Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The New Book

Last year the half-wine barrel under the Japanese maple had begonias in it after the freesias were done. This year I dumped a bunch of packets of old seeds I found in the garage into it, and this one nasturtium came up, the last growth that the disintegrating barrel will sustain. At the end of the season, the barrel will become kindling, if it doesn't fall apart first.

One nasturtium -- what a laugh! The plant took over the whole planter and is sending out tendrils, hoping to conquer the planet. In spite of the shady location, this sun-loving creature is thriving, and gracing the landscape with a whole new look from begonias.

The crispness of the reddish-orange spots on the petals astounds me. How does it happen that such perfect designs appear on a lowly vine? It's a mystery, one that I never tire of seeing.

Yesterday, my friend Cathy -- Cathy the Mad Horsewoman -- officially gave up on rehabilitating her big horse Rusty. Years ago, when Cathy and I first rode together, Rusty was perfect, trusting Cathy to tell him what to do, completely in sync with his rider. They were amazing together. Then she had to go to work full-time, and gradually, when they rode out, his demeanor changed. He decided he was the one who had to be in charge.

He became so willful that when she tried to remind him of his station as mount, he threw himself around so violently that Cathy flew off the saddle and nearly had him fall on her as he flung himself to the ground. Her left wrist and arm shattered, along with her faith in her beloved horse.

The past year has been difficult; Cathy tried riding her other horse, old Peanut, but was so fearful of another incident that trail rides were fraught with tension; then old Peanut died, nearly 30 years old. Under intensive training, Rusty seemed to improve, only to revert to Mr. Nut Case again two weeks ago. It broke her heart, for she really loved that horse.

Yesterday she threw in the towel, and accepted another horse, on lease. His name is Chip, and I met him today. He's adorable, a short horse with a big body, a well-shaped head, and a friendly demeanor. (If I was in the market for another horse, I'd have bought him in a minute.) She's ridden him a couple times, and they seem to work well together.

It's a new volume for her, a whole new story on riding and horsey relationships. Her story with Rusty, her story with Peanut -- time to close the book on those years and begin a new one.

Maybe that's what life is all about in our late fifties: new stories, new books, close down the pages that went before. What's up next? Who knows where the new horse will carry us all.

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