the long day: part 3
I stopped at Starbucks next, buying the most caffeinated vanilla latte they could muster on a splurge. It's rare to get coffee that doesn't come out of a percolator or the office's machines, and never a decadent item such as that. I savored it.
Once home I felt the tiredness hit me. Always around 2pm it hits me. I drove home feeling that hollow kind of tired, too much in one day, even for me. Cripes, even the good people at the coffee joint couldn't lull me out of my torpor... But maybe a horse could?
After dropping off the supplies and the birthday hound in the house I packed up my horse gear into the truck and was about to leave when I looked up the hill again at the ewe in the sick pen. I could see her head, it was up. A good sign. I wasn't sure if she would make it or not but the fact she was looking around and no longer on her side heaving was positive to me. When I got back she'd need the second shot of Anti-toxin and another hit of antibiotics, but for now she seemed solid as could be.
I groomed, lunged, and patted Merlin. He seemed calmer after his morning freak out. I wondered (silently to myself and then allowed to other folks in the arena) if horses just have off days? Andrea, who was riding a Warmblood named Kanan laughed and said ponies certainly did. I laughed too. Merlin was starting to shine a little more in spirit and energy. I guess I'd have to be ready for him when he was feeling his oats. I patted his big black butt. Challenge accepted.
It amazes me that no matter how tired I am, or sick, or stressed out: around horses it fades into the background. You can't focus on yourself in those selfish ways around these animals. They demand the best of you, in kindness and in discipline. From the moment I take that lead rope from the pasture to the cross ties and start the gentle work of brushing out mud, combing locks, and picking hooves I am transported away from my own problems. I have tactical and practical tasks at hand and all of it a meditation in preparation for this sacred act of riding. And once you are connected to this beast through straps of leather and metal, you can't get lost in your own thoughts, you NEED to focus and connect. Maybe better riders can drift, but my novice legs and hands need to be entirely there. By the time I have dismounted and we are walking back to the cross ties I feel the way I used to feel at the monastery after an hour of meditation. Clean. New.
Take that, Starbucks.
When I returned to the farm I had the usual chores, and I have to admit I slogged through them. My horse high was memory, and I still had a sick ewe to reload with medicine, grain, sweet water and attention. I called Shelly for the medication and she left it in her mailbox for me to pick up. I did, leaving some money in its place.
When I tended to her, I realized she had moved. She was in another corner of the small shed, head up and alert but far from her water. I carried the bucket to her and she drank a lot, thirsty as Job. I snuck the needles into her, and she flinched a little. I took her fighting the needle, even that little bit as a good sign. I poured her grain in a container and asked her to walk to it. She tried to stand and collapsed. I sighed and brought it to her, feeling deep in my heart she was a goner. I loathed the idea of putting a bullet in another sheep. I handed her the grain and she ate. I said a prayer and left her to her sleep.
By the time the farm was ready for bed I was starving and in need of respite. I made a quick dinner, fed the dogs, and poured a stiff drink before lighting up the wood stove. It wasn't cold out, but cold enough to like some heat going while you sleep with the windows open. I hoped for a bit of rain, maybe a thunderstorm. It seems like ages since I heard thunder and I missed him. Very, very much.
The day was done. My dog was two. My sheep was under the grace of prayer and time. I turned on Braveheart for the pure therapy of it and I was asleep before I even took a sip of my rum.
P.S. When I walked outside the front door this morning that cotswold ewe was standing at the gate bleating for grain! She totally recovered!!!
storm in washington county, ny: grandma moses