The horse's pasture to the East...

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

IT IS MY BEST DAY EVER or changing the direction I approach anything from...

Today is my best day ever. 

I know. Sounds hokey, doesn’t it? But I always write the truth, at least the truth as I see it. And it really is my best day ever. 

That’s been my mantra as long as I can remember. The day my Mom died, in November of 1972, I walked outside, in to a slightly grubby parking lot outside the hospital and looked around in shock. My Mom was dead. She was never going to hug me again, tell me everything was alright, fix slightly under done or crunchy scrambled eggs, which I loved because my Mom made them. She wouldn’t be there for me to call when I felt like I was in over my head with my brand new baby. She was gone. And the world had the audacity to look and act like everything was just fine, nothing significant had changed . 

But here’s why that was one of my best days ever. I can still remember, with absolute crystal clarity, the color of the morning sky as the sun came up. I remember the slight scent of autumn leaves, wet from the rain. I picked up a rock, a small piece of gravel really, and held it. How could something as ordinary and mundane as a piece of gravel still exist when my whole life had just shifted? Wrapping my head around that at the gentle age of barely 23 was huge.

I still have that little rock. I kept it, put it in my jewelry box. I wanted to have a connection to what I thought was my worst day. Now it’s one of my best days. Why? Because I remember it, every last detail. I was tired, messy, crying and there was a tiny piece of gravel, some late mums growing in round clumps with the flowers slightly worn, a gorgeous morning sky and my hiking boots on my feet. 

John was there with me, holding me and trying to find a way to comfort me. And waiting for me, at a friend’s house, was my son. He was a part of John, a part of me, and a part of my Mom. And when I picked him up, all warm and sleepy, and he opened his eyes long enough to smile at me, to grab hold of my hair and go back to sleep, it was my best day ever.

Before it was cool or politically correct to be an optimist, I made a decision that day to tell myself that it is always my best day ever. At the beginning of the day, when light brightens the horizon and frogs sing like they are today, it is my best day ever. And when my heart is broken and my childhood has passed with my Mom, it is still my best day ever because the story isn’t over.

You’re wondering why I’m blithering. I’m not reading any social media right now. There’s a kind of twist to the world that gets magnified when millions of people get together and gossip. I don’t like gossip. It never comes to a good end. Gossip is always based in conjecture, innuendo, and thoughtless comments usually made because we want to make it someone else’s fault. No matter what we’re talking about it must be in the lap of the’ other’. THEY made it happen, not me. 

I don’t want to be a part of that group mind. It’s way to easy for me to do just exactly that, be mean hearted, thoughtless and self protective by making it someone else’s problem, fault, issue. Of course, in the process of withdrawing for a while, I am participating in the conversation by not being there. 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

I read that quote in a book by Brene Brown. It stayed with me because it is about gossip, that critical mind that dances around in my head. None of us has the right to criticize anyone else because we aren’t walking in their shoes. We don’t know the whole story and even if we did, it would still be from our point of view. That colors it, slants the story in a way we want it to go and not in the way it honestly exists. 

This being honest stuff is tricky! It’s one of those Zen revelations, discovering the need to see things from my point of view even when it doesn’t merit it. See, I slanted that statement and didn’t do it intentionally. I can’t help myself. My eyes are the only the only pair I have to look through. 

People are frightened, working themselves in to a frenzy over things that are, mostly, out of our control. Politics, pandemics, policies, panic, pushback, punks, poop. I needed to take a breather, to get my perspective back. We’re all going to die! That idea is being pushed to generate clicks on articles, and it’s working. Stock markets are crashing. Small business owners are teetering on the brink of ruin because no one is out there living their lives. Although, between you and me, investing in Charmin and Northern looks like a good bet. People are panic buying toilet paper. WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE and people don’t want to be out of toilet paper when that happens. Now that’s funny!

Guess what? We really are all going to die. It’s part of the price of admission to walking this Earth. There’s always a beginning, middle and end. I choose not to waste my time worrying about the end. I’m too busy living the middle, for now. Today is my best day ever. 

I am living with ten master teachers : one donkey, two dogs, three horses and four cats. Every single one of them lives exactly in the moment as no one else except themself. There is no agenda except being here, now, in the best and only way that they can. And I am still learning from them. 

It is my best day ever! And ... 

I am, ever yours, Nancy, smiling because I can!

Saturday, March 7, 2020


Phoebe and I are back. I stopped writing here two years ago, probably because of some personal pain in my life. Most bloggers would be spilling their guts because it attracts readers. As nice as it would be to monetize here it’s really more of a journal. And the dicey stuff is in the paper, not the digital world, for me. However, that being said...

Facebook became a kind of addiction. I could write a short story, post some images or video and get immediate feedback. It began to fall in to the same brain sucking category as TV. I haven’t watched TV for more than 20 years, grew up without access to TV and did the same for my sons. Life is way too short to spend it with my forehead stuck to a glass screen.

Had a minor issue come up, physically, as it does sometimes in the world of horses. I’m sitting here packed in ice so writing wins out. Getting bored always gets my creative juices flowing. This is like jump starting my nineteen year old farm truck. I have to cuss a bit, kick a tire or two, hook up those clip thingies and step on the gas. Hang on with me. It’s going to be messy for a while. (At least I’m not leaking oil!)

Phoebe is my Muse today. She’s ancient in the world of farm cats, at least eighteen . I had to guess at her age because she came to us seventeen years ago and was old enough to be pregnant, so at least a year old then. It was hard to tell. She was skinny, hungry, terrified, dehydrated and dirty. Dirty for a young cat is serious stuff. Cats always groom themselves until they’re in such pain they can’t. She was near her end times. 

But Phoebe is one of those never give up kinds of cat. She’d pulled herself up in to the cedar in front of the house, high enough I had to climb to get to her. And she yelled for help so loud I went out to find her. I could hear her over the ancient, rattling dishwasher and the wind blowing in through the cracks around the doors, whistling and moaning. We sit more than a quarter mile back from the road too, so where ever she had come from it wasn’t an easy journey. “ SOMEBODY HELP ME! HELP ME NOW! “ Pride had nothing to do with it. She was yelling to save her life.

And there she was this morning, laying next to Apple, with her purloined tennis ball. If any of you reading this has a Golden Retriever, you know how precious tennis balls are. Apple collects tennis balls, hiding them in the bottom of a basket. Phoebe steals them. Apple tries to tempt the ball away from Phoebe with pieces of kibble (note the two pieces in front of Apple) and Phoebe ignores Apple. It’s part of their morning games. All ten pounds of Phoebe even growls at eighty five pound Apple if Apple gets too close, at least until Phoebe decides the game is done. No wonder I laugh so much! 

Phoebe is the epitome of badass coolness. Of course she’s my Muse! Her hips sometimes bother her but she can jump to the back of the sofa and dominates the bed at night. And she still hunts, bringing her trophy in to the house and depositing it in the middle of the kitchen table. Sometimes I find just body parts (yes, on top of the table) and Phoebe sleeping on the top of the sofa in her power spot where she can open one eye and keep track of her kill. How could I not love and admire my little short, round farm cat. Heck, I want to be her when I get around to growing up. Age and the minor issues that come with it are no impediment to Phoebe.

This morning I was getting in to being ‘Nancy, the Whiner’ , really wallering in self pity. I do not like being sidelined with sore muscles, bumps and bruises that are entirely my fault. My body will heal but in the meantime I get grumpy. Wah, wah, wah... And here comes Phoebe, trailing an anxious Apple, rolling her stolen goods and depositing them at my feet. “ Hey, Nancy, giiiirrrlll friend, steal a tennis ball. Always makes me feel better! “ So here we are, Phoebe napping in a sunbeam and me with my companion ice bags, in the moment, laughing at the way things go!

You go Phoebe! Between you and me, I hope I live to 150. There are so many things to learn, and so many wonderful Badass Phoebe moments to live.

I am, ever yours, Nancy, smiling because I can