Before I forget, Happy Birthday to Carol, Mike and Rob, and… me! I’m grateful to turn 56 and have all my parts still working, sort of. A not-so-nice part of aging is that every year there are scary new things that happen. Which makes me think of a friend who is even younger than me who recently bemoaned: “I found wrinkles in my cleavage!” But I still manage to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. I did have a brush with mortality last month, even though it was mostly in my mind. I found a lump in a place that was previously lump-less and of course, I immediately assumed it was the big C. I wondered: if I was dying soon, what did I still want to accomplish? I realized I didn’t even have a Bucket List. I decided I want to go to Africa and visit the baby elephant sanctuary, camp in a super-sweet Out of Africa-like tent and wear white linen while eating a gourmet meal to the music of lions roaring and monkeys howling. I would love to see my books published …. and I would love to see some old friends again. And I wanted my sister around. And that was about all I could come up with. I have had an adventurous life, lived in many places, seen a bit of America and a handful of other countries; I’ve saddle-started a wild mustang and had a fun career in the movie biz; and I have been in love (still am!). Not having kids was a regret until I reconciled myself with it. And almost as soon as I did, I found myself with two girls to mother. After all that, the tests turned out to show I am completely ok. I couldn’t believe it. I kept saying, “Are you sure?” Yes, they were sure. Whew! And time to work on that List, and start saving for Africa.
Last month I wrote about leaving the mountain. I knew the first step was moving the mustangs. Being without a truck or horse trailer, I was obliged to ask my friends for help. Nadia and Joe Lane from High Sierra Wild Horse Sanctuary in Southlake brought the trailer and wranglers, Rob Lambert and son Billy were there (Rob and Monica are adopting Rosie and Captain Call) and Tami Barkley, rancher and cool gal extrordinaire, who got those bad ponies loaded up in about ten minutes. Thank you to all! It was a heart wrenching moment watching the horses drive off, but the adventure wasn’t even over. As I cried up at Red Lodge, on the way down our treacherous road the trailer slid off the bank, the horses had to be unloaded and walked, the trailer unstuck, and horses loaded back. Happily, everyone survived without a scratch and the horses settled into their new digs in Southlake.
I rode Reno down there again today, with Nadia and another mustang along. It’s going to be fun exploring all the trails and it’s just gorgeous riding along the lake. Today Reno met the burros: he went “Huh!” What are those things?” But after he got over the shock there was some sweet nose kisses. Nadia and Joe have saved 150 horses from slaughter over the years, and I’m so grateful they have made a place for Reno until I find my new horse-friendly house.
I swear I feel like I just got dropped off from another planet. Everything’s different now that I am spending time In Town. When I get off work, the afternoon stretches before me like a big candy shop. Go check out the river? Read? A lovely, drooly afternoon snooze? Catch up on phone calls? Take Lily* for a hike? We explored the hill above the house which led to a dirt road which led to the serene top of a hill with views and waving grasses and butterflies and a perfect rock for sitting and thinking and praying. I am discovering Town is not bad. I even get to go places at night! I get to go to hear the band** play. I discovered I dig the coconut shrimp at Ewing’s. The chef salad, ham on the side, at Nelda’s. Tofu Kung Pao at Lok’s.
I have even watched some TV!***
When we experience major life changes it can be an opportunity to grow. I won’t be the same person here as I was on the mountain, but maybe I can strive to be a better person. A new job, a new relationship, a new problem, a new baby, a new horse, a new house… life is always giving us something new. Why should we stay the same?
Six of the Red Lodge chickens are in the backyard here; there are four dogs; there are often two girls, one boyfriend, his brother, next door best friends, friends from the mountain, band members past and present, and others. So I am still in many ways in the midst of a menagerie just like up at Red Lodge, but different. It’s all new, but it’s all good.
And I am still
the Mountain Mouth
* my Lab mix dog, a.k.a. The Wild One
** White Lightning
*** NOT on the Bucket List
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“The Mountain Mouth” copyright 2011 Kate MacDonald
*The content of this column and the opinions herein are the sole issue of the author and intended as entertainment only. The Fence Post, its affiliates and assigns, the Rankin Ranch, the High Sierra Wild Horse Sanctuary, the cities of Bodfish, Lake Isabella, Havilah, and “Woffo”; the author, her relatives, friends, and contributors, as well as anyone mentioned or not mentioned will not be responsible for any use, non-use, or mis-use of any of the information or opinions contained herein. Always consult a doctor before adopting any new diet or exercise program and eat least six servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. This still means YOU, Carol!