Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Gorgeous Girl!

     Silk is 24 years old today. She will celebrate with a fruit salad and a vigorous grooming with all her favorite spots itched and rubbed until she’s weak in the knees. It’s a gorgeous sunny day, and she’s feeling frisky. I’m thinking back to all the wonderful birthday parties that we’ve had for my four-legged sister over the years.

     My daughter was 3 when we got Silk, and I started the tradition of baking a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from scratch to celebrate. My daughter always decorates the cake.We would invite my daughter’s friends to join us at the barn. There was a lot of running and bucking and giggling with Silk and the kids happily dancing around together. One year, when we lived in Virginia, my daughter invited a little boy who lived down the street to come with us. He had done something wrong so his mother had grounded him, but when she heard that we were going to celebrate Silk’s birthday, she agreed to let him come. “How often in his life is he going to be invited to a horse’s birthday party?” she said. I’m glad she let him come because it turned out that he had never been on a farm before. He loved every minute and even got to ride Silk as I led her with him sitting bareback. His mother tells me that he still remembers it. 

     This year, I will make the carrot cake because my daughter still loves it, and it’s part of the ritual. There are three little kids who live across the street from us who are invited to Silk’s birthday party. My daughter babysits them now, and they love to pet the horses. Siete will try to hone in on the action, but she has to wait a month for her fruit salad. Her birthday is in May, and she will be ten years old. Hard to believe how fast it all goes.

     The birthday girl knows how much she is loved, and I tell her every day that she’s the best horse in the world. When I look in her eyes, I can see that she thinks I’m the best too, and her expression reflects back to make me feel good about myself. That’s what our horses do for us.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

An Incarnation of Hope

We have a little dogwood tree next to the pasture that delights me every Spring with its beautiful flowers. Last October, when the crazy snowstorm blasted through here, it took down several of our big trees. One of them fell, crushing the dogwood. I was heartbroken every time I looked at the big trunk with the little tree twisted and broken underneath it, and I kept asking my husband if we could buy a new dogwood tree once we had the carcass of the downed tree removed. As the warm weather surprised us earlier than usual, I also noticed that the dogwood branches were sprouting little green leaves. Soon, there were buds and now, there are blossoms. Every time I look at the tree, still pinned under the old dead trunk of the fallen maple, it fills me with hope.

I needed a reminder of hope this week since my mom, who will be 98 years old soon, was rushed to the hospital on Thursday. She was bleeding, and the doctor was very frank about the possible reasons. It could be diverticulitis, which he could treat with antibiotics, or it could be a tumor, which was probably colon cancer. We are lucky that he is a very sensitive, kind doctor and did not want to frighten my mother or do anything that would be in any way invasive. So, he suggested that he would start the antibiotics and she would stay in the hospital while we waited to see if they worked and the bleeding stopped. Needless to say, I had a very anxious time while we waited. Each time I drove in and out of my driveway, I would pass that little dogwood tree trapped under the big dead trunk and seeing its flowers valiantly blooming would give me hope.

I found that the easiest way to calm myself was to go out to the barn and brush Silk. She is still shedding out her long winter coat and loved all the extra attention. This week, Silk will be 24 years old, so as I dragged the shedding blade along her neck and her back, I thought a lot about how I was going to be facing some tough inevitabilities with both my horse and my mother in the near future. I have been blessed to have them both in my life for a long time, anchoring me in ways that I probably won’t truly understand until they are gone. At the same time, I appreciate that they are both tough cookies and are strangely similar in many ways. They have each proven to me over and over that they have great strength and an incredible will to live. Realizing that led me to decide to focus wholeheartedly on believing that everything was going to turn out for the best.

I showed up at the hospital with a bouquet of dogwood and lilac blossoms today and discovered that my mom was doing fine and had just been sent back by ambulance to the nursing home where she lives. I raced over to see her. It was like a party in her room when I got there, with nurses coming in to hug and kiss her and my mother happily eating spaghetti and meatballs for lunch, announcing that she was starving. She was so excited to see the dogwood and the lilacs because they are favorites of hers. Soon, the scent of the flowers filled the air, and once again, I understood the glory of hope.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Funny Bunny


“The peace that we are looking for is not peace that crumbles as soon as there is difficulty or chaos. Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth—it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.”

Pema Chodron


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Worthy Cause

This is the video that I produced for the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society's Westchester, NY chapter. They are doing really great work and I'm proud to be able to help them. (For some reason, the full screen isn't appearing on the blog, so if you want to see it better, please go directly to YouTube - anyone know how to fix this problem?)