Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Step by Step, Slowly I Turned...

It’s always darkest before the dawn. Actually, it’s always coldest before the dawn.

Metaphorically, I was freezing. I was tired of the cold. I was tired of those stupid crutches. Sick to death of them. Of hobbling around from place to place, of having to think of how I was going to navigate a certain area or place, of always having to take them into consideration.

I went into the barn. My deserted, dusty, cobwebby barn. I picked up the broom and tried to sweep the floor, the way I do in the kitchen, with one hand. But the barn broom is much heavier than the house broom, and that wasn’t going to work.

Screw this.

I have been so very afraid of hurting myself again. The physical pain of the initial accident and subsequent surgeries were very fresh in my mind. I didn’t want to undo all the healing I had done. I just had to try to put some pressure on my leg, snugly encased in my velcro boot. Dr. Rosas said for me to try to do what I was comfortable with. I told him 
Copyright Garry Larson
that a lot of my hesitation and fear was in my head, and without looking at me he furrowed his brow a bit when I said that. How could he not get that?

But now I had had enough. It was sink or swim time. I leaned my crutches against the gate. I balanced myself and gingerly put my left foot forward and rolled on it, heel to toe, as I brought my right foot forward.

It was okay. A little tweaky, but not bad. I took another step. In the quiet of my barn, surrounded by the shadows of all my former horse loves, I started really living again. Within the next ten minutes, I had swept the barn floor, moved the wheelbarrow and tidied things up. I had proven to myself that I could it.

I had shown myself that a little faith can go a long way.

Larry often tells me that he has faith in me. He recently said I have taught him the most about faith - not in the religious sense, but in the humanity sense. I learned about my own faith that day in my slightly scarred soul and badly scarred leg. I did it, taking that step back towards myself.

That was almost two weeks ago. I am now walking well (with the boot), although rough or uneven ground is still a challenge. I can get up and down stairs much better, and am able to walk at home without the boot, although they are smaller, mincing steps, but self-powered all the same. The first time I was able to carry my own coffee out of the kitchen, you would have thought I’d won the lottery. I played 9 holes of golf for the first time ever last weekend (with a cart), poorly, Larry and I had a blast. I mowed the grass by the chicken coop because I couldn’t stand it any longer. Now that was empowering! And the girls seemed happy to see me back there. Even if I made that up in my own mind, I’ll take away the feel-good.

Ya gotta have faith.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ghost in the Machine

I stood in the entrance of the barn, the air cool on my face. There was a thin layer of snow and ice on the cement floor; I was worried about slipping on my crutches. I hobbled into the barn and looked around. It looked like a haunted house - cobwebs in every
My subconscious sucks.
corner, darkness making it difficult to see, leaves and debris blown across the floor, the smell of old hay and brittle leather. Why was it so dark? It was empty of horses, but beyond that, it was... deserted, abandoned. The sadness felt like a weight on my chest.

The weight on my chest was the cat, staring at me, willing me to wake up and feed her.

Once I fell off Nifty, I didn’t lay eyes on her until the day her future owners came to check her out. I didn’t even head towards the barn until weeks after our remaining leased horse went home to Crown Point.

I don’t blame Nifty for my fall; in the beauty that is hindsight, I blame myself for not lunging her before I got on in the first place. Maybe it would have made a difference, maybe not; it doesn’t matter anymore. But I still feel betrayed in some way - by the horse, by myself, by my body for crumpling up in such a heap upon hitting the earth.

I'm still very on the fence about my future with horses. On one side it feels good to have the break from the twice-daily responsibilities. I certainly have more money in my checking account, which is a nice change. If Larry and I want to do something, we don’t have to take into consideration barnyard schedules. The chickens can fend for themselves until we get home.

Two weeks ago, I finally did gimp my way back to the barn. Uneven ground on crutches is, for lack of a better word, a BITCH. Standing in the doorway of the barn, I felt sucked into my very dream - to my surprise the barn floor was indeed covered in leaves, pine needles and dirt, the corners cobwebby and dark. In the tack room I ran my hand over my dusty saddle (it doesn’t take long for an inch of dirt to accumulate in a barn), knocked the cobwebs from my grooming tools and bulletin board with the horse calendar my grandmother gets me every Christmas.

People seem to be in two camps regarding my future with horses - there’s "Those damn things will kill ya, spend your time doing something else" and "You got back on the horse, right?" Personally, I feel both ways, depending on where I am at the moment. When I’m not around the barn, I feel like I can completely walk away from it all. No regrets. But when I’m in the barn, I miss the sounds and smells and grooming and cleaning tack. I miss the one-on-one with my animals. I enjoy being in the barn, caring for them, puttering around.

I’m sticking by my decision to take the winter "off." Not that it was much of a decision to be made - I can’t do anything and I couldn’t put all that work on Larry, which he handled the first 6 weeks after my accident. I’m the type of person who likes to make a decision, make a plan and BAM execute it. This indecision is making me crazy, and Larry’s been the witness of a meltdown or two (or three). But I can’t commit one way or the other yet. And as Larry keeps telling me, that’s okay. Despite my left brain wanting things all neat and orderly, it’s not something I have to decide right now.

Maybe it will come to me in a dream.