Being out in Idaho is different this time. In part, I was here relatively recently, in the middle of the depths of winter (even though it was March), and I didn’t ride horses at all then, so maybe I’m out of the habit. I’ve only ridden twice in the 6 days I’ve been here—a far cry from one visit, long ago, when I was here for three weeks and rode a horse every single day—yes, 21 days in a row. I hold that summer in my mind as one of my pinnacles of happiness. It’s that memory, as well as other beliefs I have about myself and horses, that make me feel I’ve been lazy here, only riding Shadow because I don’t have to saddle her, and her only once since K&A took off Wednesday.
The weather is different this year though, as well. It has been non-conducive to riding—the parts of riding where you have to wear long pants, and sit on a hot back, or a hot saddle, and chafe your hot under parts—with temperatures in the upper 80s and humidity (which is rare here) to match. Contrarily, it will be a lovely temperature—around 70—but then there have been accompanying Heavenly Histrionics (thunder, lightning, rain, and hail), that have made it very clear that inside is the correct place for Girl and Dogs.
Dogs. That’s another thing, obviously. No Hoover. I think Sadie is sad. Only because I’m here, of course, because I’m supposed to have brought him along; I’m sure she’s relieved for the lack of Hoover in day-to-day life. He packed a punch of energy and excitement about things though, that dog, and we’re sort of rudderless out here without him—not that he was much of a straight-line sailor. One impetus for me getting on a horse before was Hoover needing and wanting all the exercise he could get. As it is right now, these three dogs, even Sadie, are fine with whatever I’m doing without horses, and seem to be okay with my limitations. Which are definitely not confining—yesterday, which was 70 degrees AND clear—the perfect day to ride—I just didn’t feel like bothering. And so instead, we took a hike (over an hour) in the morning, and then another one (maybe another 2 hours) in the afternoon—lots of time outdoors, none of it saddling a horse (Sikem) who would have to be convinced that going out was fun, anyway. And I know he’d like it once we were out—just as I would—but I didn’t have enough oomph to chivvy us both.
Tessa is a complete stinkerpants at the moment—really, really smelly. She was, a moment ago, lying in a pool of sun near my feet . . . and then her milk-chocolate coat started to heat up, and the next thing I knew the batty ghosts of an abattoir were wafting around my head with sunken eyes and ragged wings. Fortunately, the dog got up and moved across the room before I passed out. In the summer when she’s out a lot, Tessa supplements her food with any stinky thing she finds lying about—horse or cow shit, and probably worse things. She smells like it.
I do have a framework here—the Anti Nine-to-Five Job, , so it’s not like we wander aimlessly all day. In the morning right after I get up I let out horses and feed dogs, then I go up the hill and check on other horses, and pigs, and chickens, and cats (I swear, those two cats must spend all night long in their litter boxes—I mean, really, seven poops and pees in EACH BOX overnight? For only two average-sized cats? I haven’t owned cats as an adult, but is that normal?). Then I come back home, have breakfast, and the day—well, about 8 hours of it before everyone gets brought in and fed again—stretches before us, a blank slate. Possibilities for activities are, of course, endless, but our focuses here including knitting a cashmere cap that I can wear while I’m still virtually bald; writing on various subjects, reading likewise; hiking; horseback riding; cooking; driving around the neighborhood; N’s piano (really out of tune, sadly), sunbathing; farm amusements (fixing gates and fences, fetching with dogs in the pond, etc.). Evening events include food prep and eating, chats with Ian when he’s within cell range, and the potential for video watching. So far, the video potential hasn’t been realized.
It really is summer vacation out here—slow, sultry, few requirements except reading. It’s giving me a lot of time to reflect on just what I do want to do, at this point in my life, almost 40, and mellowing out.