This past week I've been dealing with a bout of Strep throat. I've had it before, and I didn't really think my sore throat as serious; since I recall my prior cases of the illness to be so horrid, that it was nearly impossible to swallow anything due to the pain. This time, the pain was there, and uncomfortable, but not so much so that I could not eat solid food. Sure, maybe the lemony or vinegary things caused the requisite hisses and grumbles of pain, but otherwise, I was generally okay.
I did feel quite horrid though. Just that general sense of blurriness and fatigue; mostly because the discomfort in my throat kept me up at night, and therefore I was mostly homocidal come morning. So I stayed home Monday, and attempted to go to work on Tuesday; however my coworkers booted me out two hours into the day on the idea that I was spreading contagion about the place like some plagued rat or something. Even today, as I am now back at work as my doctor said I could be; my co-workers are still wary of me; marching a clear radius around me and staying out of my office as if it is replete with Swine Flu. I'm surprised they're not wearing masks and rubber gloves.
Yes that office special I made today is ugly. I hate it. But since it's the first one in a week or so, I posted it anyway. I will remake it one day when I have time, and be more careful, using an image of a Steller's Jay as a model instead of just drawing by the seat of my pants. I do that too much; I'm amazed that what comes out is recognizable.
I confess I'm in a horsey state of mind lately. I guess all that craziness and such has made me lean towards the only things that give me peace of mind; and horses have always done that for me. I miss them so much. My whole life used to be about horses. We owned a manege when I was still young; which is a riding school; and I ate, slept and breathed horses. I'm die-hard English seat, and I'm so much in denial that I will likely never own horses again, I have both my all-purpose well-worn, way-too-old Stübben and Caprilli Dressage saddles sitting on a frame in my living/dining room awaiting the day they will like against some tall withers again.
I am deluding myself that if that day does come, I'll lose enough weight to feel okay about sitting on the back of some poor hapless horse. Just before we moved back, I'd acquired a used side-saddle and was just really getting into that style before I had to leave it behind with my favourite horses, and my little carriage pony Lady; which was one of the hardest moments of my life. I have a tack box with some of my few remaining items; a bridle or two (probably moldy, I haven't dared to look), some paddock boots, brushes, halters, ropes, saddle blankets, horse boots, snaffles and the like....
We stopped at the local feed store in Sandy the other day to look at fence gates, and I went inside where they have a limited stock of tack in English and Western styles. The saddles are the really inexpensive kind that have that thick cardboardy leather... but walking past the wall of bridles, and the bits; stirrups still shining new with fresh rubber on them... and smelling the leather and touching the soft polishing brushes and cans of saddle soap and jugs of neatsfoot... I suddenly teared up. I almost lost it.
We are all blessed with one or two things in life that can give you complete peace and happiness; even if it's in short spans. Something that makes your blood-pressure drop the moment you engage in it, and that makes all your troubles just wisp away... for me it's being around horses. Just the act of grooming, which sometimes takes longer than the riding itself, is an act of peace for me. A quiet mediation while tuned into the rise and fall of the horse's chest as it breathes, and the tickle of it's whiskers as you run your hand along their impossibly soft and tactile muzzle. God I miss them so much sometimes, just seeing them on TV is too much for me to bear. I miss being pestered for the carrots hidden in my jacket pocket, or feeling the weight of the horse's head on my shoulder when I reach up to scratch the ears; the grainy, hay-like smell of their bodies, the scent of the tack, the bob of the ears when you're just riding along at a brisk walk, and they're telescoping around to see the sights. The sound of hollow hoofs on tarmac... Leaning into a gallop and feeling their sheer power as they carry you up a steep hill as you hang close to their surging necks. I never saw them as large, powerful animals really; I see them even now as precious little things... so weird. I've had toes crushed, arm and foot broken, severe concussion, fractures, bruises and goodness knows what else. None of that has ever mattered. From my first pony; the shetland Penny, whose trot could jar your fillings out and who played all sorts of nasty, cunning tricks to get me off her back; all the way up to my dear heart, the benevolent and perfect Tequila; an ex-police horse with draft-sized hoofs, little grace but the soul of an angel. I could lunge her without a rope, I could leave her unattended and untied, train small children and developmentally disabled children on her, ride her for days on end in long endurance rides, sleep on her, ride her bareback backwards, ride side-saddle on her, push her into bodies of water without hesitation, ride her without a bridle even, and kiss her black muzzle to my heart's delight and she bore it all with the disposition of a saint. She was the BEST. I miss her so.
I want a horse again. Another Tequila. Another creature I can trust with so much, and who can offer me the peace of being around her being, grooming her coat, currying out her hoofs... leaning on her when there seems nothing else better to lean on in the world.