Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wally Gives Me a Lesson In Serenity

It is Sunday morning and I brought a folding chair and the only TV stand I own over to my new house.  It is not quite finished, but the phone and Internet service were restored Friday morning.  So... here I am in this wonderful little home, having my morning tea and cream, and writing the first blog from the new office.  The view is to the south and west now, entirely opposite of the old view.  I wonder what will change? 

The dogs are confused.  They know I am in this house, but they are hanging around the old house, not quite sure where they are supposed to station themselves in order to be my constant companions and protectors.  (Well, in Jake's case, the constant Irritant Supreme.)

I can see ALL of the birds who frequent the small feeder hanging in the old "front yard".  There are so many!  I had no idea such a small amount of seed would attract so many, and such a variety of birds.

Building a new house has been a very long and drawn out experience of disappointment and anxiousness.  Though  the end is in sight, there are many things that must happen yet.  Despite myself, I worry about what could easily go amiss, taking this beautiful little corner of the earth away from me. 

Thursday was farrier day for my horses Ginger and Wally.  Ginger was her normal stubborn self.  When you are the queen of the known universe, you do not have to worry about keeping anyone but yourself happy.  Wally, bless his big lovable heart, gave me a much needed lesson in serenity.  As he has grown accustomed to being the apple of every one's eye, he has gradually assumed a regal and haughty demeanor.  He does not even acknowledge me when I bring his oats in the morning!  He has also decided he does not have to move out of my way.  If I crowd him, he moves toward me.  Not in a threatening way - just letting me know who rules the kingdom, in his not so humble opinion. 

He wanted to rub his big head against me because he had to wear his halter.  It must be a fairly significant horse insult.  I finally slapped his neck quite forcefully, and I could feel a spike of self-righteous anger filling my belly.  He got that message loud and clear.  Later when he did not want to behave for Terrie and started crowding her, I was greatly dismayed.  Terrie told me not to start expecting him to behave like that, so I immediately took a deep breath and relaxed.  Wally immediately stopped misbehaving.  As I made a conscious effort to remain unworried and calm, thinking of how happy I was to have Wally and Ginger in my life, and how grateful I was for Terrie's expertise and genuine care for the welfare of my horses, and more such thoughts, Wally's eyes began to droop as Terrie trimmed and filed and sanded his hooves.  I entered into that safe and quiet state of mind that is a horse's preferred and natural state of being.  I once knew this effortlessly and perfectly as a child around my father's horses, but I had forgotten its essence entirely as an adult.  Oh, I knew to remain calm, but I had forgotten what it felt like to enter into that easy state with the horse.  But Wally reminded me.  I have been a little bit high on life since Thursday when Wally showed me once again how easy and desirable it is to be in the moment, and to appreciate the simple fact that we are alive.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Who Is Running My Mouth On Any Given Day?

I know I have lived alone since the end of summer 2005 when my baby left for college, so it is to be expected that my social skills might grow a bit rusty.  People grow eccentric and "dreamy" living alone if they are not careful.  Because no one is around to care, I talk to the animals, cuss at inanimate objects (flat tires for instance), and argue with myself.  In fact, I have to be careful at the grocery store.  Sometimes I catch myself speaking aloud there.  It is incredibly embarrassing!  I might be deep into a replay of a real and remembered conversation, performing edits.  You know - what you wish you had said?  I must appear so crazy and pathetic.

I saw a poor elderly person just the other day walking along, cussing, shaking her head, having a terrible dispute with either people only she could see, or people she only remembers, like I do.  She is who I am devolving into, I guess.  (Note to self:  in the near future, when I am routinely speaking to myself in public, make absolutely certain to be well dressed before I leave home - far better than I usually dress now.  Talking out loud to invisible people while dressed like a bag lady paints such an entirely unfortunate picture.)

So, yesterday, I am in fact talking to real person, Dan the builder of my new house, going over a host of final details:  does this door open to the left and in, and what shelves do I want in this closet.  So, already I am in the part of my brain that requires imagination and possibilities, and in that stream of consciousness, I was saying the goddamnest idiot stuff!  Whatever came into my mind, I said out loud.  Oh my GOD.  I am certain Dan and the other guys who heard it all are convinced I am bat-shit crazy.  I do not know much about bat shit, but it must be the worst sort of crazy an old woman can be. 

As I was walking away from the house, I wanted to turn around and shout back to those men, "I'm not really bat-shit crazy!  You just caught me at a bad time of the morning!"  Luckily for me, I was able to slam a halt on that impulse.  Oh my God.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Once He Knows She Loves Him...

The Handsome Walai Lama

Her Majesty The Queen
There have been changes in my horses, in their relationship, since last fall.  The thrill is gone.  They spend time apart in the pasture, though I am certain if I were to lead Wally away from Ginger, she would become agitated and vocal.  I am not entirely sure Wally would care if I led Ginger away.

The most striking change has been in Ginger, in her unwillingness to kick or bite Wally.  She no longer angrily enforces his adherence to the dictates of good horse etiquette.  He was even allowed to eat oats at the same time she was eating oats from the same bucket one morning!  I stepped back expecting an outraged squeal and a bite, maybe a kick.  All she did was flatten her ears and toss a half-hearted warning that she could bite him, if he were just worth it.  (Women, we all know that feeling, don't we?)  He casually walked to his own bucket as if he had just scored.

Wally's behavior toward me has changed, too.  I am the at the very bottom of his list of peasantry, even lower than I am in Ginger's estimation!  I am not allowed to pet his neck when he is eating oats - the very same oats I toil in the cube farm to purchase by the 50 pound bag, which is almost too heavy for me to handle - the oats I bring to his royal pain-in-the-assness every morning regardless of the temperature or weather conditions. 

According to the horse experts on RFD, the dominant horse is the one who makes the others move.  So, I was trying to brush the dirt from Wally's royal hide, something he clearly cannot do for himself, and he would not move his hind end to give me room.  I told him to move and he ignored me.  I pressed my thumb into the muscle of his hip and kept the pressure on.  Instead of moving away from that pressure, he leaned into it.  I pressed harder and he stepped toward me!  I slapped his rump for such an affront.  Instead of just stepping over, like he knew I wanted him to do, he spun his rear end entirely 180 degrees away from me.  Oh, he is thinking quite highly of himself these days!

But the most remarkable change is Ginger's total refusal to correct Wally at all.  He is always threatening to cross the clearly established line of who eats first.  Between the fence panels and the round pen, there is only about a 20 foot space, so Ginger can defend her right to the first bucket easily by standing there with her hind end pointed at Wally.  He cannot get around her.  She bucks up and threatens to kick, but does not.  He dances away, but he is always crowding her, always pushing his luck, and constantly scheming how to get his way.  What a ying yang he is!

The other day I witnessed Ginger repeatedly bucking and threatening to kick Wally.  He did not even move out of range, confident she was not going to clobber him.  He just tossed his head and mane around like he was handsome, and desirable, and well loved, and she did not tell him differently.  Poor Ginger.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Looking In the Mirror

We weather life's vagaries and our faces take on character, or so we are told.  In reality, it is a polite way of saying someone is looking pret-tee damned old.  (Do you hear me sighing?)  I am developing a lot of character in my face these days and I hate to look in the mirror to be reminded.

Character is why the institution of marriage is so highly valued.  If you are not legally locked into a long term relationship by the time character shows up in your face,  you are not likely to find a loving mate for those "golden years".  People know just from seeing all that character that you are not going to tolerate any foolishness - no concrete animal sculpting, no NASCAR hat collections, no living with eighteen ferrets.  It is in every one's best interest to marry young and just endure until the end.  Really. 

So, now that my sterling character is transforming my face (into one very like my Great Aunt Ruth's, for God's sakes), and I have gladly given up the hope of ever finding the man of my dreams, what is left?  Apparently, I successfully raised my offspring to be anarchists not interested in reproducing, so I do not even have grandchildren. 

The pleasures of grandchildren might be a myth, too.  If I recall my sweet daughter throwing herself down in front of the Cabbage Patch doll display, screaming and thrashing about, or drag-racing my old car until the engine blew, I cannot be fooled by that "sugar and spice and everything nice" claptrap about little girls.  My only son was such a willful child that I got in fights with at least one household in every neighborhood we lived in.  One woman sent her poor husband to my front door twice because she claimed she was going to kick my ass if she came in person.  Well, she can spin it that way if she likes but we all know who was going to get her ass kicked...

Okay, so maybe grandchildren are not the answer to this character in my face, this new maturity.  I guess there is nothing much to be done.  I see the beautiful women of my generation transforming themselves into unappealing caricatures of their once natural beauty with surgery and butt fat in their lips, the skin on their necks pulled so tight they look unnatural and uncomfortable.  It is not a crime nor a sin to grow old.  It is merely difficult...  which adds more character...