Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said that “we don’t give up on our dreams because we get old. We get old because we give up on our dreams.” I second this. And third it. If you wish, you can get in line behind me.
Some time ago, I decided to ignore age or age-related issues. I decided that any time I meet someone, I’d relate to the growing sum of their experiences. I am now of the belief that the person before me has stories, insights, experiences. I try to honor both, by listening intently to them. It does not matter how old they are. Abandoning age enables me to better connect with all people, this including the bored checkout clerk at the grocery store.
Being able to connect with people – this is what I most admired in Bill, and still admire in Nancy Fuller. I remember when we were neighbors – their house was always full of people, young and old. Everyone moved forward or backwards in time, and then settled into the same place.
Yesterday, Charlene came over. I was, as she pulled into the driveway, working on the July 18 dispatch. I stopped mid-sentence and ran outside so that I could spend time with her. It was a wonderful visit. We first did the house-sitting tour. What I didn’t say was this – this place is the outward manifestation of two people’s dreams. Nearly ten years ago, Pete and I returned to Alaska, hoping to find a parcel of land. Finding a nice house was low on the list of priorities. We found what we were seeking, and immediately began fashioning the place to our liking. We now have gardens, animals,
Raudi and Hrimmi on bench looking south
Hrimmi on the bench looking north
outbuildings, and a refurbished cabin. And we have one another. I remind myself of all of this, every single day
The animals were not something that I dreamed about owing. Rather, they moved in and became characters in the ongoing dream. They came, one by one, just like the animals came to Noah when he was building the ark. However, they didn’t pair themselves off. We now have one female and two male goats, two female dogs, two male and three female horses, and two hens. They didn’t pair off because this wasn’t important to them. What they wanted, and got, was a place in which they’d get ongoing care and plenty of attention. I don’t know if they wanted to listen to me sing to them, but, well, life isn’t perfect.
We then sifted through horse tack in the back of her truck. It was gear that was once owned by her mother Katie. As she sorted, I asked questions about the items. At times, Charlene had a faraway look on her face. After, we ate lunch with Pete (greens from our garden, imagine! Our own eggs, imagine! Our own smoked salmon, imagine!) Then it was time to part company. By the visit’s end, Charlene had brightened, and she’d returned to the present. I felt closer to her than I’d felt in years.
It was then back to business as usual around here. In the afternoon, Pete and I went for a horseback ride, ponying Signy, and taking Hrimmi, Jenna, and Rainbow along. It was early evening – the sunlight cascading through the birch trees dappled the ferns and cow parsnip. The bright purple of the fireweed stood out against the darker greens of the other plants. The cottonwood tufts floated about, and settled in the horses’ thick manes. We were on a mission, which was to take a photo cover for the Icelandic Horse Quarterly. We didn’t get a better cover shot. But nevertheless, we had a great time, as did all the animals. This was most true of Rainbow, who more than the others, knows what it’s like to be left behind. She’s taken to being Hrimmi’s guardian, and makes sure she doesn’t stray far.
There was some talk about tomorrow. We’ll be doing the competitive trail ride this weekend. This too, is a part of the ongoing dream. I would not, even five years ago, have been able envision myself doing something like this, that is riding 20 miles a day for two days on unfamiliar trails. But I’m now going to do it on a horse that I’ve raised and trained. And Pete’s going to do this on a horse that he raised and trained. It doesn’t get any better than this.
You age faster if you sit around and dwell on your aches and pains. And you age faster if you live a life of regret and dissatisfaction. I never dreamed that I’d be rich. And monetarily, I’m not, though this still might come to be. But I’m rich in all the other ways that count.
Next: 224. 07/20/12: CTR, Friday evening