Okay, I just gotta throw this out there for a little as a little sociocultural chronological marker: This fall has been a season of the 'new', 'sexy' Miley Cyrus splashing her twerking twatty self all over the Top 10 Pop Chart. Despite the fact that I don't find her to be a breath of tongue-sticking-out(girrrrl, keep your tongue in your mouth, your clothes on and quit waggling your butt around at everyone), sexy, fresh air... I do have to give thanks for her. Without her, there would not be the YouTube parody of her 'Wrecking Ball' video. For some reason, the girls and I can watch that video over and over again and it just does not get less funny. I suppose that speaks volumes for our sanity level here at Chez Y:
Okay, I know it's stupid but you gotta take your laughs wherever you can take them. We take ourselves FAR TOO SERIOUSLY, these days.
Lemee see. In the ongoing saga of a long list of health crap that's kept us under the black cloud this past year, Vi and I both got sick about 3 1/2 weeks ago with a sore throat/cold that lasted for 12 days and then turned into a sinus infection for Vi and bronchitis for me. Awesome!! Thanks for that, Universe.
In other shitty news, we had to put Shadow down last weekend. His arthritis stopped responding to the cox-II inhibitor we had him on. Unfortunately, he went off his feed and wouldn't run around or even walk around. The vet thought it was from the pain of his arthritis which will only get worse. His teeth are shot, he'd lost a ton of weight and wasn't drinking. I think he just knew it was time to go. We had him for years after we rescued him and he was not being ridden but everyone at the ranch loved out guy because he was so sweet and patient and let the little kids crawl all over him, groom him and love on him. Saying goodbye was hard. I took the kids out of school on Friday and we went out to the ranch and had a picnic with him, complete with pureed carrots and apples. He had a good death. It was a warm, sunny, beautiful morning and we did it on the hill out back of the barn looking over the beautiful view from the ranch.
“My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the orchard at Birtwick, standing with my friends under the apple trees.” -Anna Sewell, Black Beauty
People who aren't 'horse people' don't always get it... but for me, and now for my girls, riding a horse is almost a spiritual thing. You must be completely in the present while riding a horse- it is a living being and you must give it all your attention to stay on and ride properly and appreciate the connection you have with all of life and wild things in that moment. Horses may be domesticated but they are about as domestic as the wind, they simply, graciously, allow us to be with them as they carry us. There is nothing to ground me or center me, to bring me back to my joy in life, to remind me of where I stand in the great cascade of time and nature and life, to make me whole and happy again, like riding a horse.
And so, when we said goodbye to Shadow- we did not mourn him as the loss of a pet or regard it as a loss of utility or entertainment. We grieve for him as one of our family. And if anyone has a soul, before man or any other animal, I believe horses do. How else could they teach us such great lessons about kindness, trust, loyalty, love, passion, being in the moment and living life? And so, last weekend, the world became a slightly dimmer place for us.
Horses have such unique personalities. Shadow was a laid-back love bug. You know how you might know many people iin your life but there are a couple that are like the true north to your heart's compass? You just feel like you were 'meant to be', to know each other? Well, that is how I feel about Shadow.
He was an old soul, kindred spirit and an absolute gift and I will miss him a little bit every day that I live on this earth and he does not. Honest, loyal friends who will run with you in the hills to set you free, who will never pretend to be anything more or less than they are, who will comfort you as you whisper or sob into their neck, who will hold you up when you cannot hold yourself up, who's heart beats an echo of yours, are hard to come by. Shadow was one of those friends.
[Turning the page.] It has been a busy fall. Vi is in level IV of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and she sings, well, pretty much all the time. Avery is in level III but I think she is far more enamoured of Gymnastics and spends alot of her free time at the gym. She has a couple meets coming up. Both girls have a bunch of chorus performances coming up as we move into the holiday season.
We're going to Disney World to meet up with some very dear friends of the family. I am so excited to see my friend as it has been far too long. I can't wait to sit and talk with her. Way back, oh, 20 years ago or so, she and I used to have a standing date every week or so to go get tea at one of the tea houses in Wallingford near the UW. We would talk for hours about books and philosophy, politics and culture. My soul feels a little like it has been crawling without water in the desert for a while. Seeing her will be like making it to an oasis and I will be new again.
On my side of the family it has been one drama after another. The drama of my parents 5150-ing my littlest sister when she went up to Seattle to visit my parents and other sister is still going on. I was vehemently opposed but they thought she was doing drugs or something. She had a bad misdiagnosis from a psychiatrist(she's had some PTSD issues and depression since her car accident and some life changes that happened in the wake of that) who gave her meds she didn't need to be on and it sent her spiraling.
I talk to her almost every day and we are the same- my parents and other sister just do not get us. She is now back in Texas, trying to put her life back together but in the meantime, my middle sister has disowned me(not that she ever even called me before) and my parents are treating me like the enemy because I won't go gung ho backing their plan to FIX my baby sis. Instead of alienating her, I've tried to be there for her. So she still likes to talk to me and now I am being shunned for that. Which is fine. I've had my share of losses in my life. I know how to let people go and move on. I won't preclude opening my arms to them again but they can't hurt me like they used to anymore. So it's okay. That picture of the three of us is my favorite because that is how I always think of us: laughing and goofing around. Why can't everyone just get along and love each other?
I'm currently looking for property somewhere rural. I think when the girls go off to college, maybe we will rent or sell our house here and get as close to being off the grid as possible. Then I want to travel to the world. I want to visit friends I made in my Eastern European travels, visit Aileen on the game reserve she and her husband own in Namibia. I want to live on a sailboat for a while. I want go to places where women are oppressed by religion and men and lack of education and I want to learn from them and also give them whatever knowledge I can to make their lives better. Then, I want to come home to a farm house in the middle of nowhere and work hard, riding and training horses and gardening. I want to just be alive in the world and see wonder and beauty in everything. If my girls are my magnum opus, then I want my life to be the lux et veritas.
I was thinking why Shadow might have been named Shadow... maybe it is because he could chase the shadows away. Gotta love the light.
Richard Dawkins says the following:
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?” -Richard Dawkins
I just want to be able to say I LIVED. I DIDN'T WASTE THIS CHANCE! But sometimes it feels like time is a Mack truck trying to run me down on the freeway. And sometimes it feels like I was the last to cross the starting line and I'm trying to catch up. Before we said goodbye to our Shadow, the girls begged me to put it off. I couldn't risk him going down in his stall and being in agony until the vet could come out. But the point is that all they wanted was a little more time. The thing is, usually by the time you're asking for a little more time, it is too late. So, please, for me, for Shadow, for everyone and everything I've lost or gained through the years, don't wait. Don't waste it.
And here lies an excellent place to wave around my favorite Mary Oliver quotation:
"Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
Thank you, Shadow, for all the wonderful years you shared your wild and precious life with us.