Wednesday, November 2, 2011


That streaking flash that just went by I think was the month of October. I remember at some point in late September looking at my cell phone calendar and noticing that nearly every single day had a dot on it, indicating that there was something planned for that date. Since then, those dates have run together and meshed into a blur, some of those planned events happened, some did not happen, and then there were some that weren’t planned that did happen. In the immortal words of John Lennon “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” For the past month, this is so true.

October, traditionally for me, has been the month of relief. The long hard grasp of summer has usually slackened and has gone making way for the fun stuff I like to do outside and on the farm, like riding my horses without the stress of the heat and humidity, clearing and planting a winter garden, and tidying the flower beds.

It is also the usual month for my hosting a four day clinic with my dressage guru, Jeff Moore, which entails my being host to many horses and their riders, and Jeff, and trying to make sure that everyone has a safe and good experience during their four day emersion into learning more about how to train their horses. There are several preceding weeks of tidying the farm and setting up arenas, relocating my own horses to accommodate visitors, and various brain numbing things that I do to make the thing happen that no one ever sees or notices, but would, if I didn’t do them. It is very hard work and stressful to pull off, but worth the effort to get the opportunity to ride with such an insightful teacher as Jeff.

This October had a mind of its own however. Somewhere about the second week, as I was readying for the clinic, and doing a myriad of other things to check off my “ to do” list, I spontaneously broke a rib. Well, that was not known at the time, I simply thought I has slipped a rib out of place, pulled a muscle...something, but any had no idea that I had indeed cracked one. Pain is something I can be quite stoic about. Having been a rider for most of my life, and have been in various sports along the way, I have been subject to no small amount of injury and wear and tear. So a new pain was new, but nothing new. So onward I pressed, running through the course of my charted out days, gobbling up Advil when I passed by the kitchen. I managed to ride the four days of the clinic, nearly vomiting at the sharp pain getting on and off the horse, but dealing with it.

It was after the clinic that a friend made me promise I would go get it examined. I did and sure enough the ol’ T10 on the right hung there cracked and dangling in my shadows of my xray, pressing perilously close to my lung. I was fairly stunned at the vision of what I had been running around, riding, moving hay, lunging young enthusiastic horses, and how close I had come to putting that pointed chard into my breathing bag. Now the pain got its deserved attention, and my plans for an enjoyable remaining October get derailed. I was sidelined, still am, and will be until the pain goes away and another picture of the thing says it’s healed. Drat and double drat. I do not like down time and side lines.

My older horses think vacation time is great and have had no problem with not working. The younger ones miss my attention and give me question when I feed them as to why no play time with them. It is very hard to see these days of glorious weather go by after months of hell, and not get to taking advantage of them riding. I have been through this before, though, and I do know that this too, shall pass. I find little comfort in this thought and struggle to find things to occupy my energy, that won’t do further damage, sitting here wrapped up snug with a horse leg wrap.

Halloween marked the end of October and fell on a Monday night this year, but most folks seemed to make a weekend long event out of it. By hideous circumstance I happened to need to go to Walmart on Sunday and was once again marveling at how that anytime I have graced the doors of the giant box of stuff, I always feel that I am the best dressed, and probably the most intelligent, person that I see there. This Sunday though was special. It took me quite a while to realize that what I was marveling over in this melting pot place of social dregs, were folks actually in costume for Halloween, and then it made me giggle that I had so much trouble telling that they were. The young girl who I thought might be handicapped was really doing the zombie thing, totally in character, oozing through the store, eyes glazed, arms out stretched, and feet dragging. It was just another surreal experience in that store and a further reminder of why I try to avoid it.

A very lovely baby shower also closed out the month, for my daughter, who will very soon be delivering our first grand child, a girl whose early nickname was Ninja because of her bouncing around her watery playpen in the sonograms. My daughter grows exponentially now and at lunch yesterday we sat in similar positions with me protecting a rib, and her trying to find a place, anywhere, to eat, breathe, and be comfortable with a still very active little girl kicking and pressing, with no success. I have really not processed this idea of a new person hitting this world soon, that I am connected to as a “grand parent” but I am told that it will hit like a brick when it does. Part of my time spent being on the side line is now making curtains for this future child’s nursery. It is a contemplative activity as I do so, and I remember my time spent before my daughter was born, also sewing and making things to fluff the nest. The cycle repeats, again.

Halloween did provide a first occasion for us, however. We have lived in this house on these acres, far from town and neighborhoods, for about fifteen years and until this Monday night, have never had one single trick or treater. Just as we were about to get our plates for dinner the other night, some lights pulled down the driveway and up to the back door. Mark went to the door and quite surprised, realized some kids were really doing the Halloween thing, asking for candy. Fortunately, I had some small candy bars left over from some I had bought for the recent clinic and was able to oblige them. It also, thankfully, removed the temptation for me to eat these chocolate goodies late at night when my resolve to eat healthy is at its weakest.

With November’s beginning, the firewood pile has been replenished, a few leaves have turned yellow and have fallen, (99% make their way into the pool of course), and I face my closet and wonder how to dress for this season, again. Another of a reoccurring thing is the return of a cat, who has been seen on this farm for many years now, only showing up in the late October, early November time, to share the horse feed that I put out for the young ones. She is a dark calico, always covered in the sandy dust she loves to roll in, as she coyly waits for the horses to allow her close enough to share their grain. For some reason the dogs rarely chase her, and she will stay until spring, hiding in the barn, sitting on my parked carriage, and leaving paw prints in the sand beside the little pond.

Another cup of herbal tea and I am off to finish the curtain project. November looms ahead with little in the way of a real directional path. There are things which will happen, and some that are planned which probably won’t, and most of which I will have little control over, such as the outcome of the biggest football games to happen in memory.

This Saturday, Alabama vs. LSU. All I can say is…..ROOOOOOLLLL TIDE, ROLL.

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