My “castle” is surrounded by a moat of boot-sucking bog muck mud and glop. There’s a forest and a mail box and an entire world beyond that mud – but the moat must be negotiated before reaching Any of it. In the Florida swamps the Calusa Indians built shell mounds which became islands which they eventually were able to live on. The ponies and goats have similar “islands” around the yard built up from old hay but there is still plenty of muck to be crossed between them. The winter urge to hibernate is strong, especially when there’s only one warm room/cave! I fear that the bog moat has gotten into my psyche a bit – making it a struggle to emerge, engage, extend myself beyond my mental moat. After years of being always in public and forever with (wonderful and caring) strangers I find myself living very much inside the bounds of my home and my mind. The pendulum swings. Blessings on the Cave. Blessings on Signs of Spring!
One of the problems with my “holing up” for the winter has been a huge lag in writing postcards and thank you notes and all other forms of correspondence. I’m up to Tennessee – Please bear with me! I’m not spending much time on the ‘phone these days either, but I did have a lovely conversation with my dear Auntie Pat yesterday. She said that after she got married she had 500 thank you notes to write. She only got about 90% of them done and it took her a year to do that many. I’m three months in and half way through the 500 post cards. Her story made me feel a little better about my lack of progress and was simultaneously an encouragement to persevere because the unwritten 10% haunt her to this day – and she got married in 1969!
Last Sunday morning the sheriff and mayor of Big Creek were in my driveway because there were hoofprints in the neighbor’s yard – again. At 5:30am Saint Finehorn (who for unfathomable reasons of her own elects to respect the white tape and stay within the yard) whickered outside my window, waking me up and letting me know that Jesse James was AWOL – again. I was up and dressed and out the door in minutes but not fast enough. Jesse is now on tether until a better solution can be devised, which makes him glum. The previous Sunday somebody from the church across the street called somebody who called yet a third somebody who let me know that my goats were eating Baptist shrubberies. That was the first time the goats had ventured forth alone, but we’re back to a system of only one goat allowed out at a time. Brilliant solutions such as fences and pastures have been suggested and duly considered. A fence that will keep in both horses and goats is a spendy proposition – well beyond the current means – however I’m hopeful that by this coming Sunday we’ll have found a pony pasture at the very least.
Last Sunday the words “Turbulence Upon Reentry” kept going through my head, along with the feeling of: “I’m just no good at having a normal life.” (as if this were any sort of ‘normal’ life!) I was scrolling back through facebook messages trying to find contact information for a family in Tennessee and I barely recognized the woman and two horses living the life mirrored there! This winter has been a time of massive readjustment, not back to a comfortable and familiar sort of life, but forward into something completely new and unknown and more than a little daunting. Riding across the country with two horses was Easy and Simple compared to moving into an old house in a tiny town in Mississippi. This requires a completely different skill set and persona. When somebody recently said “You’re in Culture Shock” I remembered my brother talking about this when he was a missionary with FHI in Bolivia and that there were stages people tended to go through (just like grieving) and when I googled it there I was – the “Honeymoon” is over and I’m into “Negotiation” which happens “usually around 3 months, depending on the individual.” Bingo! though I’m not sure having a label makes me feel any better. Towards the end of the ride a former nurse pointed out that I was suffering from “Compassion Fatigue” (which he recognized from personal experience after many years of nursing). Naming it didn’t lessen the symptoms, but it at least put a new spin on my bouts of grumpy reclusiveness.
On a happy note, the glam chickens have caused no problems, continue to be entertaining visually as well as audibly, and the girls have produced 5 eggs between them in the past 4 days. Last night I made a quiche from fresh, home-grown eggs – happy day! The two roosters have taken to leaping loudly over one another’s heads; like leap frog played face to face. Not-Bowie seems to have secured breeding rights, tho whether this is due to superior leaping skills or simply because the hens think he has a better hair-do remains a mystery.
Meanwhile, in the Upper Room, during an ice storm, Angi from Ontario captured George Barnett and I on our first run-throughs trying to learn Jay Ungar’s “Ashokan Farewell” – enjoy!
(Ahem, it’s been rather a lot of years since I last picked up my cello… )
And while we’re almost on the topic of social media – if you missed it I posted a series of “Strange Yard Creature of the Day” photos on the Free Range Rodeo facebook page introducing the menagerie. You should be able to link over there from the FRR blog even if you’re not officially “on facebook”.