Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bart and CJ

Horses are incredible animals. My palomino gelding, Bart, will carry me up the steepest hill, across a flowing river, over a rattling bridge, past flopping tents, or chase a steer and cut it off with great agility. He will carry me long hours through prairies, forests, up a mountain side and through the deserts on trail rides and never seem to tire.

But this same strong, athletic animal can be so gentle and docile when with a child. Today I took my 3 year old grandson out for a visit to Bart. We walked way back to the back pasture where he was grazing with his friends. When he heard us call and approach, he raised his head, then walked over to join us. He lowered his head to have the halter slipped on, then patiently followed us with me holding the halter and my grandson holding the lead rope.

As we approached the barn, CJ insisted on leading Bart by himself....and did as this beautiful palomino quietly followed behind. I was anxious, worrying about if he should startle, other horses gallop up, etc, but Bart was very careful around this boy he had known since CJ first visited as an infant.

Horses have that wonderful insight about children. This horse can be so strong and aggressive on the trail or working cows, yet was as gentle as an angel around this young boy. I have often thought this special horse was an angel put in my life, and today was a guardian angel to a little cowboy who loves him.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I had a letter to mail yesterday, but when I started out the door, only one of my sandals was by the door. Rather than go upstairs to get the other one (don't ask), I figured for some reason to just go to the mailbox wearing just one sandal (again, don't ask....was just one of those things).
After a bit of walking on the sharp gravel, I was beginning to think this wasn't a very good idea. Then it occured to me....this walk was like life. One step was comfortable, the next painful....but if I kept going one foot ahead of the other, accepting that there was going to be a sharp discomfort between the easy step, I would eventually reach my destination at the mailbox.
The driveway seemed a bit longer than I had figured on....but at one point I was able to take a bit of a break by walking on the mossy side of the path. Maybe that is like those really happy times in life.....beginning a new relationship, a wonderful vacation, or a happy occasion....but then it is accepted that I would soon be back on the sharp rocks, just keeping one foot going ahead of the other. I appreciated the comfort of my Ariat sandal when I stepped on my right foot, and was prepared for the sharp rocks when it was time to step on my left foot.
I thought of how this has been like my life....I have had times of complete joy, others of devastating sadness. There have been times when I considered suicide, as I just couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was in a marriage that I thought I had no way out, money issues were too overwhelming, or I was depressed at a long, dark winter and experienced SAD. I think we have all walked with just one sandal....we accept the bad times because we know they are temporary. And if we quit walking when we stepped on the sharp stones, we would not know the relief and comfort of walking in the soft sandal. Life is not supposed to be always calm....but when the going gets rough, we have to hang on, knowing that there are wonderful times ahead.
My kids kept me from doing the action that I planned out so carefully....the music I would have playing in the car in the garage, what I would wear, the note I would leave, etc. I just didn't want them to have to deal with their mother's suicide and their wondering what they could have done, and their growing up without a mother. I have made some good and bad choices in my life, but at least I didn't choose suicide when it seemed my only option.
So as the dark days of winter approaches, and the Sunlight Affective Disorder sets in, I hope you remember my walk to the mailbox with just one shoe. Keep on step at a time....

Sunday, September 23, 2007


One of the things I look forward to the most about returning to Minnesota for the summer is going camping and trail riding with my friends up here. And now, as the first frost has brought out the colors in the trees, my favorite time of the year has arrived. The bugs are gone, the humidity is low, and the rides are among the glorious reds, golds and oranges of the maples. The sky always seems to be at it's most intense blue during September and October, and the sounds of the honking geese as their formations start heading south, the breeze blowing the drying leaves in the tree, and of hooves walking though the fallen leaves forms a music that is autumn's own.

The fall rides are beautiful, and the weather fluctuates between the warm 80's and can plummet to a frosty 25 at night. I am now bringing my silk longjohns along, and am packing the warmer horse blankets. My chili was a big hit last weekend when the weather was in the 20's at night, but today the cold drinks will taste good after a ride in the 80 degree sunshine.

Hopefully, I will have 3 or 4 more camping trips before packing up to return to Arizona. I will have wonderful friends and trails there, too, but it is hard to beat the camping in Minnesota in the fall. I treasure these last remaining days and the friends who make them so wonderful. And I am so fortunate to have my palomino buddy to share the miles....he is patient for me to find a picnic table for mounting, trusts me when I ask him to cross a stream, bridge or muddy patch, and willing to be alone on a picket line at night. He is one of those "once in a lifetime" horses that are such a blessing. Perfection doesn't exist in horses or people, but to me, he is pretty close.

Time to get off this computer and RIDE!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


The news was full of forecasts for frost warnings last night, and this morning my sister's garden in Hibbing was hit with 28 degree freezing. The good news is that the mosquitos and bugs will be gone, but it also means summer will be gone as well. The shorts and sandals will be replaced with jeans and sweatshirts, and crockpots of chili will be bubbling in many kitchens this week. I noticed Bart's coat was showing an indication of a winter coat already. Hard to believe the air conditioner was blasting full blast just last week.
And as I notice the geese beginning to flock and form V's overhead as they anticipate their journey to the warmer southern country, I find myself also getting into that preparation mode. As I bought groceries yesterday, I thought that I probably wouldn't need to buy them again before heading to Arizona next month. When I cleaned the car today, I thought of needing to remember to put it on storage insurance, and pondered as to where I would store it this winter. It has been a very enjoyable summer with daughter's wedding, class reunion, fishing, golfing, camping and riding trips, and spending time with new and old friends.
Last week Mom flew up from Arizona to get out of the ongoing heat for awhile and see her family. She had a relaxing week up north at the resort. She came on a hot day with the AC on and she put on shorts for a pontoon ride. A few days later she experienced rain, which she hasn't heard all summer in Arizona, then dug out the jeans and sweatshirts as temps dropped to the 50's. It was fun having her, and when I put her on her plane for her flight home, reminded her that I would be back down there with her in about 6 weeks!