Some people get a baby bunny or a little dyed chick for Easter, but I like to do things in a big way. Guess what I got? A BABY HORSE!
I won’t go into my profound disappointment that I missed the actual delivery. My own fault (but some of the blame certainly can be attributed to Dixie, because she didn’t show any of the warning signs).
Saturday morning, I was signed up to run a 5K with my son – the first one that was close enough to us to bother to attend. I woke up at 5:00am feeling awful. I’ve had a killer cold all week. So I took some Dristan to feel better and wrote a bit on the computer. By six, I was drowsy, so I lay down. Didn’t get up until 10:00!!!! (long after the race was over). That is so opposed to my normal behavior.
Every morning Mark and I go feed the horses early, often stopping at this dingy diner we love for breakfast. However, since I had set a president for being lazy this morning, I decided to make a big family breakfast. I made German Apple Pancakes, biscuits, bacon and eggs. And we all sat around eating – relaxing – until almost noon. Then Mark and Kent headed out to the land to de-bark some logs and I went to run errands and wash my car. Little did we know that we were missing the excitement out at the land. Dixie isn’t due until May 1st, so frankly, I’ve not been too obsessive about sticking around. I was planning that next week.
The boys arrived just as Dixie was finishing the delivery. Our neighbor watched the entire thing. He said he thought about calling, but didn’t. Drat. Any other morning, we would have all been there.
Since we don’t have cell phone service out there, it’s difficult for Mark to call me. He has to drive up a hill to get a signal. By the time he reached me, it’d been an hour. He and Kent watched our new filly take her first steps and feed. By the time Neva and I arrived (with suds still on my car, because I left halfway through the wash process when I got the call) the baby horse was already trotting all over the pasture with her mom. So my first sight of her was at 3 hours old. I sure would have like to see the birth, but I did see the icky after birth and the sac the horse came in, and witness the first hours of her life. I guess that is enough to be grateful for, for a city slicker like me.
Our new baby horse is beautiful, an exact replica of her mother. We named her April. With her coloring and long thin legs, her slight and bony body, she looks like a deer with a big head. She was unsteady the first day, stumbling a bit when she was on a slant. She sleeps a lot as all newborns do, but it’s amazing that moments after they are born, horses can walk, trot, and even run. They are alert and start interacting with others in the herd too. I could watch her forever.
We handled the baby lots, which is advised, because it helps them bond with humans. Mostly, I wanted to pet Dixie. She kept closing her eyes – she was so tired. She is proving a good mother, attentive and gentle. They are together every moment, Dixie and her new little mini-me.
We’re told that within the week, April will get frisky and playful. We’ll be entertained by her jumping and bounding around the pasture, as her behavior gets mischievous and silly. Beats going to another movie any day!
So now, I have one more attraction to pull me away from homework and all the duties I should be attending to. I can’t seem to focus on with spring seducing me as it is. The llama is integrated into the fold now, though still a bit standoffish. I’ve learned a great deal about llamas the last few days –a remarkable animal. They are used as herd protectors, for wool and as pack animals. Up here, they are very popular with hikers. You can pack all your equipment on them and they can handle the roughest terrain. Their silent and steady and don’t shy the way a horse does. They have small feet that don’t put wear and tear on trails, so they are allowed places where horses aren’t. Cool. So, perhaps one day, I’ll consider some grand walkabout adventure with Dali in the Appalachian hills. Can’t imagine better company.
It is spring break for my kids this week. Mark is facing lots of work on the land because the builder is ready for the thirteen-foot logs and he can only complete about three in a day. I am behind in my homework, and really need to attend to it. Yet, we still want to do some fun things with the kids. They deserve some recreation. Mark wants to take them to Dollywood, I want to go Kayaking and to Atlanta to see the Chocolate exhibit at the museum (which sounds boring, but I’m told is interesting). Hopefully, we will do it all.
But not today. Today, I will work. I will go get some hay for the animals and stare with wonder at the April for an hour or two. I will clean my house and cook something even though I have too many leftovers from my gluttonous Easter spread to merit making dinner. I will plug away at the books “Beloved” and “Tell it Slant”, two things I’m reading for school. If I’m good, I will go take a run (actually, that is a walk around the mountain with a one mile run at the road that circles around to the other entrance) but don’t count on that. I haven’t exactly been disciplined lately.
And more than once today, I will stop and take a moment to be grateful. I’m convinced that is the key to happiness. Not just designing a life you love, but taking the time to appreciate it – never taking for granted the good things surrounding you, no matter how subtle. Sure, there are things I could complain about, stresses and annoyances – but frankly, I’d rather not focus there. Staring at April walking gingerly beside her mother, a beautiful sign of fresh life, it’s easier than ever to celebrate the small sweet things that skirt the edges of our harried world. When you take the time to consider it, we all have so many blessings. It is simply a matter of recognizing them.