Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumn raking and riding

colors at sunset out my back door

My truck and trailer, 52' long and I can lock, load, drive and fix it!
Last week I rode my horses from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron on the Michigan Trail Rider's fall color tour.I am never happier than when I am a-horseback in the middle of nowhere especially in autumn when the stroke of nature's hand has painted the trees in flaming colors.

Avoided many potential train wrecks along the way. Took a girlfriend who is a girlie girl and of no help. First night I realized I had forgotten my down blanket and it was 14 degrees. B with a shitload of rrrr's. Donned most of my warmest clothes and slept with the pup, Rodeo, between us. Still more than cold. Bucket water frozen solid. Malfunctioning water heater on trailer which I managed to fix myself by reconnecting a wire in that tangled mess under the cabinet. I am, as an understatement, a mechanical moron, but necessity is the mother of invention and I had at it and actually fixed it, a true blessing, that warm water and heat.

Then in the middle of the night, I checked on horses on picket line. Chance had managed to wrap the lead line around his BACK hoof and had pulled quick release knot so tightly I had to cut it to release him. He was standing frozen in place, thankfully. I wonder if he wasn't going into shock from cold and fear or if he just knew he was hobbled. I always sleep with one eye open or some back of the mind thought to check horses in the middle of the night. They usually look at me like, "why are you shining that bright light in our faces? We're just standin here." But sometimes not and this was one of those times.


stopping for a drink
I'm good for a one dog night...

I can ride both horses bareback again and that's another real big thing to me. Gracie, she's just plain dependable, but Chance has been a challenge. Now, I'm comfortable and we've gained our trust in one another. Riding bareback allows me to connect in a completely different way with my horses. The motion of their muscles, their reactions, their warmth, their power, their stride...their's a feeling of being more in tune and rhythm with them, and an ultimate trust and a learning of balance and motion.

After riding yesterday, followed by hot thai chicken pasta and hot chai tea, I went out to rake leaves. Yes, rake. Don't like noisy blowers and it's good exercise, a free gym and a meditative activity. The leaves were twirling down, swaying  like tiny colored boats on waves of air, covering the ground as fast as I could clear them. The raking is repetitive work, stroke, stroke, stroke into piles. Each leaf is different in pattern and color and I become a child wanting to collect and press and save them all. It is akin to chop wood, carry water. And i find it joyful, not a chore.

Today I am hacking as i have been ill and overdid yesterday as it was the first day in many i was well enough to have the energy to get out of the house...and so I rode and raked and loved the day.

Today I can rest...for awhile. Then I must live!

it's grand to be alive...and partially well at least.