Friday, July 12, 2024

Come on darkness!!!

"Mom, what do you think would happen if I showed up to the store completely naked?" "Well, you'd get some attention." 

"Aunt Man, a hero!" "Yes, Aunt Man is a hero." "Lochlan a hero." "Yes, Lochlan is a hero too." "Aunt Man ride ant." "Yes, and Lochlan rides a horse, even when he's scared." 

"Mom, can you imagine all the people that have looked at the stars, just like us and loved them and been inspired by them? I mean for thousands of years!" It's absolutely incredible to consider. 

"Mom, imagine if we weren't limited or bound by time... the things we would know and see and experience!" "Thank goodness we're limited by time... I wouldn't want to personally witness so much of the history of mankind." And I definitely know I'm not prepared to see the future and what it holds. The grandeur and the hardship would split me apart. I'll live it each day as it comes.

 "Mom, can I kick Madigan if he bites me?" "Big nope. 

"Mom, I think we need to laugh but we also need to cry." Truth. 

"Mom, will you get up with me at 1:00 AM and go sit underneath the stars with some hot tea? Just a date?" "Yep. Count me in." Between Lochlan and the baby horse, I'll prolly be awake anyway! 

"Mom, would you boat down the whole Mississippi River with me someday on my homemade raft?" "That may take some convincing... and a bathroom on the vessel." 

"Mom, I prayed tonight that God will take me home before you because I can't live without you beside me." "You can and will live some of this life without me beside you, but you will be given the strength when it is needed. You will be given what you need. Of that I'm sure." 

"Mom, the thing I wish for almost more than anything is a life where there are no goodbyes." "Welp, you're definitely my son." 

"Mom, do you think we could take a road trip for a couple of years just so that we can see everything together?" "Not sure how to make that happen, but perhaps we could start the journey incrementally?" 

"Mom, let's get our backpacks, put Lochlan on Devany and ride around the Peaks for AT LEAST one week." "Well, we need to think about water sources for us and for Devany, food for Devany, and a couple others 'minor' details before we get that trip in the books. But, yes, let's." 

I told Lochlan that we could not get in the hot tub until after dark. He dramatically raised his hands to the sky and yelled, "Come on Darkness!!!" I mean, I get it... 

"Mom, do you think Lochlan knows how much we love him?" "I think so." 

"Mom, you might have a tea problem." I don't know what you're talking about. 

"Mom, I touched the electric fence and I felt my brain cells rattle." "Well, what a unique opportunity!"

"Can we please focus, and have a long, quiet teatime together this morning?" "Great idea, but I'm not sure how successful we'll be at the quiet part since you are, after all, a member of this tea time experience." 

"Oh, to be a dog. I love their hearts and the way they see life." "Ah, the dog whisperer." 

"Sometimes it's so hard to choose love." Yes. And... we must. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Vodka Dinosaur

 It was dark when I set out from the house this morning to hike up my hill and sit by my tree. I felt more like sleeping a couple of additional hours, but the sunrise beckoned me...


I've had so many things to process, to consider. I've wanted to write them all out in the very moments where they are witnessed/experienced, but there is simply not that opportunity. The minutes gallop by and with them, the hours, days and even weeks. Life is incredibly fleeting. Life is large because it is filled with the tiniest details, the biggest happenings, the wonder, the horror, the beauty, the tragedy, the hope and the hope deferred. So, I pathetically attempt to capture the fraction I am able to through words, written for reflection to my boys should they need them someday. 

Lochlan is making progress. He hasn't destroyed anything for almost 2 weeks now. His rage has diminished significantly and he seems to be filling with joy again. He is a big kisser and sometimes he sits in my lap and just kisses me all over my face. Those kisses are some great smackers and he smiles the whole time. He bestows many kisses and hugs upon his tutors too, but I can't blame him because they are the BEST EVER. He had a riding accident in therapy a couple weeks ago, and I wasn't confident we'd ever get him back on a horse. However, with much assistance, some serious pep talks and some hard choices (on his part) he did get back on and did incredibly well. When he's really frustrated, he starts telling us movie titles of movies he finds poignant in one way or another, and one of them (The Good Dinosaur) comes out sounding like "Vodka Dinosaur". It brings a certain levity as the whole therapy team attempts to ease him through the session and help him overcome his own fears. We all have come to hope for our own Vodka dinosaurs. Don't judge. I still cannot get a handle on his health, and it's the frustration that keeps me awake in the wee hours of the mornings. The inability to alter his condition(s) is what drives me to bark up every tree, and fight endlessly for answers that don't seem to exist. 

I often wake in the darkness (to feed a baby horse, or really for no apparent reason at all) and ponder all the things I can't change, should change, wish I had changed, all the things I should be doing, haven't done, might do... I wish I had an "off" switch for my brain, because in truth I accomplish nothing of gain through these musings. Worry alters nothing, and making plans with a mind of fatigue is less than fruitful, so I'm learning how to stop the incoming stream of thoughts and hand them over to the still of the night, to the One I pray hears me. 

We all eventually crash into the stuff in life that we aren't prepared for, and in the process of facing those wretched hurdles, sometimes our lives change irrevocably. As I wrestle in the mud of my own life and fight against the impossible, I've been looking around at almost every single person I know and love and no one is untouched. The one supporting the ailing spouse with hope still in the heart but reality knocking with a heavy hand. The one loving and caring for the parents who are fading in all the impossible and most painful ways. The ones facing incredible pain of necessary surgeries and subsequent hours/days/weeks of effort toward full recoveries. The ones facing unidentifiable health challenges. The ones facing terrible fear head on. The ones facing deep loss. The ones facing themselves. As I observe and consider, I am certain of one thing: the darkness of tonight cannot snuff out the light of tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

New Kid(s) on the Block


One year ago, exactly, a tiny baby horse was fighting for his life. This little wild colt was found by some incredible people who were bringing water to the wild herds amidst the drought that had forced the horses out of the hills in search of water. He was septic and had been abandoned by his herd for unknown reasons, but possibly because he was sick and couldn't keep up. 

Our friends Elise and Barb drove him several hours down to the Phoenix area so that he could receive medical care. They had placed him the back seat of Elise's pickup where Barb held him all the way down. They said they thought he was going to die on the way down and their journey was delayed by a high speed chase that was happening along the highway at the same time, so it was incredibly tense because every minute counted for this baby. Elise said her phone ring is a horse neighing and at one point, it rang and the colt neighed in response to it. That phone ring may have been the quick adrenaline kick he needed for his little heart to keep beating. 

When he arrived at the vet clinic he was septic and I'm not sure how many people actually thought he would survive. Even the news covered his story. Perhaps it was a prompting of Divine nature, but as soon as I had heard about this colt and Elise's role in transporting him to his only chance at survival, I had this absolute certainty that I should place an application for his adoption, should he survive. I did not have great hope that he would survive. A couple months later, I received a call/email letting me know that not only had he survived, but he was up for adoption and we were being given the opportunity to become his family if we still wanted him. I had never even mentioned the adoption application to my family, but when I told them that "miracle baby" was being offered to us as his forever home, it was a unanimous decision that we wanted this boy in our lives. We named him Shadowfax and he was instantly bonded to Kelton; I think they were made for one another. 

We brought him home and Devany was instantly in love. Fancy wanted to kill him, or at least make him realize that he was decidedly not welcome. :-) When we felt it was safe to put him in with mean old granny and his new mom, all was as it should be. Devany and Shadowfax spent hours playing in the field together and she was wonderful about setting boundaries and teaching him right from wrong, acceptable from unacceptable. Fancy made it clear that everything he did was suspect and worthy of scrutiny, but we even caught her standing over him while he slept and sharing her hay bucket with him upon occasion. 

He is full of spirit and life. He's smart, ornery, snuggly, wonderful and naughty. We take him for walks, trailer him into the woods, bathe him, work him in the round pen, and watch him grow into an extraordinary creature. He turned into the devil trying to kill everything, including his own hay bag in March, so we gelded him. Now, our nice little boy is back, though he didn't lose all his tricks. He's still a lot to reckon with, just like his master and we're so excited to see what the future holds for this horse and his boy. He has stolen all our hearts and also the hearts of most of our neighbors who love watching his antics in the field. 

Having Shadowfax bonded with Devany when Fancy heartbreakingly bowed out of this earthly life made the loss bearable for Devany, and really if I'm being honest, probably for the rest of us too. Devany grieved, fretted and worried for several days, but this kid kept engaging her, chasing her around the field with his ball, sharing his hay bag with her and sleeping right next to her. I could tell, he was an integral part of her healing from the loss. 

When the boys and I were in Colorado, Madigan and I were hiking along a trail one day talking about Fancy. Madigan was still clearly grieving a lot. He told me that he really wanted his own horse and that if he had a choice, he'd want a mustang, like Shadowfax, or a quarter horse, like Fancy, but that he really wanted a girl. We had, as a family, talked about getting a foal out of Devany, but that process is risky and honestly it felt like a pretty big hurdle at this time. When we got back to our Airbnb from our hike, I saw a posting on FB that more foals had been rescued this year and one of them was a filly (girl). I commented on the posting that I would like adoption information when it was available. Almost immediately, Barb (yes, the same rescuer of our beloved Shadowfax :-) told me that the filly, Summer, was at her place just down the road from us, and that if we wanted her Barb could most definitely help make that happen. My heart... 

We went to see her upon our return from Colorado, and I think Madigan instantly found the love of his life. He couldn't stop smiling and she brings out the tenderness and love inside that strong man. He named her Summer Wynd, and wants to call her Wynn after his favorite horse character in the Chronicles of Narnia. 

Wynn was left behind by the herd because she had horrible stone bruises that had turned into abscesses in her little hooves and she could no longer stand, making her vulnerable, dehydrated and quite simply a liability to the herd. Her mother didn't initially want to leave her behind, but she willingly did so when the rescuers approached her and the foal. Somehow, horses know... 

Barb and Steve, her husband, cared for Wynn until her hooves were fully healed, giving her milk every three hours, doctoring her, changing out her bandages and giving her copious hours of love and attention. We were able to bring her home this past week and Madigan is proving himself to be a capable and devoted father. He, also, makes her milk and takes it to her every three hours, faithfully, grooms her, holds her, sits in her pen, wrestles with her when her feisty spirit bucks up against his own will, both literally and figuratively. When anyone comes to our house, he rushes out to make the introductions. :-) He's a very proud papa. Wynn is talkative, nickering about everything and nothing. She's absurdly adorable in every way. She, too, is spirited and full of spice, so now we have three of those. She is already adored by her two pasture mates and clearly meant to be part of this special herd. They nicker at her, lay down by her, eat next to her and gallop around with her. She is about 1 month old, the picture of health, and "a beautiful, well built horse with a great temperament", according to our vet; he agreed with us: Fancy would approve. 

We know that we are richly blessed.