Sunday, April 06, 2008
I'll Tell Her
I don’t mind sharing this with you. Some of you will read this and shake your head and say, “Yup. Happens this time every year.” or “Yup. I’ve noticed it.” or “Yup. I can see it in her face. And hear it in her voice.” But regardless, this next statement is honest and true and nothing to be shocked about – it is simply a statement of fact and part of the cycle.
I’ve lost my joy lately.
This doesn’t mean I’m in a depression or needing emergency medical treatment or anything serious. It just means I’m in a funk lately. Just working hard to smile a bit lately. Just not my natural self – having to work at patience and listening and taking time to be around people. Finding myself stressed when I’m not by myself.
Seems odd, doesn’t it? Someone who sits here and writes and speaks of the joys of life sitting here now saying she’s lost her joy? Well, it happens. It happens to everyone. I’m just telling the world about it and sharing with you why I think it’s gone for a while.
Too long of a too cold winter. Miss Bette was a crisis that caused me to be on the very edge the remaining days of this past winter season. Dear Heavens! She almost froze to death! And on my watch! How could I have let that happen! Just when The ‘Other’ Herd was coaching me and telling me to relax and breathe that all would be well. WHAM! That dark cloak of death came around to threaten us. Go away! Stay away for a while! We all need time to heal!!! Miss Bette is recovering but we both aged some that night. We both have physical scars from that night. And I don’t think Miss Bette is back to her deep sleeps yet either.
And the never-ending snow has helped to rob me of my joy. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to go out and dig in the earth of the Memory Beds. To tend to overcrowded Ono. To fill in the bare spots on dear Ima. To clean up Frannie. And to decorate DukeDuke. To finish the stone boat on Jerry. And to cover and begin the enormous task of decorating Big Jim and Miss Bonita. And then there’s Slim. Just waiting for his tall, blonde grasses. Oh, to get that warm earth under my nails! The therapy in it is remarkable. The talking I do to each of them as I groom them. The songs that come out of my throat. And the tears that roll down my cheeks. Therapy. Pure and honest therapy in working in the dirt and grooming The Herd of The Crossed. The snow must move on and the spring rains must come. They must. I need to dig in the dirt.
There are worries with The Herd, too. Will Ole Man Cole be able to sustain the heat and humidity of another summer? How will Sweet Lady Grey adapt to a new pasture with new pasture mates? Handsome’s eye will be addressed but it will put this huge, gentle creature at risk. That is fearful to me. And then there’s Lanna. Her body continues to grow, it seems, rather than to shrink. And right on schedule, the dear horse is getting her winter coat. Right before the sun gets hot. What to do with her….a puzzle.
My personal situation causes great stress. The job market sucks. I’m not exaggerating or being rude, it just plainly sucks. It’s tough being an “older person” out competing with the young adults. Gonna lose that one every time! And at risk is my life’s earnings and home. So, I keep my head down and purchase nothing that isn’t a “have-to-have”. The biggest worry? Health insurance and prescriptions. Scary, scary, scary. Can’t get sick or hurt…. And need to make those meds last!
Right in there, too, is the stress of the financial projections for THE FARM. It’s a battle out there with such high fuel costs and the ever-increasing cost of living. The money to donate is drying up and without donations, we must develop new concepts and develop new avenues of funding. The ‘Other’ Herd continues to work on new ideas and I rely on them and their creative minds and continued commitment to supporting The Missions! Not an easy task, however. Not an easy task and I see and appreciate that. But the issue is still there. We need to raise or find or get the money to support THE FARM somehow. That brings stress. To all of us!
And of course, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't tell you that I worry about all of the horses out there suffering. Hungry. Cold. Abused. I talked with a Sister in Rescue this morning. And we agreed that the problem will never go away. This is one we can't fix. But it will be an itsy bit smaller because we are working for all we are worth to help all that we can. We agreed, too, that if we could only rescue one, that would be the reward. All the reward we would need. To help just one.
So you put all of that together with a growing pile of paperwork demands, and there I am. Working harder than I ever have in my life and feeling farther and farther behind. And the joy? Well, it has slipped away for a while….
And right on cue, simple things happen to realign me. Simple things will jolt me out of this spot and I’ll let the joy come back again. And one of those simple things happened last night…
Kathy and Craig and I were talking about options and plans and ideas when a vehicle pulled in to the yard. “Do we know this man?” Kathy asks. “Nope, but he’s here,” was the reply. It was a man about my own age. Driving by on his way to Menomonie. He is from the Superior, WI area and his mother and her sister and his cousin were in the car with him. He knew we were closed but he had heard about us and wondered if they could just look at the horses through the car windows.
The next thing you know we are all in the barn. “Now that’s a big one!” his mother cries as reliable Jeri-Ann comes up to the rail for pets. “Oh, and another big one!” she continues as gorgeous and enormous Babee Joy stands next to her pasture mate. And then Beauty joins us. The mother was born in Canada, you know! And Beauty came from Canada. A connection of sorts.
Unit joins us and we talk about Cole and April and Spirit. Now all of this seems rather ordinary, doesn’t it? A tad bit not-so-ordinary when you know that the mother is 96 years old. Walked in the barn under her own power, too. 96 years old. All dressed in a matching pant suit with a silk blouse and coordinated jewelry on her neck, her ears, and her wrists. Amazing. The younger sister is 92 years old. Now she was full of questions! About breeds and ages and how the horses interact with each other. Quite a pair, these two. In fact, they had homesteaded a bit of property in Woodville a long time ago, and so this was really familiar land to them. Did I know the place, they asked?
At one point, we were looking at the horses in the Helen Keller pasture and the younger sister – the one that was only 92! - says to me, “Did you see the article in the paper last week about the starved horse? The mare that used the hay and water to make milk for her baby horse? Wasn’t that remarkable how that horse thought of her baby instead of herself?”
I smiled. I told her to look out in to the pasture. See that horse that looked like a small Budweiser horse? Yes. Well, that horse is Miss April. The Miss April from that article. That’s the baby horse. The one from the article.
Her eyes flew open! “Really? Is that the horse? Really?” I reassured her that yes, that horse was April, the daughter of Ima. And yes, Ima had lived here for six years after she had arrived.
“Well, if you know the horse, you must know the lady who wrote the article then?” the younger sister asked. “Yup. I do.” I said. “And I’ll be sure to tell her you enjoyed her story! And her horse!”
Joy. It can be robbed by the stresses of life and the worries of how we are to manage. By waiting for what we know is coming soon but by not being satisfied with where we are now. Joy can disappear simply because we lack faith that all will work out. We lack belief or trust in a Master Plan and we lack the strength to surrender to the power of such a thing. Joy. It’s easy to lose it.
And just when you think you can’t stand up anymore, a simple visit by a woman in her 90’s brings you a genuine, from-the-heart smile. And I feel it inside. Yup. It’s still there. The joy is in there. Just napping for a while. Just waiting to come back. As soon as I have the faith and confidence to let it come back.
Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd