Monday, February 8, 2016


Two weeks ago, I went on vacation. Four days, five nights – surely the longest trip I’ve been on in years. The friends that I was visiting thought this was the briefest of visits! As if it were no longer than the recess period during grade school. But to me, it felt as long as my four years in college.
For four days and five nights, there was no point in checking my cell phone or the nearest digital clock to see if it was near 6am, noon or 6pm. I didn’t need to carve 2-3 hours out of my day to push my pitch fork through several stalls, fluffing sawdust as I went. I didn’t automatically have any kind of workout, a side effect of tossing hay into stalls, filling water buckets and wheeling a wheel barrow through snow or across ice out to the manure pile. There wasn’t one single demand on my time. I was free.
Lilac Reardon
My host asked what I wanted to do – would I like to visit local watering holes? Tourist attractions? The beach? Twenty four hours in a day is so plentiful when there are no creatures, either the size of your head or half the size of your truck, that are barking, whining, pounding, pawing or whinnying because according to their internal clock, you’re not moving fast enough. You’re never moving fast enough. They want food. They want water. They want to go out. They want to come in. They want to see their mate. They want to know why you’re headed down the hallway. They have to know what you’re up to in the bathroom. They want to know everything. Unless you want them to go outside, or eat, or play. Then they want to nap. Twenty four hours is a very long time when you have no one following you around and literally barking orders at you, no one banging and squealing their displeasure from the barn. Twenty four hours is a very long time.
So I filled it with this wonderful thing called vacation. A societal concept of a controlled escape from reality. A chance to experience new things, see new places, eat different foods. I was beyond blissful once I got into the swing of vacation. It was wild – the choices I made – the things I did – some of them might seem unthinkable, at least in my mind.
I peered out over the ocean at sunset, the decadent fuchsias and golds appearing like something from a Maxfield Parrish painting. I made tiny wishes and sent them out on the waves where dolphins softly crested out of the water, grabbed them and swam them out to sea. As the sound of the ocean filtered over the band playing on the beach, my mind rolled and splashed, easily devoid of responsibility. I enjoyed a cocktail. The next morning, I wrote in my journal, never checking my phone for the time, hoping to cram in just a few more sentences. I stood in the sunshine just before the sky opened up with a warm rain. I ate large, home cooked dinners. I became immersed in a television show, devouring three seasons in four days. I sat on the couch in my pajamas so long my joints became stiff, my lower extremities turning to pins and needles. I enjoyed popcorn and ice cream every night, as if I’d finally hit the lottery that every 9 year old kid dreams of.
In a nutshell, I did nothing.
Nothing but live a life more akin to that of a non-animal owner. Four days, five nights was just long enough. On that final morning, before I hopped on a plane to return to the snowy country, I finally allowed myself to wonder if my dog had been sleeping well, if her internal alarm clock was inching ever earlier like it does every spring. I wondered if my horses had noticed that someone else had been feeding them morning, noon and night, that the feeding order was different, and would they be happy to see me return.

Tightening my seat belt, I would soon hear the soft nickers of my mares at grain time and the slightly offbeat click clack of my geriatric dog tottering through the house. Four days and five nights was just enough to turn my soul the most decadent shades of fuchsia and gold again, rejuvenated and ready to return to my rewarding life of routine.

TC & Breeze, always watching and waiting for me

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