Sunday, December 23, 2012

News I can't share

I have news. News I can't talk about. But in about a week I'll be able to.

But it's got me thinking about how sometimes we don't realize how important something is to us. We get tangled in all kinds of other considerations, missing the things that matter. In that tangle we can't see anything because everything is far in the distant. You end up making bets based on trajectories and predictions. You misidentify emotions, you ignore misgivings, you trudge to the next place, convinced it's right.

Even if it isn't.


Stephanie and I were riding a few days ago and I said "Sometimes I miss Smokey, but then when I'm on the trail with Lily I realize how relaxed and enjoyable this is, to be able to ride without worrying about what might happen." Given that Smokey had bolted on the trail a few times, it had taken the joy of riding right out of me.

We rode up some parts of the little trail we hadn't been on before, just up and down a rise or two. Then we got to the little hill on the trail that we always canter up. But this time we didn't canter. Lily and I didn't gallop either. She ran, full out, and the laughter bubbled up and out like fountain, clear and cool, and suddenly I felt what Lily, who loves to run, felt.

It feels incredible to run and leave 'em in the dust.

It's like the news I can't share. When you finally arrive to where you are going, you are often taken aback when you discover how close it's been all along.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Parade Whispers and a Gift

It was time for our small town parade. Our town might be small, but our parade is huge -- 80 floats.

This year I offered up Lily to Gracie, my daughter's BFF, and sat on the side line. Sierra rode Cody.

Why did Sierra ride Cody and not Lily? Because right now the most important thing to my daughter at this age is to look cool. She can get a little nervous on Lily because of Lily's hot nature. And when a teenager is trying to balance cool and a hot horse, bad things happen.

Gracie is a competitive rider, and I knew she could handle Lily without much help.

But there was a moment. Not that Gracie was in any peril, not by a long shot. But Lily was doing her version of "jigging," eyes getting wide, nervous pacing, and I could feel the nerves of both horse and rider getting a little frayed.

I walked over and said, "You're doing a great job with her, Grace. All the horses are getting a little up." I stroked Lily's neck, feeling the zipping energy on her coat. "Here's a couple things. Sing her a song. You'll help her breathe."  I stroked Lily's ears, and she bowed her head, softened her eye. She started to zen out. "Also Lily like strokes, not pats.  So give that a try instead."

I felt the energy, the prickly energy, drain right out of Lily and Gracie's perpetual smile lost its strain. They were ready again. Collected again.

I missed Smokey, right then, a deep dark ache that I try to ignore most of the time.

Lily and Gracie did beautifully in the parade. Cody and Sierra were a stunning and calm pair that allowed my daughter to keep looking cool to her friends along the parade route without the weight of worry.

I watched the horses carry their riders along their asphalt journey, full of ribbons and garland and bows and glitter, and remembered a parade a year ago, where I sang to my horse and calmed us both right back down.

Next year, I'll ride in the parade, one way or another.


On another note:

If you're a fan of my Crib Note series, I have a gift for you.

I've put together a pdf of my holiday Crib Notes (unedited, so if you are a frustrated copy editor, go easy on me) and it's FREE.

Just send me an email here and I'll send it your way. It's also available on Amazon for Kindle, but I can't make it free there, for some reason. So I have it set for the cheapest possible price, 99 cents.

You can find it on Amazon here.


My novel Matchbook is back from my editor and BFF, and she had so many fantastic ideas that now I have to work on it. I'll let you know when that is ready too!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Putting on a Jacket

It's terribly warm in Texas these days, it seems way too warm for December 1st.  It was 80 and a quick review of the history charts wins me a bet with my husband. It's much hotter than normal, the last time we hit 80 in December was 1998. So what is it? Global warming? Drought cycle? Spike in the number of women in menopause in Texas leading to higher temperatures?

They all seem like possible scenarios.

Still, 80 is a lovely temperature for a ride, and Lily and I took a trip over to see Cibolo and Stephanie. I miss riding with friends, miss the casual "hook ups" at the barn. I like that Lily is in a small herd without any barn drama, but my friend doesn't seem to ride either of her horses.  I'm never sure what to make of these kinds of situations, if it's helpful to encourage, even insist, that someone get on her horse. So in the absence of guidance, instead I extend an invitation now and then. But my schedule is so unpredictable these days because of shifts at work, I can hardly organize much in the way of outings.

(In my next life I'm going to be a trust fund baby. Because surely I'll have built plenty of character by that time. Then I can ride EVERY DAY!)

It was late in the morning before I could talk myself into getting up. It's the one upside to not taking care of your own horse - plenty of sleeping in without guilt. At the ranch that morning Lily and I have a brief conversation about the merits of loading, then we were on our way.

Cibolo: You going to eat that?
Lily: Yes. Stop staring. You've got yours over there.
Cibolo: Yours looks better.
Lily: Tough. It's mine.

She always seems to be pleased to be at her old barn again - not so much that she misses it, I think, but that she's glad that we are in a place where she knows the trails, will be traveling with a friend, where there's a predictability to things.

Can't say I blame her.

Stephanie and I tooled around on the trails, Cibolo was as shiny as a new penny, Lily had her extra paint splashes she gets when her winter  coat grows in. I tossed on my jacket halfway through, noting how it's nice to have a horse you dont worry about doing such things on.

We met some new corgi puppies, went around the nearly dried out pond, then galloped up a hill. The galloping was exhilarating (aren't they always - when you know you can stop your horse?) but also useful, since Cibolo had been reluctant to canter, let alone gallop.

It was a shortish ride, but a nice one. Lily didn't take a lame step. Maybe it's time to stretch our distance.  We're thinking of a ride to Bastrop. It's on our bucket list...

Speaking of bucket list, I just memorized this poem by James Wright called the Blessing.  Here's my favorite line from it, where he describes his horse's ear:

And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.

You can read it all here. This is my 6th poem I've memorized, the first one I've found that captures the magic of time with horses.

So here's my bit of own poetry, a haiku with a twist.

She arches her neck
Like the branch of a willow
and snatches a bite.