horse trail riding

horse trail riding

“The Feeding of the Muse then, seems to me to be the continual running after loves, the checking of these loves against one’s present and future needs, the moving on from simple textures to more complex ones, from naïve ones to more informed ones, from non intellectual ones to intellectual ones.” ~ Ray Bradbury

I believe to write well, you need to live well. How else can you describe a scene with all of its smells, sounds and textures? You have to pay attention. You have to run after loves.

Not all the things I’ve come to love started out that way. Bike riding didn’t. But I’m a curious soul. I read about something or hear someone talk about it, and I want to see for myself what this “thing” is like.

But there’s more than curiosity and wanting to live well that drive me to run after loves. I’ve also found that having as much in my life that I love, that challenges me and, at the same time, makes me feel at home in my own skin helps me to deal with the anxiety and fear that shadows my days.

Life is pretty good right now. So why would I feel anxious, overwhelmed and afraid? This is a question I’ve asked myself throughout my life. Sometimes there’s been a good reason for these feelings but more often lately, there is not.

And who knows why… Genetics. Environment. Trauma. Habit – a groove dug so deep in my brain that it would take more than a bump of a hand to send the needle sliding to a different beat. Hmmm, a record metaphor. I think I just dated myself.

Finding the why is futile and meaningless, at least that’s what I’ve come to believe. I’m not willing to waste any more time on it. Anyway, finding out why has been for other people’s sake, not mine. To explain and justify. To find understanding. To stop people from telling me to “Get over it.” Or accuse me of not trying. Or of doing this to myself.

In other words, this undetermined, unreasonable anxiety is a character defect that some weakness and flaw in me refuses to overcome.

I know the things I love doing — the things that get me outside in nature and engage me physically and mentally. The things where I feel connected to the bigger, natural world and its occupants.  I also know that some of the things I love doing mean facing fear, which generally comes from doubt in myself. Take horseback riding.

horse trail riding

Yesterday I went trail riding on my own. I’ve gone out alone once since I moved Luke to his new home. There were points during that ride and during many previous rides when I would see Luke’s head shoot up, feel his back drop and his muscles tense. Sometimes he will stop or he might start to nervously gait. If something really blows his mind, he might spin around to head back towards where we came from at a dead run.

These things don’t happen often, but they have happened. I’ve never gotten hurt by Luke through any of his panics. But as a I age, I’m not as confident in my physical strength and ability to ride out a storm, should one occur.

Riding past my fear means putting what I’ve learned from my meditation practice into play — deep breathing and relaxing my muscles from head to toe — not just for my own relaxation but so Luke doesn’t pick up any trepidation on my part.

To make an already long story shorter, Luke and I are both still alive. There were a few tense moments from the sound of a dirt bike on the other side of the river and, as we approached the trail head, we ran into a whole lot of horses, people,  and trailers. Luke heard them before we could actually see them, which was a big part of the problem.

Since we’ve been riding in arenas for the past four years, Luke is no longer used to so much commotion. But once we came out into the open, where he could see everything plainly, Luke relaxed and we calmly rode the rest of the way back to the barn.

After the ride, I felt happy, light, and kind of proud of myself and of Luke. I realized that what frightened Luke on the trail was not what he saw. It was what was out of site and unknown.

It’s the same for me. Which may be why I want to know and experience so many things. The broader I can make my view of the world, the less there is to fear.

prairie restoration

horse trail riding
horse trail riding

Trail Riding in 2012

Okay, so this blog post has been through a couple reiterations because I wanted to quit writing about my up-and-down, roller coaster life and start writing posts that would be useful to people. What I discovered is that I may not be any good at being useful.

So here’s the scoop, I’m trying to simplify my life. Right?

And I was going to start doing that last week, after my Tuesday morning blog post. Well, about four hours after I published my post, I received a text message that the barn I’m boarding Luke at was closing and I should find a place to move him as soon as possible.

Now the point of writing this is not to complain about the people running the barn. Shit happens. No one knows that better than me. I really like these people and I wish them all the best, but I had that “What the f’#!” reaction accompanied by a shortness of breath and I’m going to barf feeling.

I called and emailed as many boarding places as I could find in my area that I could afford – which amounted to five places. Only three of the five responded back to me. I visited one boarding place a day.  The third one I visited didn’t actually have any spaces, but I had heard good things about it and since they offered to show me around, I stopped in so I would have information for future reference, which I’m glad I did. I met a couple really nice people there and learned about an amazing saddle I now wish I could afford – an Ansur saddle.  Lighter than what I have and sounds like it would fit Luke so much better.

Oops, I wandered off topic with saddle lust…

The other two boarding places I visited were small, backyard setups with no indoor arena and no place to park a trailer. One of them doesn’t have an outdoor arena either, but it is right across the street from one of my favorite parks to ride — the one I’m pictured riding at above. There goes any immediate need to know how to hook up and back up my trailer in order to go trail riding!

So that’s where I’m going to board.

Finding a place to park my trailer was another challenge, but a very generous friend has volunteered to let me park at her place.

I did get a follow up message that something has been worked out at the barn Luke is at and he could remain where he is. But we’re still moving since trail riding is what I want to do, but haven’t been able to do for the past four years. I hope Luke hasn’t forgotten how to be brave on the trails by himself.

Who am I kidding? I hope I haven’t forgotten how to be brave!

We’ll find a way to deal with all that. Because what initially sent me into a panic looks like it could turn out for the best.

Funny how that works…

horse in trailer

dog by Mississippi River

dog by Mississippi River

“Ooh, she may be weary
Young girls they do get weary
Wearing that same old funky dress
But, ooh, while she gets weary weary
Won’t you try some tenderness

You know she’s there waitin’
And anticipatin’
For the thing she’ll never, never have
Oh, no no
Ooh, while she gets weary
Won’t you try, oh, try some tenderness

“Try a Little Tenderness”  – Three Dog Night

Weary… Is someone out there fortunate enough to not feel such a thing? If so, I want to know the secret. Is it youth that has energy? Three Dog Night sings that young girls do get weary, so maybe not.

Or perhaps retirees that get to follow natural sleep patterns and go to bed and wake up when it feels right aren’t tired. But with age, well, comes age and interrupted sleep patterns, so maybe they aren’t energized either.

Perhaps it is people who follow some suppliment or health regimen or do yoga and/or meditation that feel rested. I’m giving all of those things a try, plus massage, and I do think they are helping a bit. It hasn’t been long enough to know for sure or give up on them yet, which would be my usual pattern. I’ve vowed to give these practices a year’s trial.

untitled-31

This tired I’m feeling is like a deep in the bone marrow kind of fatigue. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say it is soul-exhaustion. Or more accurate yet perhaps, that it is coming-out-of-winter weariness.

My body and brain resists taking in anything more. Facebook and Twitter depress me with the volume to scroll through. Emails fill my inbox unread. Blog posts I bookmark to read are replaced with more recent blogposts until I have a stack of about one hundred “intentions.” I myself write blog posts and take photos that sit, unshared.

My thoughts feel tender-footed. They want to soak in a pan of warm water, with epsom salts preferably, waiting for tendons to relax and let go.

Is this all just me? Tell me it’s not, even if you have to lie.

dog on Mississippi River

Not to sound morose or overly dramatic, but there are some moments that it seems I can literally feel myself dying. Of course, we all are dying in a way as we age. But generally, we don’t FEEL it — the body going cell by cell. Oops! There goes another one!

bicycling

Maybe I’m just not used to being so limited by my body. It has generally felt strong and capable. But the creaking and groaning have escalated to a volume recently that I find difficult to ignore.

horseback riding

Neck and shoulder pain are old news, although there are days now where I can’t manage to even turn my head. And now hip pain has joined the chorus, creating a clamor of the sort of decibel that is rocking my world. It’s not even pain in the hip joint but at the top of the hip bone and sometimes the ribs. What the hell is that?

I have gone from “I can do okay with this pain” to “This is bullshit!” followed by “I just want to go back to bed.”

dog in the woods

And yet, I remain on my feet, moving, because there’s that dying feeling, which is followed by thoughts that there’s not much time left, and I don’t want to waste what remains by sleeping and babying my aching body. And in reality, movement is the only thing that brings relief.

Walking the dogs. Bike riding. Horseback riding. Anything that takes me away from a chair, a desk, a screen.

dog walking in the woods

I don’t have any great answers to this dilemma of what seems to be two undeniable and unchangeable facts: 1.) I support myself and my animals with a desk job. 2.) My desk job is causing me pain and weariness.

For now, I’ll keep trying to give myself a little tenderness.

horseback riding

Page 3 of 90« First...2345102030...Last »