The weather here has been hot and humid. I hate humidity. Besides making you feel swampy as soon as you step outside, it brings on migraines for me. So I’ve been pretty miserable all week, until last night anyway, when some cooler, dryer air moved in.

But when I rode Luke yesterday, it was still humid and he was not very enthusiastic about moving. Next Saturday, if things come through, I’ll be riding in a clinic where I board. I mainly want help with figuring out why Luke won’t canter to the right. He’s never been very balanced or strong going to the right, but now he just won’t stay in the canter and it feels all wrong. I think he’s cross-cantering but I need a second set of eyes and another opinion on how to fix it as nothing I’ve tried is working.

Luke has a new pasture pal.

But he is currently keeping his distance and is way off to the left. The gray horse in front of Luke is in another paddock.
With all the rain, heat, and humidity, the bugs are doubly bad this year. Luke is trying to pretend to be a fly so maybe the real ones will leave him alone.

I went to the annual Irish Fair at Harriet Island today. I mainly enjoy going to hear the music and watch other people listening to the music, especially the uninhibited little kids, who dance with utter abandon. I wish I could have photographed some of that but parents tend to get a little freaked out when strangers take pictures of their children.

I did capture this one little girl. You see a lot of River Dance hair at the fair, since many of the girls perform at the event.

And there was this girl, who was running in circles with her dog.

There was a bagpipe competition.
And a hurling demonstration.
I tried for a little artistry in my photographs. I liked the look of the lines of the speaker towers against the sky.
And the sun peeking through the clouds.
And the city skyline on the other side of the Mississippi River.
And, well, this is my camera acting up again.
I think I need to send the darn thing in to Canon this time, for real, for repair. Even the non-modern art photos are just plain blurry.

But like I said initially, the main reason I like attending the Irish Fair is the music. The first group I saw was called McInnis’ Kitchen.

My favorite group of the day was the two men in Reverse Cowboy. Besides great music they included a bit of humor that brought a smile to these Irish eyes.

The High Kings were the biggest act and have a lot of videos available on YouTube.

So just in case you like Irish music and dance like I do, I’ve included a couple videos from the High Kings — the first is music, the second is drum and dance.

Enjoy!

It is good to feel lost… because it proves you have a navigational sense of where “Home” is.  You know that a place that feels like being found exists. And maybe your current location isn’t that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.  ~Erika Harris

I spent most of the weekend trying to decorate the new place — put up pictures and arrange things. I have way too much horse decor. It’s a bit overwhelming in a smaller space. I’m so bad at knowing what looks good together and what doesn’t.

Many of the things I put up, I’ve taken back down again and put back into a box. Everything just looks ugly to me and it’s extremely frustrating to spend so much time arranging things only to spend more time tearing it all back down again. All I want is to get all the clutter off the floor and counter tops and live a normal day! I just want to see something familiar and enjoyable around me. Something that says “home”.

I’m also finding that putting up a fence for Java is not just expensive, as I expected, but also very complicated to even get started on. I rented a metal detector this weekend to try and find the property stakes but only found bottle caps and other trash. A neighbor told me that even if I found the stakes, I’d still need to get a real survey to satisfy the city inspector.

I was just hoping that if I found the stakes, the survey might cost less as I’m currently being quoted prices from $400 to $800, depending on how difficult the survey is. I’ll also need to get utility lines flagged, then get a fencing place out to do an estimate, then actually get the fence put in. I’m hoping all this can happen before the ground freezes and Java goes completely insane from being cooped up all the time. Walks are just not cutting it.

So many things have been so frustrating and expensive since I moved. I’ve had some extremely low days where I felt like things are never going to get any better.

Then I went horseback riding.

I forget this about myself; I don’t know how I can, but I do. I mean, I’ve even been thinking I should sell Luke and my truck and trailer to avoid all the drama and expense that comes with boarding.

But then I went horseback riding.

Luke is still out in a paddock alone, but he was grazing when I showed up, looking pretty nonplussed by his aloneness. A couple other boarders are probably coming in the next couple months. As winter nears, many backyard horse owners in Minnesota like to find a place with an indoor ring to ride in.

It amazes me, the difference that being around my horse and riding makes in how I feel and look at things. I suppose it’s that way with anything you are passionate about, but there’s an added element when your passion involves an animal. Besides being completely focused and having your problems and physical pain fall away, there’s the connection factor.

It’s like what you see in the movie Avatar, where each living being is born with neural connection fibers that allow them to plug into each other’s emotions and thoughts. Through this connection, they operate as one being with expanded awareness brought about by experiencing another living creature’s world.

That’s probably beyond my connections with Luke or he wouldn’t have had such a problem picking up the right lead today at the canter. He would have known what I wanted. But there is some kind of connection when I ride, and it calms me down. It slows my racing thoughts. It takes the tightness out of my body.

I went horseback riding and I found home.

I’ve had a tough time figuring out where to start with my post after such a lengthy hiatus.

As I packed up things in the last couple weeks before the move, I kept telling myself, “I just have to survive this and then I’ll be okay.” I don’t know how many times I’ve said the same thing in my lifetime.

I had so many papers to go through and dispose of — some of them mine, some my Mom’s, Dad’s or son’s. Many of them were thick with memories. I kept throwing things into the bonfire, barely looking at what they were. Just trying to burn the pain away.

Six days before the closing on the house, there was a storm. Up to 80 mph straight line winds and rains so heavy that there were no visible droplets. Instead it looked like buckets of water were being emptied from the heavens.

I put my hands against the windows that were being hit by the wind (I know, a big no no), and I couldn’t believe how the glass was moving. The trees were getting pretty beat up, and there was a fast moving creek rushing past the basement walkout door.

Tree roots struggled to hold to the water soaked ground, but many trees simply toppled over.

There were many broken tree branches.

The road was blocked from fallen trees in both directions. Chain saws and wood chippers created a constant drone for days after the storm.

The damage to our trees necessitating spending lots of time on cleanup at a point when I was already uncertain how I was ever going to pack and make the move out deadline.

But there was also beauty after the storm.

And I did get moved. Thank God for my dear cousin and her family, and the other friends that helped. The sellers came through and allowed me to move my entire moving van of stuff into their garage the night before closing. My realtor was very impressed when my 6 car caravan arrived to unload.

Friday I received more help to get the heaviest items inside the house and to unload my horse trailer.

The weekend was spent cleaning and unpacking. I still have a long way to go but it’s coming along.

So far I feel like a duck out of water. It’s like living in a strange hotel.

There is a cat pooping in my backyard, a neighbor with blinding security lights (forget star and moon gazing), and I injured my back when Java jerked me off the deck as she took off full bore after a squirrel while on a leash. Would some fencing company PLEASSSEEE return my phone calls!

Oh, and the laminated floor covering my living room, dining room, and stairway is bugging me more than I thought it would. I feel guilty about how much the flooring is bothering me. I’m lucky to have as much as I do. But I love wood floors and walking on hard plastic feels even worse than walking on the softer linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom.

Okay, done with my shallow complaining …

I keep reminding myself to give it time and stop thinking of my new home as imprisonment. At least the drive to work is a lot better. And I have nice neighbors — an air conditioning/furnace guy on one side and a guy that helped back up my horse trailer when he saw me struggling. My driveway is short and slightly downhill, and the city streets are narrow. My neighbor ended up having to back the trailer all the way down the street and around the corner because there wasn’t enough room to maneuver and get the truck facing the direction I needed to go otherwise.

(Note to self – never bring horse trailer home again.)

I ended up taking the barn cat Shy with me, just temporarily, until the new owners are completely settled. I’m not much of a cat person but she’s growing on me, and Java and Shy are so cute together. I don’t think Shy was on the Purchase Agreement’s list of items I HAD to leave behind …

Now for tragedy. One of the horses Luke was turned out with had to be put down over the weekend due to a broken leg. That in itself is horrible enough. But the owner blames Luke because the horses had some initial scuffles. But there were no external marks on the injured horse to indicate that Luke or the other horse in the paddock had done anything. A storm was another factor that could have come into play, but we will never know what happened.

So there was a great heaviness as I worked on unpacking. It was impossible to enjoy any of it or make any move towards decorating. Everytime I laughed over something, I felt guilty. Did the little black cloud that follows me around end up hurting someone else?

I’ve been looking forward to releasing some of the responsibility of horse ownership. I’ve been looking forward to being able to do things and go places without having to worry about horse care. I’ve been looking forward to the social aspects of boarding.

I did expect boarding to be a tough adjustment. I expected Luke to end up with some battle scars as a pecking order was established. But I never expected anything like what has happened.

There is another gelding coming in that will be placed with Luke and that should be fine. Still, I’m afraid that something might happen again.

This isn’t helping with my effort of not living my life in fear of the “next bad thing”.

Luke (along with Java) has been my life vest though the past year. Riding has been a source of peace for me. Now, I don’t know whether it will ever be the same. I felt guilty yesterday as I rode because I still have a horse to ride.

It makes me wonder, if your path keeps leading to loss and tragedy, should you turn in another direction? And if you do, where do you go? Where do you dare to go?

I’m hoping that like a thunderstorm, there may be damage, but there may also be something awesome to behold when the storm blows over.

I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and
women trample themselves and die. Something magnificent is taking
place here amidst the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme
challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in
our curious heritage prevail. — C.A. Beard

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