The horse's pasture to the East...

Saturday, January 2, 2021


 We have a dog, Sandy, that we adopted last Spring. Her first home, first love, is a person from the Greatest Generation. This person was active during WW2 and had been running their own ranch well in to their nineties. The adult child, a friend of mine, of this person (I never use gender or name. ) was trying to keep a small business alive during a very trying year. First Person was sent to an assisted living home because of extreme end of life issues. 

The transition for Sandy was abrupt, in fact had to be. Human politics were in the middle of the world in a way that became increasingly twisted during 2020. Sandy’s First Person, their family and Sandy became unintended victims, the silent group you rarely hear about. I had an opportunity to step up and took it. Helping is part of my code and being here for Sandy has been a true joy. But explaining that to Sandy was the hard part.

All we can do is love Sandy, give her support, good food, exercise and plenty of space to move in. And, like all of my dogs, she lives without a leash. She has Apple and Scout to play with, and us. She even has a relationship with my horses, greeting each one with a touch of the nose. How they worked that out is their business. She was never worried by them and they responded in kind and they formed their own language. 

Sandy grew up on a ranch, was used to horses and, it now appears, chickens and ducks. She is the only one of my three who can safely go in to the bird yard without harassing the birds. I’m glad for that. She is now deeply bonded to me, passing her need to serve to another human being. 

Sandy is always with me. She offers her expertise in the best horse poop, how to clean up hoof trimmings, and the delightful delicacy that is duck poop. We go for long walks up and down hills, down old riding paths and in to ponds. She even added to the excitement of finding and cutting our own Christmas tree, here on the land, by following Apple in to the pond and getting stuck in the mud. John and I waded in after her and all of us were covered in muck by the time we made it out and back to the house. There’s only one way to manage an event like that. We turned it in to an epic tale of adventure, fighting off water dragons and a rhino or two. 

You’re wondering where this story is going. Bear with me. I’ll try to keep it short. LOVE. That’s it, in all of it’s simple or complicated forms, it’s LOVE. When I told John about Sandy he was in, no questions asked. Neither of us had met her but she was a dog of service who was not allowed to go with her First Person. She was an honored elder who needed the constant care all of us need at the end of our life. LOVE. 

She came straight to me as soon as she was helped down out of the vehicle she arrived in. She was exhausted, confused and her First Family were all crying. So was I. It wasn’t an easy transition for her. I think she is still waiting for them to come get her. But she is also my friend and loves her life here. She is “ in between “ the way a lot of rescued or adopted elder dogs are. I have a feeling that, when the time comes for her to leave her life here behind and she goes on to that next world, she will wait for her First Person patiently the way she does every afternoon, about the same time of day that she came here. She sits or lays down out in the yard and watches to the West, where her old home was. 

But I still haven’t answered the question, ‘Why?’. LOVE. Giving Sandy a home was a way for me to help her First Family. Having her here allows me to finish healing from a business I lost after 911. There was no one to help us. It was the end of years of work for me. Sandy’s First Family has a similar business. I helped so they could focus on keeping themselves above water. I helped because my Mom died at a very early age. I never had the chance to care for her as an Elder. Sandy has given me a way to complete a circle of LOVE. 

There’s more to it than that though. When the world turned on it’s ear and John and I became pariahs, heretics because we refused to wear masks, there was only one way for us to declare who we are. LOVE. I’m not going to talk about human politics here. The innocence of Sandy deserves more than that in her story. Sandy is a living, breathing part of my core belief in un-conditional LOVE. So are all of the other animals we live with : Apple, Scout, Phoebe (ancient Honored Elder cat, now nineteen), Dibs, Bear, Calamity, Lucky, Apache, Stony, Willow, seven ducks and seven chickens. And the people we LOVE ; family, friends, neighbors and the random events when we interact with people we haven’t met. 

LOVE. For me the only way to counteract the twist in the world surrounding an event that has been used to manipulate people on a mass scale, is to stand my ground and LOVE. 

My anthem this year is I WON’T BACK DOWN, by Tom Petty. I’ve written about some of my core beliefs in previous posts. But at the center of all of them is the power of LOVE. It’s the light that floods the darkness until it recedes. I choose unconditional LOVE. 

I LOVE my country, the USA. I am a patriot in every sense of the word. Generations of my family on both sides have sacrificed for the sake of the freedoms we have in this country. 

I LOVE my family without question, including the pain brought my circumstances I couldn’t control. I LOVE unconditionally. And so does John. We stand together in LOVE.

I LOVE the land we live on. We keep it clean and clear of chemicals, hike in to the woods we are charged to care for and carry out trash left behind. We use no chemicals and practice restoration of the prairie and our bit of the furthest western edge of the great eastern forests that used to cover this continent. 

LOVE. It’s a powerful concept, worth practicing as best you can. As smaltzy as young people are going to think this idea is, as you age you will come back around to it. LOVE. When everything else fails, LOVE is still there. There will be a year when you wonder why you didn’t say it more often to the people you care for. I LOVE YOU. Simple phrase isn’t it? And complicated too. LOVE. 

I’m not talking about possessive obsession. I’m talking about LOVE, the kind where you are strong enough to let go when it’s time. LOVE, the kind where you stop and help a lady who is having a melt down in the grocery store because she can’t find toilet paper. The kind where you call the store the next day to make sure that the clerk who melted down because I came up to the register with no mask, is OK. And the kind where we adopt a ten year old dog who has been separated from her First Person through circumstances she can’t understand. 


My word this year is BOUNDARIES. BOUNDARIES are an important part of LOVE. Good fences make good neighbors, one of my favorite phrases. Loving myself is part of the BOUNDARIES. And LOVE in all of it’s complicated forms, practiced unconditionally, is a way to try to do my best. I still fail on a regular basis, but the best part about LOVE is that it’s still there, waiting, when I come back around. 

This year I plan to LOVE the land, my animals, my family and to LOVE unconditionally. I’m carrying forward my words from last year, keeping them on the refrigerator instead of posting them to my office bulletin board along with all of the other past words. FORGIVE, BELIEVE, CONNECT. They all connect to LOVE. And BOUNDARIES define the ideas of how I will manage the hysteria that seems to linger.

Thank you Sandy. I have decided that every day is going to begin with I LOVE YOU, for me, for all of us. LOVE. I’ve got your six, and you have mine. 

LOVE. The Beatles had it right. All you need is LOVE.

Look out darkness. We’re coming through! LOVE! 

LOVE. Always, LOVE..... I am, ever yours, Miss Nancy, smiling with LOVE.

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