Saturday, May 26, 2007

Annie: The Perfect Day

Annie asked me to post this for her, and I think you'll see why I love her so.

Have you ever had a truly perfect day? I've been lucky to have many, many fine days. I never really gave much thought to what constitutes a perfect day. Until today. I had a truly perfect day.

Radar Swimming

Jeff Soaking

Charity Foundering

Annie & Echo Lounging

In my mind, a perfect day would involve loads of chocolate, fine wine, a great day with horses and dogs and then my hubbie would saunter in and ask which chick flick I wanted to watch together that evening. I would say: that one that requires buckets of tears because it is so touching. He'd say "Alright! Just what I wanted to watch . . . Or we could just watch a few Tivo-ed episodes of Oprah together if you would prefer."

Today though, none of that happened. But it was still perfect. Here's why.

We're in the middle of a drought-ending rain. The joy of seeing our creek jump its banks and flow madly through the property, that is pure joy. The wildflowers are almost obscene in their abundance this year, after hardly anything but ugly, hardy weeds for the past two years. Grass is growing so tall, so thick that our menagerie of horses, donkeys and sheep can't make a dent in it. The county just to our north got almost 8 inches of rain yesterday. That raised our local lake to normal levels. The lake had been so low that boat docks were useless and sat sickeningly flat on dry land, where once they had ebbed and flowed with the currents.

Nature has been stingy in the last few years. It was too hot and too dry. No rain in sight. People around here ran out of hay for their livestock. Wells ran dry. Old-timers said the drought was worse now than the horrific drought throughout the 1950s. No one could recall a time so dry.

But this spring the clouds opened up and the rains came. If you hadn't lived though the drought and hadn't of watched animals -- both wild and domesticated -- suffer for it, you might be cursing the flooding rains we have now. This lesson of nature -- of gratitude -- was my first thump on the head today. It's muddy, the fence lines have been trummeled once again and require fixing from the swollen creek, but the drought is over. Gratitude.

Also today, my favorite jenny donkey came up lame. She's ornery and opinionated and gets what she wants. I like that in a person just as much as I like it in a donkey. She was limping so badly we thought her knee was broken. Generally speaking, when a four legged equine breaks a leg, it means almost certain death. I waited with the jenny, named Charity, while Jeff hiked all the way back home and called the small town horse vet. The good doctor was able to come out this evening. While I waited, Charity was so patient. She just was waiting alongside me. She didn't know the vet was coming, and coming for her. She didn't know that he had life ending drugs with him, in case her injury was that severe. She was just waiting, eating grass, swatting flies, hanging with me patiently. I realized that I could sit there and weep and be miserable for what may have to happen in the next few minutes . . .or I could help her swat the flies and let her graze and live with her -- to the fullest -- in that moment. She was in deep pain, but accepted the situation and didn't struggle and didn't complain. She trusted me to help her. And we did.

We got lucky. Charity got lucky. She had foundered again, an odd hoof condition that causes horrible pain when the bone in the hoof rotates unnaturally. She would get through this, as she had before. The good doctor gave her some pain medicine, but the life ending drugs stayed packed up in his bag. Another day was granted to this sweet donkey. Gratitude.

As the day winds down, and the sheep have stopped baa-ing and are happy in their barn; as the horses are put up in their barn and out of the rain; as the 5 dogs lie happily asleep by our feet; as the once dry creek bed roars to life; as I sit here tonight in awe of nature and her strength, I realize that this is the conclusion of a perfect day.

I have heard of a dear friend who lost a beloved dog today. I have walked that long walk many times and I know it can happen to one of my own dogs any day. I have carried with me -- today and every day -- the sorrow of my birth family's unrest and stonewalled silence. I have learned of people suffering horrible fates to cancers or murders or war on the evening news. I know the world can be a sorry place. A sad place of pain and loss and of death. A place so dry the land cracks for lack of rain.

But today, an ordinary day, I feel the depth of gratitude for just being here. For sharing my life in the country with the man of my dreams. I know almost all of my animals will pass before me, in front of me. I know Charity got lucky and got help because we could afford to help her; and we noticed her pain. I know people I love dearly will be felled by sickness and dis-ease. I know I will go too, one day. But Charity and the rain and the Border Collie's jumping with glee over the creek and my husband leading the vet through the tall grasses and the over the creek to help this little donkey in need . . .all of these things made today a perfect day.

The sorrow for animals or people who are sick or who have passed hit me in the gut today. But the quality of life that we all get to enjoy -- if we choose to live in the moment -- is astounding. I feel blessed to have witnesses it all today -- the pain and sorrow and the joy and the kindness and the love that it all here all the time.

I hope you too have a perfect day. Every day.


Dad said...

Charity's luckiest day was the day you and Jeff took her in. Who would have thought we would all learn so much -- from a small donkey and you.


Adam H said...

a beautiful post annie. i hope you write more entries in the future.

The Cow Whisperer said...

Yep. We been prayin' for rain...