The horse's pasture to the East...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


May was always my second favorite month. (My first was clothes, supplies, books, teachers, subjects. I love to learn!) It was the last month of school and the first part of Summer...the best of both ends of the spectrum, a beginning and an ending.

I'd sit there in every class, doing a mental countdown and watching the clock. There were tests with all of the usual nightmares the night before. Mine always involved wrong classrooms, being naked and not prepared to take any test! and any other horrible thing that the young mind can concoct when under stress.There were end of school parties, show and tell about where we were all going during the Summer and the anticipation of endless days. I'd plan on stacks of Library books to read, swimming, baseball, freckles on my nose (much to my Mother's consternation!) and laying in the grass watching the clouds drift by. All of that time on my hands to use my imagination, dream, think and just be. Bliss!

The last day was the best. All we did was go to school and put in our time, waiting for the bell to ring. When it went off, everyone...even the teacher...would jump up and GO! The kids weren't really supposed to run down the hallways yelling, but almost all of us would. My trick was to do cartwheels and flips down the hallway and walk out of the doors on my hands. It was expected. If I didn't do that, they'd make me go back inside and come out again. I was a one trick pony and I looked forward to it every year. There would always be a teacher at the door who said " Now Nancy...that's not really a very safe way to leave the school grounds, now is it?" But no one ever stopped me either.

I'd run all the way home, excited because it was here...SUMMER! Sleeping in every morning, breakfast whenever I wanted it, my dog Shotsi at my side and time, all the time in the world. I was a Buddhist and never knew it. I was completely in the "now" past, no future, no clocks or schedules. All I did was breath and follow my heart. It was wonderful!

We had no air conditioning so the sound of the fan running and screen doors slamming were an important part of the background to me. I always had a vegetable garden that my brother and I grew tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce and spinach and, sometimes, even peas in. I loved standing in the garden after watering it and squishing the cold mud up through my toes. It was good dirt because my Grandpa always helped us to get it started. It was mulched with compost from his farm, so the vegies would leap out of the ground. We always had extra to share with the neighbors. Somehow the tomatoes were bigger and sweeter then.

I still love May second best. It's an old habit, and not one I want to change either. Even when the weather is record breaking high the way it has been the past two days (95 yesterday and 96 today and the afternoon's only half over!), it's beautiful. Here in Kansas the average temperature in May is 50. That doesn't mean somewhere between 40 and 60. It's more like an average between  zero and 100! Part of the price we pay to live in some of the prettiest grass lands in the US, or that's what I tell myself when I'm sitting here sweating because I refuse to turn the AC on until July. I still like the sound of screen doors slamming and the birds and wind outside too much, to cut myself off from it.

Our Mockingbird is back too. It sits in the top of the Catalpa tree just outside my bedroom window, singing it's heart out. I start and end my day listening to it sing like a Robin, a Cardinal, a Finch. Who knows what the Mockingbird's real song is? It's so busy singing the chorus to all the other birds, it doesn't really matter. It sings before the sun comes up and after it sets too. Hearing all of the daytime songs at night is another piece of the magic of Summer.

We're working on a new beginning here too. I've never adopted a mostly adult dog before. There are so many unexpected things to work on. Mrs. Miniver is settling in here very nicely, but she is a bit needy too. She was at the Humane Society for six weeks before I found her and put my application in to adopt her. And who knows how long she was on her own, looking for her person and trying to understand what happened to them. She knows she's been saved (although the Humane Society here has a no kill policy) . There were all kinds of small and medium sized dogs flying out of there, but she and most of the other larger dogs were languishing in the cement kennels, waiting.

When we came home, it was obvious that she'd never seen a staircase! She stood at the top of it, looking down at me, with a puzzled look on her face. It took her a good ten minutes or so to come down to me. She's only just started to express herself too. This morning was really the first time she offered to play with me, getting down on her front feet and putting her wagging tail in the air. We're going to have to work through some of her unknown issues as they present themselves. No worries! We'll be in the "now" and deal with them as they come to the surface.

[ "Let me hold that for you John."]

We've had to go back several steps with the horses too. They're more aware of her as a potential predator, so we set up the temporary fence we use when the horses go OUTSIDE (out side the fence to graze) and went back to ground work one at a time. I worked with Mini while John played with Apache and, then, vice versa with me playing with Lucky while he worked with Mini.

It was a bit more intense when I was with Lucky. She came bounding out, barking at Lucky, ready to "save" me. It was a good opportunity for me to do some Approach and Retreat with Lucky and Mini. He was a bit nervous at first and then he lost interest in Mini and paid attention to me. That was a real breakthrough for us too. It was so exciting, that he didn't want to put his head down much at all. Between me keeping him occupied and giving him pauses "between the notes" and John working with Mini to teach her to be polite, it was a very interesting session. I have to admit I really enjoyed the challenge of it too!

Lucky's energy came up and we were able to do some lovely Traveling Circles, Figure Eights and Falling Leaf patterns. He definitely still had his eye on her, but was looking to me to be the leader. I love it when all the arrows in my quiver, all the bits of information I've learned, come together and we're able to deal with an entirely new game plan. One step closer to my goals!

It's going to be a fantastic Summer. But I'm not going to think about that. I'm going back to the Dream Time, back to being here and now and breathing in an out. Our herd and our pack with adjust over the next week and then, who knows where we'll go!

I am, ever yours, Nancy ... in the beginning again and loving it!

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