Alaska Quote

End of the semester is a crazy time, but this year, things are surprisingly under control. Only a few stray assignments to read, followed by the grand finale — the 12 — 15 page papers — 30 to be exact — that will be coming in next Tuesday. In the meantime, I have taken on a new gig with tons of work and it’s all good — it’s just timing, you know?In spite of the “load,” I went riding today. It was one of those sparkly, perfectly-cool, infinite blue-sky days and it was simply not going to pass without this ass getting into the seat of saddle secured on the back of a horse — mine! We didn’t do much because Buzzy was a bit gimpy last week, and today his mistress was a bit lazy, so a few turns around the ring, and that was it.

I’ve been meaning to post this quote for weeks, so now that I’ve finished the book and it gets buried amid my ten million piles of books, today is the day. It came from James Michener’s Alaska, a 1000 + pager about which I can say I honestly enjoyed every single page.  I shall otherwise remain mum regarding details. So, here goes:

So … Life comes at you in a thousand different forms, and you better be prepared to accept it when it comes along. Because if you miss it, the years stretch out forever, bleak and lonely and meaningless.

Now I can take the sticky-marker off the page, stick the book on the shelf with all the others, and  maybe dust it at some future time to come.

Musings on Animals

The farrier came out to the barn morning. Outside it was dank and raw, having snowed some last night. Inside the barn it was warm and toasty, filled with the smell of green hay, musty horse fur, and of course, the perfume of horse poop. Does anyone else like the smell of horse poop as much as I do? Anyway, usually I ride on farrier days, but not today. The footing in the ring and on the trails was muddy and wet, and the outside chill bit right through to the soul. Instead, I moved into Buzzy’s stall for a short time.

Buzzy is my equine-buddy and best friend. He got his name because he actually buzzes. It is a sound he reserves for special greetings and to announce his ultimate contentment. He buzzed a lot this morning. In his stall, I took the curry to him and simply made gentle circles all over his body, but in particular, on his belly and while doing so, rested my head on his back. His body embraced me and he stopped munching his hay and went into a trance-like state. Occasionally he turned his head and nuzzled my butt.  If ever we were one, today was that day. Now I can get on with the rest of the day with a peacefulness that can only come from a pure connection with another being.

On another note, I am reading James Michener’s Alaska and he writes about sea otters and their exploitation by what else – man! Essentially, this amazing species was almost decimated when their fur was coveted for its beauty, richness and warmth, of course demanding exorbitant  prices and making its hunters rich. I cried when I read the section  that described a hunt and I relay a part of it here. But first, some background, and that is that these lovely creatures float along on their backs, the mothers carrying the young on their bellies and the males floating along beside. They are charming and adorable, almost human-like in their actions and looks. Michener writes:

“’We have her!’ Innokenti would shout, and with a burst of speed he and Zagoskin would virtually leap at the anguished mother, clubbing at her until the babe fell from her protective grasp. When the pursuers saw the little one afloat, Zagoskin would club it, reach out with a net, and pull it into the kayak. The mother, now bereft of her child, would begin swimming madly from one boat to another, searching for it, and as she approached each one, lamenting like a human mother, she suffered the blows that came from the gloating men and swam on to the next, pleading all the while in a high-pitched wail for the return of her child.”

The issue Michener  highlights is how man’s greed destroys these, and other magnificent creatures purely for financial gain. Sigh. Will it ever change?