Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lessons in Ranch Living for City Girls:  Things that make you strong and little creatures great and small...

Things the Horseman says when no one else is listening give me strength…  Through the long, challenging days of this summer, when I don’t think I’ll be able to lift my head from the pillow to cook one more breakfast or make one more bed, when my heart is heavy with loss and sadness, and when I feel my resolve wavering, the Horseman is my constant.  He’s not an overly demonstrative man and not prone to many public displays of affection, which is just fine.  In other words, he’s not much of a hand holder. But privately, he gives me love, strength, and steadfast support.  I know and he knows, and that’s perfect for us.  And when I get wind that’s he’s told someone something wonderful about me, something private and from his heart, well, it just lifts me up.  I have certainly needed a little lifting lately.

Ponygirl and others I love…  We tragically lost our sweet Ponygirl two weeks ago now and I miss her little star faced self every day.  I think her blue roan boyfriend, Dylan, is heartbroken, too.  Seems that every time we give him a little mare to love (he thinks he’s a stud), we take her away…  Ponygirl’s penchant for escape, her wandering vagabond spirit, her fearlessness at being away from the herd, and her insatiable appetite for the grass on the other side of the fence, took her up onto the highway and away from us on a pitch black, moonless night and into something that she could not have known and I could never have imagined. 

Maybe Ponygirl was never meant for us – never meant to be contained – so she became a little spirit having flown. Her almost black eyes always held something wise and almost challenging, but far away, if that makes sense.  She was headstrong and stubborn, but also sweet and loving.  She never quite healed physically from the neglect she suffered before she came to us, and seemed to be getting a little worse.  In fact, the night PG was killed was the first time she had wandered from the corral area in some time, and on that night she made it through the meadow, across the creek, through the fence, up the embankment and out onto the highway.  A little burst of “something” that we didn’t think she had in her that ultimately cost our naughty girl her life.  I thank God that the elderly couple who hit her, in their very small Prius, walked away, understandably quite shaken, but with only a few bruises.  The car was totaled.  Bill and Dusty found PG in a little copse of trees an hour after it happened and she had been thrown quite a way, dying instantly. 

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to care for our little throwaway Ponygirl after her angels, Emma and Mara, brought her to us.  She was mine, but she belonged to everyone who met her or followed her silliness on Facebook.  She didn’t earn her keep, she broke into and out of everything (including Kris and Karla’s car, looking for beer), and she was constantly covered in burrs that I had to pick off, one by one.  I think she did that on purpose to get brushed and fawned over!  But her naughty antics brought a smile to my face every single day and I will miss her presence so very much…  I take comfort in the fact that she didn’t suffer, and that she’s free and whole now,  running with the big horses on strong, healthy feet, wind in her face and through that impossibly thick mane.  I’ll miss my stinkin’ cute, naughty, impudent, stubborn, little Ponygirl more than I can say.

I don't stay up too late much anymore since 5:30 a.m. comes awfully early around here and I tend to hit the bed a little before it's actually dark.  On the night Ponygirl was killed but before we found her body, I was standing on the shoulder of Highway 2 and I looked up and saw more stars than I've ever seen.  It's nice to think that her star is among them.

It’s a difficult thing, this giving of our hearts to these little beings with lives even more finite than our own.  When my dog, Sophie, died over three years ago, I thought I’d never heal from the loss of her.  A part of my life from the day she was born and for eleven years thereafter, she was my heart.  Then I met and married Bill and with him came horses to love as well as a beautiful, loving, gentle giant of a dog, Bayley, the Wonder Dog.  Bayley is perfect and loves any and all people she meets.  She’s a master manipulator when it comes to getting attention and belly rubs and brazenly places herself in the path to the coffee to optimize the chance of a stray hand finding its way onto her person!  Bayley is a 7 year old St. Bernard, as everyone knows, and her time with us is a nebulous thing.  Thankfully, she’s healthy and happy now but I think with fear in my heart of the day we have to say goodbye to her.  She’s my constant companion.  If Bill can’t find me, he’ll spot Bayley on the porch of a cabin and knows exactly where I am.  If I go for a walk, she goes with me - my little shadow. She’s here at my feet as I type this…  Saints are an unfairly short lived breed, but I think Bayley will break records with her longevity.  She has too many people to love and shamelessly entice into rubbing her belly.  She’s a little slutty that way.