Horses as Reality Bookends

The cuffs of my jeans are still damp from my jaunt out in the pasture to ask the mares in this evening. I don’t know how much rain we got today for sure–my guess is probably about an inch. That ought to help repair some of the bare ugly dirt overgrazed portions of the pasture. (We’ll see.)

By now, I should have cultivated the ability to be amused about how all of the annual precipitation in the central Wash. desert occurs after the growing season is essentially over.

But no. Sorry, but it still pisses me off.

I’ve been fighting a terrible head cold this week, and since I’ve been suffering through 12-hour teaching days (thanks to teaching at two community colleges and 200 miles of driving twice a week)  I think I can safely add the adverb “valiantly” (as in: “she was valiantly fighting a head cold”).

When I’m sick, the worst thing is worrying about the Dreaded Coughing Fit. I don’t know why, but I seem to be especially prone to these things. When I was a reporter, I used to fret about sitting through long meetings if I had a cold, since long periods of sitting still seem to cause these horribly fierce coughing fits.  Yes, I have interrupted more than one municipal government meeting in these parts by running out the front door while barking like an aggressive Rottweiler.

The Coughing Fit consists of a throat-tickle that will NOT go away, even after liberal applications of water and cough drops. My eyes water. I turn bright red. I look like someone who is mourning the death of a very close relative for about ten minutes. It’s very embarrassing.

I had one of these delightful fits happen during my first face-to-face meeting with one of our full-time faculty members last fall. I tried to be cool about it, but I wanted to die. I was really sick, and I’d just raced across campus to make a meeting with him before he left for the day. I’m sure I made an excellent first impression.

Last night, one of my favorite students from my mass communications course had a question after class. I felt the dreaded catch in my throat while she was asking her question.  Although I had my water bottle and a cough drop handy,  I could tell she was taken aback by my streaming eyes and helpless hacking. I tried not to be embarrassed (okay, YOU try keeping 24 people entertained for over two hours), but I still felt like a TB patient.

Anyway. On the way out to see the horses today, it struck me again how much I rely on them if I’m having trouble staying on an even keel. Sometimes I think that one of the main benefits of having horses is the very repetitiveness of farm chores– those daily feedings serve as kind of a reality bookend to all kinds of daily weirdness. No matter how strange or trying your day is, at least you know that at 6 p.m. you’ll be throwing hay…just like you did today, and like you did the day before that.

Tonight I got to see the “girls” as they seldom appear, because we live in such a dry climate. Whenever it rains like this, they look like Hollywood starlets to me–the wet creates  shining gowns that seem specifically sewn to enhance their figures.

And I thought, once again, how grateful I am to them for bookending my life.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Horses as Reality Bookends

  1. Our horses do tend to ground us, in a good way. Sorry to hear about your cold and worse that cough. It sounds like something my husband tends to get, he has allergies and asthma and the cold just exacerbates the lungs. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. “Tonight I got to see the “girls” as they seldom appear, because we live in such a dry climate. Whenever it rains like this, they look like Hollywood starlets to me–the wet creates shining gowns that seem specifically sewn to enhance their figures.”

    -That was just beautiful.

    When I’m having a bad day I just go sit in the pasture and watch them graze. It helps immensely.

  3. Sorry you’re feeling poorly – I hope you have a speedy recovery. Please take good care of yourself!

    Ditto on the zen of barn chores. Over the last month my horse time was the only thing kept me from totally unraveling.

  4. I am sorry you’ve got such a horrid cold and cough and hope that you’re on the mend now.

    I have long known that the one reason I’m on this earth is to feed horses. There is nothing more grounding and enjoyable to me, no matter the weather, than feeding. The smell of the grain, the hay, the horse, the sound of the grain hitting the bucket, my mares and pony chewing, checking the water trough, spreading out the hay, checking their legs, and burying my nose in Asia’s mane while she eats, all of that I miss more than anything else now that I’ve moved to an apartment.

  5. That is a great way to describe having horses in your life. I can very much relate to those too-busy, not to talk of feeling-ill days, when what grounds you at the end is the time with your horse. Get well soon and continue to enjoy your bookends.

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