy this address to share.)

www.NickolesPhotography.com

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