In the last nine years my life has remained essentially unchanged though a lot has happened.
Both of my children have graduated from college and both have earned Masters Degrees.
|My only son, MBA, May 2017|
|My Only Daughter, MCP, December 2010|
The Good Dog Duke lived out his sixteen years and died in the rain with me by his side trying hard not to grieve too profoundly as he took his leave. I miss him still. Duke's duties were half-assedly assumed by Jake the Bad Dog, who actually is not bad but simply ill-suited to "farm" life. Duke faithfully marked his territory every single day, just in case those wild cousin coyotes got to thinking they could muscle in. Jake just takes a whiz when he needs to go. Duke always put himself between me and any potential threat, even when he was an old dog with impaired hearing and dimmed eyes. Jake hides under the porch or barks uselessly from a safe distance away from both the threat and me - (he is not going to take one for the team). Due to the dumb ass getting hit by a car, he is now the most expensive animal I have ever owned - and the most useless. It simply works that way sometimes.
Little Mattie is the next candidate up for farm dog duties. She is a pure bred German Shepherd, 100% black except where her tiny little puppy whiskers got into the white paint of the bookcase I was refinishing this past weekend. I have no idea yet if she will be the Duke's replacement. She is bossy and tears into Jake though she only weighs six pounds. She absolutely has diva qualities - a canine version of Ginger, the dominant little mare who rules the small kingdom of Spiritcreek. Time will tell.
|Mattie with the collar I estimated would fit her day one, and the cat collar I had to buy when faced with reality. (Her parents are both over 100 lbs.)|
I said hello and good bye too soon to my dear little Orphan Annie, the unkept and ill young mare purchased from the slaughter truck. That sweet spirit with a fine sense of humor had so little time on this earth. She had just grown into her long legs when an accident at the trainers cost her life, breaking my heart into a million pieces. It took a long time to find another horse for Ginger to boss around but Wally finally showed up, all handsome and gentlemanly. He is light of bone and fleet of foot as all Arabians are. He tolerates Ginger's bossiness because - well, like me, he has no choice. Everything will go smoothly as long as we all acknowledge that she is the Supreme Being, so that is what we do.
There were the chicken adventures that ended with a sweet little Dutch Bantam hen, the lone survivor, going to live next door as the First Wife of Mr. Blackie the head rooster. The pen and the coop were recently repurposed over in Osage County and now house beloved ducks in a much less rural setting than here, so their mortality will surely not be in constant jeopardy the way my poor little chickens always were.
I am winding down a long, fruitful career and will soon be retiring to stay home all the time. I wonder how I will adjust to this final lap of my life? I think I will absolutely love not having all the petty office politics and headaches and irritations, though I will miss some of the people. I will miss the opportunity to stay current with technology. I will miss the work itself but I have my own work to do now. Maybe I will be able to have a few tomato plants once I have the time to tend to them. I will have time to appreciate my horses instead of simply being their servant. I will have time to teach Mattie a thing or two, and perhaps even Jake will benefit from some constant, unhurried attention.
I look forward to having the immense blessing of time to greet the dawn and remain in one spot as the sun travels across my beloved Kansas skies - and quietly move forward in time with the turning of the seasons - greeting the hummingbirds in May, the lightning bugs of June, the hot, fertile days of harvest. I will be home to watch the leaves fall, baring the grace of the trees. I will have the time to catch a glimpse of a coyote or a fox, a bob cat or an eagle. And if I get snowed in during the winter, it will not be a hardship. From my beloved few acres, I will have time to consciously and constantly love and appreciate the intricacies of this amazing earth spinning mysteriously through a universe all but unknown to our species. I will have time to wonder.
I will have time and silence to deeply commit to my meditation practice. I think I am looking forward to that as much as anything else. Who knows what might arise from a quiet consciousness? I hope I have many, many more years to enjoy my little house here on the prairie. I will continue to write about my ordinary adventures so y'all come back, ya hear?