Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Faithful Horse

My horse, Swift, was the love of my life.  As I mentioned before, I would ride for hours at a time and no one ever wondered where I was or when I would be home.  As often happens with teenagers, I found myself grounded now and again.   Don't ask me why, that totally escapes me now, so really, how bad could it have been?

I remember how hard it was during my groundings, not to see my boyfriend.  By the way, he is my husband of 40 years.  Richard and I started dating in high school when  I was a sophomore and he a senior.
We went to different schools, so we really only saw each other on the weekends.  If a grounding occurred, it seemed like a long time before we could go on a date again.

This is where my trusty horse comes in!  I could ride her to "secret" places and meet up with Richard.  We once went to an old abandon building and another time we met at the back of a cemetery.  Of course, those meetings were in broad daylight so it wasn't that scandalous.  It was pretty daring for me, I would have been grounded much longer if I'd been caught.   But, my faithful horse friend never told a soul!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Horse Story

There have been many horses in my life, Swift was my first and of course most memorable.  I would spend hours riding her through our woods and through the fields.  I would meet up with a friend and we would ride along the roads together.  It was not uncommon to be gone for hours.  I don't remember anyone asking me where I was going, how long I thought I be gone.  Things were different then, the roads had a lot less traffic and cars actually slowed down before passing a horse. 

You know horses sometimes do become afraid of something big coming toward them, something loud or unusual.  I marveled just the other day as I followed a semi in Amish country.  We came upon a horse and an open buggy with three passengers.  The semi never even touched the breaks as he went a little left of center to pass them.  My heart was racing that horse wouldn't spook! 

My wonderful horse Swift, the one that had a million miles of road time spooked one spring evening after school.  I had decided to alter my ride to the farm where I was going to feed my 4-H calf.  Instead of riding through the woods, we would do the road.  It had been raining and the road were still wet, but the sun was out and it was warm for an May day.  Off we go, down our quarter of a mile gravel lane and out onto the road.  We didn't go far before we came to a woods that was on both sides of the road.  The woods had a tunnel effect as the trees from both sides nearly touched above the road.  Coming towards us at the other end of this "tree tunnel"  was a dump truck, it would be considered small today, but it was the biggest thing my horse had ever seen and it was coming toward us.  She would have nothing to do with meeting it in this "tunnel".  She turned so quickly and took off running the way we just came, she turned down our lane and was running full out!  I couldn't stop her for anything.  (Maybe the chinstrap on my bridle was then gone.)  She ran clear to the house, I was so angry at her total disregard for my commands that I determinedly turned her around to again go to the farm and feed the calf, by way of the road.  She again took off running full out, down the lane!  I couldn't stop her.......   when she got to the wet paved road, her feet went out from under her.  We together, went sliding across that wet road to the ditch on the other side, my right leg between her and the road, my hand outstretched to keep my face off the road!  The wind was knocked out of both of us, I sat there along the road and she stood beside me.    Both of us in shock from what had just happened. 

I still had to feed my calf and she was my transportation, once more I get on her and AGAIN she wildly races down our gravel lane, totally out of control.  I'd finally had enough and swung down from her back, holding onto her mane and reins to keep from being dragged.  She is still running mind you, my left let is being tangled in her running front legs, but it was enough to stop her running!  I put her in the barn and walked  the half mile to feed my calf.  My hand had all kinds of tar embedded in it, my legs were both banged up.  I decided not to tell anyone and  went to bed early.  Next day was a school day and my Mother called for us to get up.  I couldn't move in my bed, I couldn't get up and unlock my bedroom door.  (I had a brother, okay.)

My Mother finally came up to see what was happening and I had to tell her the story.  I went to the local town Doctor and he gave me crutches and pain meds to get me through the next few days.  What did I learn from this?   I'm not sure I learned anything, maybe to avoid wet road while running my horse.  I continued to race around on my horse, Swift, with a broken chin strap.  It was just one of those things that happened.....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My First Horse

I love horses.  I was one of those girls who grew up wanting a horse, dreaming of horses, reading about horses and believing I would one day have a horse.  I lived in the country, on a farm and we had lots of critters.  I remember having dogs, chickens, turkeys, orphan lambs and baby pigs.  I almost forgot the rabbits, we had 52 baby rabbits one summer!   My Dad milked Holstein cows.  But I wanted a horse. 

As parents do, they decided to get me a goat, if I took good care of a goat.......... well, maybe they'd consider a horse.  That poor goat had a definite identity crises.  I was too big to ride her, but I set up jumps for her to go over.  She was pretty good about doing what I thought she should. 

When my parents and grandpa weren't watching, my brother and I would get in the feeder steer pen and ride the steers.  You understand they were pretty confined, the object was for them to gain weight and be sold.  There were often 25 at a time in the steer pen.  We'd drop down from the hay mow on the back of a steer and ride it around the pen until we were thrown off.  Great fun!!!  We knew the ones we could ride and the ones that would always throw us off.  We got caught by my Grandfather one day, got in big trouble for riding those steers.

One day my Dad came home and told me to go check out what was in the barn for me.  I couldn't get there fast enough.  I found a donkey!!!  I was in LOVE.  He had the most beautiful ears and he was the perfect size for me to get on from the ground with no saddle.   We traveled many miles together, I loved him dearly.

 An old family friend gave me my first horse.  I was probably 15 years old.  My horse was named Swift.  That was the perfect name, we ran everywhere we went!  I rode bareback, no time for blankets and saddles.  I did have a bridle, being rather clueless about tack, when the chin strap broke, I just removed it and continued to ride.  For those who don't know, chin straps are critical to stopping a horse.

I didn't care, we just went and stopped when we stopped.   Clueless!!!! 

I didn't care to share MY horse with my brother and sister.  One day my Mother said, "It's not just your horse, you let your brother ride her today!"  I was crushed, probably had a major breakdown, but it didn't change things, my brother was going to ride MY horse to the farm to feed his 4-H project.  In all the trips I took to the farm to feed my 4-H steer, I pretty much took the same way through the woods and then to the cow pasture.  But, there were certain places I would lay on the neck of my horse to avoid branches as we ran under them.  And when we came to the cow pasture I had to get off and open the gate.  I would always  open and close the gate and then step up on the gate, Swift would "side" over so I could get on and then we would do the dash to the barn at top speed!!!!  We did this every day, it was a pattern and we liked it.  But my brother didn't know the routine, he was quickly knocked off by the low hanging branches, when he finally caught MY horse and was on his way again, he came to the gate.  Let me tell you, he had no idea how fast you have to get on the horse at that gate, because she is gone if you miss getting on.  Well, needless to say, he walked from that gate to the barn, Swift was grazing quietly while she waited on him to catch up.  Do I have to tell you no one rode MY horse after that day.........

Friday, August 28, 2009

Surgery today and 50 years ago....

Yesterday my 7 year old grandson, Aidan, had his adenoids removed. The Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist was sure this would help with the constant ear infections and fluid behind Aidan's ear drums. So bright and early Thursday morning Aidan was taken to the hospital for surgery. Everyone was in their paper gowns, in a sterile environment, with a anesthesia specialist to put him "under" and his vital signs were being monitored. It is something we expect with any surgery in 2oo9.       

I don't often think of myself as "old", although there are times that I have a major reality check. Do I really sound like my grandmother now? Or anyone else from that generation? I used to worry that I sounded like my mother when I would tell my children something that she would have told me. And yet, I am telling a story to my daughter, Trisha, about something that happened to me over 50 years ago, she had a look of total disbelief on her face.

It begins with me saying to Trisha, "you know I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was Aidan's age." Not a shocking statement. What was shocking to my daughter was this part.
It wasn't uncommon 50 years ago (or more) to have the family Doctor make house calls. Dr. Runion had been aware of my constant colds and ear infections and decided surgery was necessary and so it was planned. He came to our home, opened a suitcase that became a table and he was ready to perform the surgery, right there in our kitchen! No paper gowns, hopefully he used sterile instruments, my anesthesia was a cloth soaked in ether. Dr. Runion wasn't a specialist of the ear, nose and throat, nor was he an anesthesiologist. There were no machines monitoring my vitals, but my surgery was done by a Doctor that made house calls. When I woke up in my own bed, it was over and my throat hurt. I remember getting to eat ice cream, and not much else. To this day I can't stand the smell of ether.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Tipi Lodge

I have the most beautiful tipi lodge sitting in my horse pasture. This is the 4Th summer it has been sitting in the the far corner of this field. People ask, "why here, in this spot, so far from the house?". The answer comes quickly. A week before the tipi came to me, I saw an immature Bald Eagle rise from the ground in that corner of the pasture. I was overwhelmed by the majestic size of the young eagle's wing span, it took my breath away. And so it was revealed to me at that moment, the tipi lodge would sit near that spot.

I remember how stunning the new lodge looked, so white against the green grass of the horse pasture. I couldn't take enough pictures, some at sunrise, some at sunset, outside and inside.....
We held drumming events at campfires near the lodge. Many people have come and shared this sacred space with me. I often have friends come and sleep the night with me in this beautiful tipi.

Knowing all of these things you must also know I have LEARNED many things. Many things involve putting the tipi lodge up and keeping it up during hurricane winds. Mostly I have learned what a sacred space this is, has been and always will be to the indigenous people that came before me. I honor that every time the lodge goes up, the history of it all overwhelms me.

This week I had a new lesson reveled to me. It was very unexpected and I realized the injustice that was done to my tipi lodge. Before I share that I will tell you how the lesson revealed it's self.

My dear friends were visiting from Missouri, they came to spend the weekend and to experience the Sunwatch Native American Flute Gathering in Dayton. This year we planned to spend one night in the tipi lodge. When we came home from the event, it was quite late and dark outside. Everyone was tired, but still wanted to be at the tipi. If a campfire is started outside the tipi, it gets very late by the time the fire dies down and we finally go inside to sleep. So it was decided to have the first fire inside my lodge. Even after many people told me I need to have a fire inside, I never understood until this night. As five of us gathered inside the lodge, a small fire was started......... then it happened, the flame gave the tipi the heart it needed to be alive. I never knew it needed and craved that fire to be complete, with a glowing heart. I will never sleep under my lodge poles again without a small fire!

It was so wonderful that the next night we went to the tipi lodge again. This time two more people joined the five of us from the night before. The fire was again started, stirring flute music sent prayers to the creator for people in need of healing, physically and spiritually. Only three slept under the lodge poles that night and the heart of my lodge glowed throughout the night.