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December 24, 2020: Christmas Eve, 2020: In the Absence of Tradition

This morning I got Tinni and Raudi and the dogs out. We dodged the bullet just in time. We made it to the trailhead right before the plow truck came barreling through. We were off the road, on the far side of the snowplow berm, left there by the plow minutes before. Raudi’s sympathetic nervous system went into near full gear – her pupils were dilated, and her eyes wide. Prey was poised to flee. Ryder’s sympathetic nervous system also went into near full gear. Predator was poised to give chase. I hung onto all four animals, and fortunately, they all stayed put. We then went on our way, down trail, to the mounting block where I released the dogs, and mounted Raudi. Of course, at the trailhead and at the mounting block, I repeatedly told all the animals how good they all were and doled out the treats. The subsequent ride was without incident.

Alys riding Raudi on our plowed road

I knew it was hit or miss, whether upon returning to the road, we’d have an actual plow encounter. The horses were both jumpy, so I suspected that the plow was on the upper road. I breathed a sigh of relief when, finally, we were on the far side of our metal gate.

I was not, and did not take further chances, meaning that I didn’t get Hrimmi or Tyra out for a trail ride. Rather, I decided to instead play it safe and forego going on an outing. When Pete and I were assured that the plow guy had done his job and earned his time-and-a-half wages, we took Hrimmi and Tyra for a walk around the loop. It was very quiet. We did say hello to two neighbors who live on the upper road – they were shoveling out the berm the snowplow had left behind.

As I walked around the loop, I was stuck by the absence of anything traditional. There were no lights on any of the cabins, and no yard decorations. There were no snowmen or snow women in any of the yards. Most, in appraising the situation, would say that today was a day just like any other.

And it was, at least from the vantage point of a horse walker. Inside, the occupants may have been drinking eggnog, hanging out next to a recently cut tree, and putting bows on packages. They might have hung stockings by their woodstoves, as they ate decorated cookies. And perhaps they called family members and friends and wished them well.

The question this all begs is, do you have to engage in traditions in order to observe a holiday? This is a question we should all be asking one another, particularly in these times of semi-isolation. A friend once remarked that “It (Christmas) was not his holiday.” I have to agree, it is not mine either.

Next: 354. 12/25/20: A Conversation with Tyra, about Another day as Usual

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