After the Eclipse

The evening after the eclipse, Sunny and I take a walk. The sky is mostly clear, except for a few dramatic clouds hovering behind the tree line. The horses are grazing as usual, their coats covered in fine sweat that is just beginning to evaporate as the heat and humidity slowly lift. It is 8 o’clock, four hours after the sun and moon finished their dance through the sky.

Joel, Sydney and I went down to the barn and watched the eclipse from there. We did the pinhole through the cardboard trick and used eclipse glasses to take short peeks at the scooped out sun.

Sydney and I let the horses out because they seemed eager to enjoy the grass under a slightly cooler sky. The temperature gradually dropped from 91 to 87°.

At one point I brought a chair and sat in the shade under a tree. I was surrounded by the shapes of crescent moons created by the sun filtering through the leaves.

As the moon covered 97% of the sun I looked and listened for anything that might be a sign. The cicadas continued chanting, a single bird chirped behind me, the horses eagerly cropped grass. Sydney noticed that one of the cows from next door was looking at us and the herd was slowly making its way toward the neighbor’s barn. Maybe the unusual light made them think it was time to come in.

And suddenly the crescent shapes shifted from one side to the other, and the scrim over the sky seemed to lift.

I thought of all the people looking up – friends and family in the mountains, at the beach, in town, in faraway states. For that one moment, we were linked. Held together by a celestial ribbon, an awareness perhaps of the beauty of our sun – its strength and fragility.

When the eclipse was over, I was exhausted and empty, as if a part of me had been scooped out. I hadn’t expected to feel that way. Actually, I hadn’t thought about what would come after. Maybe I was picking up on the collective sigh from our country.

Tonight, I am grateful for the presence of horses grazing in the fields, the dog who walks by my side, my family and friends who share this wide world with me and the glorious colors left behind by the setting sun.

 

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Home Again

Foxie and April are home after being boarded for the winter. It’s such a joy to see how happy and relaxed they are back at the farm.

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The horses were so thrilled to discover all the grass that they barely picked up their heads. Because they’ve been on a dry lot through the winter and the grass is so rich in the spring, we’ll have to be careful about transitioning them. But they seem to be enjoying their stalls too.

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Sydney and LK worked hard last week preparing the barn for the horses’ arrival.

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Thanks to my friend Lynn for the use of her BIG truck!

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Sunny loves having the horses home too.

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Foxie looking fetching as she sports her lovely French braid.

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A birthday kiss for Foxie. (Her birthday was yesterday.)

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Foxie’s not the only one who’s happy she’s home.


Fall Leaves

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It’s a beautiful fall day, crisp and cool, and the sun shines brightly through amber, maroon and burnt orange leaves. I suddenly had to grab my camera and take photos of the horses with this new scenery. The horses are beautiful all the time, in all weather and with every background…but the changing seasons reminds me of the glory of these animals, the natural setting they inhabit, the farm we are blessed to call home.

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Fall is a time of change, the outer world is shedding itself, leaves that are no longer living flutter brightly through the air. Remember me! Remember me! they seem to call out, the way my own memories flash and twirl through my mind. My mother’s awe at the water-colored sunsets on the coast, the winking of gold and silver in the waves, the bleeding of peach into lavender cloud. My daughter’s glee at turning five, the birthday she’d dreamed about for a year, asked every afternoon after preschool, Is it here yet? Yes, my sweet one, it’s here and gone…and here again as the leaves of memory circle and float.

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I will cherish these memories and loved ones as long as possible, yet, at the same time, I must open my hands, release my grasp on things that are not mine to hold. Eight years ago next month, my mother stepped beyond my reach into a golden glow. That same day, my sweet girl rained flower petals down the aisle of a church, paving a path of fragrance for Emily, the bride.

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Yesterday, Sydney slipped behind the wheel of my car to practice driving up the dirt road to our house. When she was a flower girl, I never dreamed her feet would reach the pedals. But they did. And the years have passed. She stepped tentatively on the gas, braked when necessary. Her long, golden hair flowed gently over her shoulders.

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My own hair is greying…and the days keep moving. One day soon the branches will be bare and the frost of winter will set in. But today it is late October and the woods are glowing. The muzzles of horses are buried in emerald grass. They don’t look ahead or worry, just simply feel the warmth of autumn through their coats. And the sun shines brighter each day through the shedding forest.

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Random shots

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Hello there, sweet horses!

 

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Fall sunrise.

 

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Not exactly a fashion statement…but they keep my feet dry.

 

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My dear friend Lyn stopped in to see Sydney and me at the farm a couple of weeks ago. It was so wonderful to see her!

 

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Lyn and I used to ride together back in our college days.  So good to see her!

 

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Sunny taking her turn at the water bucket. She thinks she’s a horse at times.

 

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Joel and Sydney helping me run water up to the ring. With this dry weather, I’ve been rotating horses into every available space…hoping to preserve some grass.

 

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Sydney surveying our small herd.

 

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Lots of clouds, but no rain. 😦


Saying Goodbye to Smokey…for now

We’ve enjoyed having Smokey at the barn so much! Pound for pound, he has the biggest personality of all the horses. And he loves his mares! Last night when the horses heard that Smokey was leaving today, they all gathered together over the fence for a horse huddle. They were either coming up with an escape plan or saying goodbye.

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Smokey and April enjoyed eating their hay together one last time. Smokey was happy to have a break from his muzzle.

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Sydney cleaned up Smokey in preparation for his trip home.

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Smokey gives a big yawn….

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We’re all going to miss Smokey. Even Sunny was looking sad that her friend was leaving.

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Sydney combed out Smokey’s tail and started braiding.

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Waa la — a fish tail! Wait…I thought Smokey was a pony.

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My friend Lynn brought her big truck over to help us move Smokey. We hooked it up to my dusty trailer and pumped up the tires. We loaded Smokey, and he looked so small in the trailer. In fact, on the ride over to his old home, he turned himself around and ended up on the other side of the trailer. When we unloaded Smokey, we didn’t even have to lower the butt bar. He just walked right under it.

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Smokey recognized his old home right away. We are so grateful to MeLanie for letting us use him!

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Smokey let out a long whinny to say hello to his old friends, then happily started eating hay.

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Bye, Smokey! We love you!! Hope to see you next spring!


Morning After a Blue Moon

The clouds were gorgeous this morning as Sunny and I took off for our walk. I couldn’t help but marvel. There was a coolness to the air and a beauty that lifted my heart. Something about the blue moon last night reminded me that we live in the midst of a glorious story…despite the pain and suffering embedded in our lives. If we step out of our daily grind, look up, we might just capture some of the brilliance that surrounds us.

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Morning Routine

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The girls walk up to the big pasture and bring the horses in for breakfast. Sydney brings Foxie, the lead mare. Misty and LK follow and Smokey brings up the rear.

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The girls groom the mares in preparation for their ride. Sunny sprawls on the cool cement floor.

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Sydney on Foxie

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LK on Misty