Last week, my online friend Jo-Ann Carson suggested doing blogs on the things we are grateful for, and I agreed to contribute. So I’m returning to blogging by talking about three things I appreciate. Of course, my loving, supportive husband and my fabulous kids and grandchildren are at the top of my list, but today I’m focusing other things I’m so glad to have.
I’m extremely grateful for the wonderful horses that shared my life for so long. They taught me so much and gave their unconditional love when things times were difficult. I was born horse-crazy and never had any fear of the big animals, even as a toddler. I was convinced they would never hurt me. One of my earliest memories was of Babs, my brother’s horse. She was a sweet thing that I used to ride around the neighborhood when I was three or four. I also used to pester her when she was grazing, trying to make her do a trick. One day she’d apparently had enough and I went crying into the house with the top of my head all slobbery, saying Babs had pulled my hair. One of my first lessons in respect for another being.
(Not me, but could have been. 🙂 )
All the horses I’ve dealt with have taught me different things. One of the most important was that praise and carrots accomplished much more than harshness. As a twelve-year old with no formal instruction, I was able to teach my Star circus tricks with just carrots and persistence. The habit of praise and reward are so ingrained in me, I do it automatically with any animal I encounter.
Another set of things I’m very grateful for are the spectacular sunsets I can see from our new house. We are now up in the hills with a wooded slope on one side that drops down into the canyon behind us. Since this area is Regional Open Space, our only neighbors are deer, wild turkeys, raccoons, hawks, vultures and lots of other birds, including a large owl who has recently started coming by in the evenings. Unfortunately, coyotes are also part of this open area, as we discovered when our elderly cat disappeared on Labor Day.
On the other side of our house, we can see a portion of San Francisco Bay and with this view comes mind-blowing sunsets. For most of my adult life, I’ve lived 30-40 minutes from the ocean, so I’ve seen many wonderful sunsets. However, the ones I see from up here are simply spectacular. I’m not sure why they seem so much better, but I certainly love them.
The last thing I’ll give thanks for today is my new knee. Last March, after many long years of my right leg not working properly, and many attempts to make it better without surgery (including a type of stem cell therapy), I finally gave in and had my knee replaced. The surgery went well, but the anesthesiologist gave me a medicine I had told him I couldn’t tolerate, so the aftermath was more unpleasant than it needed to be. Despite that, I recovered well and am now amazed at being able to walk normally again. Even when my knee didn’t hurt, I couldn’t move freely and had to be careful. Now I can do stairs and hike the hills much more easily. Next month, I’ll do my left knee and should be able to take on the trails behind our house with little problem. I don’t look forward to the recovery phase, but I’ve found an excellent physical therapy clinic and know they’ll make it as painless as possible.
So, what are you grateful for? In this difficult time, it’s wise to focus on the good things in our lives. What makes you smile? What inspires you to dance?