RSS Feed

It’s been THAT kind of summer

It’s been one of THOSE summers.  Eesh.

 It began almost 6 weeks ago when I sprained my ankle. I’d
like to say I was leaping from my horse in a death defying move, or maybe my
big toe got caught on my ear as I was wrapping my leg around my head in an
exotic yoga feat, but alas, I’m not that interesting.
   Actually, I was washing my car and I had put too many
quarters in the vacuum, so instead of counting my losses, I decided to crawl
into the back corners of the van to suck up any invisible specks of dirt that
may be hidden there (to get my money’s worth from the carwash, you see,) and
that had me in this awkward, blind position as I crawled backwards out of the
car. I stepped on the vacuum hose and my foot rolled over and hit the sidewalk
  I just sat on the ground and
cried. Partially because it really hurt, but mostly because I knew it was a bad
sprain and I was feeling sorry for myself. Getting injured at the half waypoint
of intense yoga training is seriously bad timing. I couldn’t reach Mark, so I crawled
into the car and drove to the coffee shop with my left foot, where I iced the
ankle and had a pity-party – with coffee.
The foot swelled up to double it’s size and turned black and blue.

 Did I go to the doctor? Of course not. I NEVER go to the
doctor. I just figured I’d ice it and wrap it and keep it elevated and in a day
or two, presto, I’d be fine. But, of course I wasn’t fine. I hobbled around on
crutches for a week (which is really difficult when you are at a barn feeding
animals, because the crutches sink into the mud and you can’t balance on gravel
and …. Well, let me just say it’s a good thing chickens don’t learn to talk
like parrots or there would be a litany of cussing going on down there forevermore.

 That weekend, I went to my next 20-hour yoga intensive on
crutches, and had to observe. What a drag. Two weeks later, I had my next yoga
intensive weekend, and I hobbled in again. Luckily that was a special event
weekend where we studied meditation and ended up meditating for 20 hours – it
is called rounding. It was a very intense, remarkable weekend that I won’t go
into now, but luckily my bad ankle didn’t hold me back.

 This weekend I had another intensive scheduled, and we were
going to work on handstands and headstands and other inverted positions. I
couldn’t bare missing out again, and dang if my ankle wasn’t still swollen up,
5 weeks after the fall, so I dragged myself to a sports doctor who took e-rays,
then yelled at me because I’ve probably been walking around on a broken ankle
for 5 weeks. She put me in a cast. Now, I’m hobbling around without pain at
long last in this jazzy black metal and Velcro boot thing. Yeah, I’m stylin’.
The problem is, the injury caused my entire body to get out of whack, and I’ve been
experienced horrible pain in my knees too. I asked the doctor to check
everything, because if my body is deteriorating I figured I should know before
I sign a lease on a new studio.

 The doctor and I viewed the ex-rays and she showed me I was
in marvelous shape for my age, I just had to be patient and let my injury heal
– and don’t be such a dope about it next time.
  I got a cortisone shot in my knee, which made the pain disappear,
and now, finally, I’m on the mend. It was a revelation to learn I’m in good
shape. I guess I had convinced myself that I was falling apart because Mark has
such serious physical problems from his years of dance, and he is almost 7
years younger than I am, and has danced for far less years. Logic has it that since
I’m older, and danced all those hard years in New York, I MUST be falling apart
too. Ah, but all bodies are not created equal. Speaking with the doctor changed my outlook, and
suddenly, I’m primed and ready to re-enter the dance world. (but that is
another subject and since this blog is about my lousy summer, I’ll set that aside for now.)

 I wore my boot to the yoga training this weekend, and
actually did all the physical asana in it, (held yoga positions) though my
transitions were not exactly graceful. Can’t have something like a broken ankle
stop progress, ya know. I did a few inversions and worked on spotting other
students, but they wouldn’t let me handstand against the wall, for fear I’d
smash through like the bionic woman.
That’s fair.  I must say,
this portion of yoga training came easy, because when you’ve taught acrobatics,
you understand spotting and how body awareness goes askew when you are upside
down. I had a head start, so to speak.

 Moving on – to the bad summer proof. . .

 My baby llama was killed. I don’t want to go into details,
because I was devastated and rather not think about it too much, but in a
nutshell, the coyotes attacked in the night. We found him at noon the next day
laying in the creek as his dad, Dali, was, only in the baby’s case, he wasn’t
dead, just horribly maimed. He was bleeding, couldn’t stand, and had half his
ribs eaten away. I knew he couldn’t be saved, and therefore he had to be put
him down as quickly as possible. Of course, I don’t have a gun and wouldn’t
know how to shoot one if I did, nor do I think I’d have the emotional
  Well, maybe I could.
Amazing what you are capable of when you love something. The vet would take a
long time to arrive, and would charge me a fortune, but I didn’t know who else
to ask for help, so, sobbing, I ran to the house (on my broken ankle –
  this was before going to the doctor
when my actions were continually making the injury worse) to call Mark for
advice. He said he’d take care of it and called a friend to come shoot the
beast – a humanitarian choice, but still, the mere idea had me in hysterics.
Meanwhile, it took the friend over an hour to arrive, and I had to listen to my
most beloved pet suffering, crying out to his mother and looking to me to help
him. I was a basket case.

 After an hour of this horrible torture (for both the llama
and me), the poor animal was so exhausted and week, he simply laid his head
down into the creek and started to drown. Every instinct had me wanting to rush
to him to hold his head up – but for what? So he could suffer a bit longer
until someone came to shoot him? The kindest thing was to let him go. So, I
watched my most loved animal thrashing in the water, blood pooling around him, as
his life slowly ebbed away. Needless to say, I collapsed to the ground in
uncontrollable grief, which is when Mark and his friend arrived.

 I was crouched over, inconsolable.

 For days after that, I couldn’t get Pauli’s image out of my
mind. Knowing he suffered so long and had such a violent end just did me in.
But in retrospect, I suppose watching him drown was better than watching him be
shot. I went to the house as Mark brought the tractor around and buried him
near the blueberry bush. He later told me Pauli looked very serine and at peace
– convincing him that drowning had been the more graceful way for the young
llama to go. Mark also told me that he heard animals always go to the water
when they know they are going to die. Apparently, deer do that when they’re
shot – go to water and drown themselves on purpose when they’re suffering. This
information was passed on in a kind attempt to make me feel better, I think.
But honestly, it didn’t help.

 Meanwhile, I knew I had to get my remaining llama, Pulaini,
out of here. I’ve worried about the coyotes in spring, and so I’ve had the llamas up for sale
for a month already with no takers, so now I decided to just give her away to
any good home (which as far as I’m concerned just means a home without killer
coyotes) I called several llama farms, but they didn’t want another animal.

 At the vet’s advice, I ended up calling llama rescue and
just yesterday signed surrender papers. Most of the llamas picked up by llama
rescue are problem animals. They are old, or have not been cared for properly,
or they have behavior problems so no one wants them. But my llama is in the
best of health, fully registered, has great fiber, and she’s gentle, halter
trained etc… They promised me she would go fast to a good home, and they do
check ups on the animals adopted out so she would be sure to go someplace with
ample pasture, shelter, and the companionship of at least one more llama. In
the end, she will be well cared for and happy – so I’m happy. The regional head
of the llama rescue organization commended me on caring more about her health
and wellness than risking her well being while I tried to sell her (because she
is still a valuable animal). I figure I’d need to spend more on counseling if I
had to go through one more llama death than I’d ever get by selling the animal,
so I’m happy to let her go. The only problem is, they haven’t picked her up yet
and every night I hear the coyotes out there. I pace around the house wishing I
could just go out there and blow their brains out. Clearly, my yoga training
has a way to go since ahimisa (doing no harm) is a key philosophical unit in
the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjauli. But hey, I doubt the monk that wrote these
guidelines had killer coyotes messing with his loved ones.

 Anyway, I am now a llama-less farm girl. I was headed in the
llama-free direction anyway, but it came about in a more violent way then I’d
hoped for. Now, along with my warm and fuzzy memories of watching a llama come
into this world, I have stored memories of watching him go out in a sad,
painful way as well. Life can be bittersweet. Without llamas, I have no need of
angoras (since I need to blend their fiber with other fiber to use it) so I’ve
decided to look for a good home for my rabbits too. Downsizing.

 It seems Dance is reentering my world (thanks to the Yoga
trapdoor). Animals are slowly exiting. It feels like my life has gone through
an eclipse, but now the moon shadowing the sun is passing. An eclipse is a
marvelous and rare thing to witness – but it is not a state you want to be in

Anyway . . .   

 These aren’t the only highlights of my month of misery, but
since I promised to keep these blogs shorter I’ll only mention a few more

 Kent totaled his car. He’s fine, but the car is a goner. We
decided to cut our losses and not tell insurance due to his age and what it
would do to his (our) rates. Poor kid is without a car all summer – and around
here that really nails your feet to the floor, but I am sort of glad. I have
been concerned with his driving for a while now, and I can’t help but feel this
accident will save his life in the bigger scheme. I count my blessings for

 He also wrecked my car on mother’s day. He and Mark were
running to Home depot to pick up some supplies for our family gardening project
(my gift) and Mark asked Kent to drive. No sooner had they gotten into the car
than Mark backed into our stone wall. Perhaps I should mention that 3 months
ago he backed his car into Mark’s car and wrecked two in one shot. What can I
say? The boy has talent. Why Mark had him drive when he knows Kent treats
automobiles like bumper cars is a mystery. Ah well.

 A rock hit my windshield and cracked it. Can’t blame Kent
for that – just the auto-gods. When the company came to fix it, the crack
spread. Now I need a new windshield too.
Hey, bring it on, God’s of automobiles, I say. After the llama accident,
these car issues are naught but a nuisance.

 This morning, I was washing a set of sheets and when I came
into the laundry room during the first spin cycle there was a two-inch layer
of water everywhere. The machine, only two years old, is leaking. Great. Kent’s room below is under water. Don’t want to think of the damage that will cause to the ceiling. 

 Someone came to see our home last week and since we’ve
lowered the price drastically we really thought it would move. They didn’t make
an offer. Dammit.

 I could go on and on . . . There are plenty more aggravating,
life glitch moments to share, but I think the few I’ve detailed here makes my
point. No reason to dump negative facts on innocent friends who show up here expecting
positive news or a fun read.

 I just wanted to make a point –  it’s been THAT kind of summer.  I’m ready for some good news, happiness,
and/or pleasure. Frankly, I’m way, way, way, way over-due. 

About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

One response »

  1. …hate to say this, but you had a bad SPRING, not summer….sumber begins this Sunday (Father’s Day) June 21…hang in there. The hills of life go up AND down….



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: