Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Remembering "The Relaxed Max"

"The Relaxed Max"
I'd blogged previously on the subject of my time capsules and how I'd opened them after 10 years.This was a couple of months ago and the content of the two envelopes is now available as two e-books. At the time I opened the capsules I recorded the event on video.

I've now had chance to edit the video and make it available on You Tube. I hope you enjoy it.

As I explain in the video the backing tracks I've chosen are "Train in the Distance" (Negotiations and Love Songs) by Paul Simon and some background music from "Out of Africa". In the capsule I explain that as I was writing one of the notes Negotiations and Love Songs was playing in the background so I decided to use the "title track here". As the original capsule was pulled together to mark the passing of my first horse
 "The Relaxed Max" I've made this very much the theme of the video. Consequently I've included a section where I recall the day Max had such a good time at a cross country competition that he refused to load to go back home.

Cross Country with Max

According to the capsule the reason why I expanded it in 2002 was to include AE Houseman's poem "To an Athlete Dieing Young", a poem I'd become aware of through watching "Out of Africa". This reflected my sentiment that Max had gone before his time. In the video I read a small section of the poem and I've used the movie soundtrack to allow Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen to take ove reading the poem from me. 

If you wish to study the two capsules in full please follow the links below.

Introduction to the Year 2000 Capsule E-Book

People will tell you that with the responsibility of owning any animal comes the aweful responsibility of deciding when it is time for them to pass away. Of course when the time comes that doesn’t make the decision any easier, but it should help you realise that you are not alone.

When we lost our first cat, Khaz, after a long illness it had not been easy to make the decision to let him go; as a result we probably let him him hang on a little too long such that he more or less died in our arms. Such things weigh heavy on your mind, as does the realisation that you hung on to him for your own sake rather than his. I’m convinced at the end that he basically begged to be released.

When it comes to a horse then the decision takes on a whole new dimension. Here is a ton of animal, you’ve put your life in his hands (and vice versa), there is trust, deep love and respect and yet you know in your heart of hearts he can’t go on and you must make the best but final decision for him.

Such an experience is bound to leave you raw; it certainly did for me when it came to the end for my first horse, a 17 hands high Cleveland Bay called "The Relaxed Max". My way of dealing with my grief was to write down my feelings; to prepare a small tribute to the horse and what he meant to me and record it in a manner that I would be able to revisit the moment in later years.

This was the concept behind my original time capsule which I sealed up in June 2000 (having allowed time for pictures back from processing and time for further reflection). The contents are relatively simple but wonderfully poignant:
1. A letter to myself capturing my recollections of Max and the experience of those final hours
2. Photographs from his last day showing the poor condition of the ground and his poorly leg
3. An empty bute sachet!
4. A greeting card to contain it all and provide an envelope

Having read it all and relived the memories, and yes cried again, I’m so glad I did this. Memories and feelings do fade with time. This has been such an excellent way of making them vibrant again. Of course you can never bring them back, and you will never be that person again, but you can fight to keep the memories alive.

April 2012