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November 26, 2014: What We Talk about When We Talk about Being Grateful

Today Pete and I went to get another 1 ½ loads of wood. I didn’t ride Raudi. I didn’t ride my bicycle. I didn’t walk over to the lot. I instead took the red car. This is because I spent the little morning time I had working on Lessons Twice Learned.

Once on site, I began hauling rounds to the roadside. The two trees that Pete had downed were a ways in, but after a bit I’d packed down a decent walking trail. It was a beautiful day for such an endeavor – the sun was low in the sky and there were no clouds in sight.

Alys on Divide Ride at Butte House

As I worked, I thought about the chapter I’m now working on, the one about the competitive trail ride clinic. It’s interesting – the dispatches that I wrote this past summer have become the templates for what are now more lengthy self-explorations. I’m now cutting the quick and saying that Raudi’s then bad behavior (she tossed me) was to a large part my fault. I add, and then elaborate on the fact that I was suffering from performance anxiety.

Anyhow, I was organizing my writing thoughts in my head when our neighbor (and woodlot owner) Karen pulled into her driveway. She bounced over to Pete and me and said that she had something very exciting to show us. We followed her over to her truck. She opened the truck bed door. And there it was, a brand new fat tire mountain bike. I began to oww and ahh even before she pulled it out and set it on the ground. She rode it about a hundred yards, and then I took the bicycle away from her and went for a quarter mile ride up Spike Fork Road and back. As I rode it, I began to consider all the possibilities. Heck, I could ride from here to Nome on it.

I told Karen that I was envious – and I was. I still am. And I will always be. This emotion currently has no boundaries. Envy did, is currently, and always will be oozing out of every single pore of my body. I want a bicycle just like hers. Pete later said that if I owned one, that I would not have time to ride the horses. I retorted that I would alternate riding horses one day and the bicycle the next.

I resumed hauling out logs, all the while grumbling about the fact that lately, all my hard earned money has been going into paying veterinary bills. Karen, having changed into her outdoor togs, rode past and said something about her outfit matching her bicycle. This was partially in jest. I looked down at my barn coat at a lengthy smear of loose poop. Tinni has the runs, earlier I cleaned him up. Might have to have the veterinarian take a look at him.

I started to wonder – is all the time and money that I’m putting into these animals worth it? Seems like these days I don’t do much else besides tend to them all. And in the winter I ride the horses short distances. Karen, she’s now going to be going long distances.

I don’t think that Karen picked up on my acute sense of self-dismay. And I know that she would not be empathetic if I told her how I was feeling. The truth be known, she works hard for what she has. She’s a dental hygienist, which is not the most fun of jobs. Conversely, I work hard for what I don’t have. People think that my making the time to write is a form of self-indulgence. Well, maybe they’re right.

I returned home after stockpiling the downed wood next to the pickup truck. Pete, after picking up two pickup truck loads of wood, and unloading one, then joined me in getting the horses and dogs ready for a late afternoon outing. We did a ride on the lower trail system. It was an incredible jaunt – the sun, now lower, cast a golden glow on the freshly fallen snow.

It occurred to me midway through our ride that Raudi knew that I was disgruntled, for she was awfully quiet. This got me to thinking that though I have lapses, that I’m grateful that I have the time to write. I’m also accepting of the fact that animals are more than a major expense. If the payback for all this is that I can’t afford certain material things, well so be it. I wouldn’t trade any of my animals for Karen’s new bicycle, not even Ranger or Rover. This is quite obviously, saying a great deal.

Next: 316. 11/28/14: Just Plain Grateful