Little Mare Rituals

Another job interview today. I’m still in heavy denial about the prospect of teaching at two different colleges (one 80 miles from home, the other 40–and in the opposite direction). Gas will never go above $4/gallon again, right? Right….?

Just like it’s not possible to die from an NPR overdose after driving several hours every day. And pigs will fly.

But they’re luring me in with the prospect of teaching a mass communications class, which I think would be a lot of fun.  I like teaching comp,  but I absolutely loathe the grading.  The college I work at makes us assign five essays in eleven weeks, plus an essay final. I did the math.  I wind up spending over 80 hours a quarter grading essays. Holy Ass Calluses, Batman! 

Turns out the woman who interviewed me today is also an amateur birder, and I had just happened to bring along an old newspaper with all of our birding photography in it. I think being an animal person is like having a secret handshake…whenever you meet someone who’s a fellow enthusiast, you immediately have background.

The issue I brought with me to show my interviewer had the photo below on the front cover.  My old boss (publisher) was horribly nervous about this photo–he believed that editors should be heard but never seen–but I knew it would work. People loved it.

Finally my boss admitted he thought it was strange that I’d be willing to poke so much fun at myself. “I hate to say this, but your eyes look so weird in this picture,” he said.

I think one of the reasons I like this picture so much is because I’ve had to do so many bizarre things for news photos (standing on my car, walking through orchards to accident scenes, shooting in spelt fields when it was 100 degrees, etc.)

This was my chance to show people what a regular day was like for a news photographer.

The hardest part was trying to keep the grass clump balanced on my head (while keeping dirt off the venerable old Nikon). Camouflage provided by gray flannel bedsheet. Twin size.

In horse news, Dove’s looking more like herself now. We finally got our windy day today, which ought to knock back the skeeter population a bit.

Although the girls rarely roar out to pasture, this morning Dicey (my old mare) took just a few steps out of the gate and paused. She didn’t look nervous or upset, but I still went over to her (let’s just say it’s not normal for the ultimate foodie to be uninterested in morning pasture after being locked up all night).

She touched me gently with her nose, and I rubbed her cheek before she slowly pulled her head away. Only then was it was okay to amble out to the clover. I had to grin, thinking about how I’d been so lost in thought this morning about my stupid interview that I hadn’t bothered to tell her “hello” like I usually do.  Guess as far as Dicey is concerned, my “hello” to her every morning is as important as opening the gate.

Mugwump has a heartbreaking post about the mare that she trained that she used to greet every morning. This mare   had to be sold, and she knew she had to stop treating her like “her” horse in order for the mare to make the transition to the new owner.

I’ve wondered if geldings have the same attachment to little rituals–maybe someone can enlighten me on that one. One time–ONE TIME–last winter I stupidly tried to feed my three out of order. (Of course HRH has always been fed first.) The way Dice carried on, you would’ve thought the universe was imploding.

I know our little conures really enjoy the cycle of household life…now we bathe, now we eat, now we go to bed.  It seems to give them a real sense of security. Funny how our other domesticated animals (cats and dogs) don’t seem to have that same investment in ritual as prey animals do (unless food is involved, naturally).

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One response to “Little Mare Rituals

  1. Thanks for visiting and commenting – I very much appreciate it. Love the photo – can see why it gave the editor pause! (Liked your earlier post about deserving our horses very much.)

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