Thursday, August 21, 2008


My neighbor Julianna is dying of cancer. After one round of chemotherapy and two of radiation, a move back to Washington state for her family, she and her husband David have moved back here and are just taking it one day at a time. Julianna is staying incredibly busy, between mowing four acres of grass (honestly), volunteering for the American Cancer Society, and, believe it or not, helping OTHER people with lesser problems such as heart blockage and marital distress.

I feel guilty for not being more 'there' for her. I've fixed her computer more than once, created graphics and signs for her yard sale (in which she, again, extremely unselfishness, was getting rid of a lot of her personal belonging, saving her husband the trouble of having to do it later), but am not certain which borders to keep or ignore.

I am also, very selfishly, luxuriating in every single moment I have at home, particularly this week when I am ENTIRELY alone (well, if you don't count two dogs, one cat, two horses, and three flies who have set permanent residence in my laundry room). It's amazing how one's daily view is entirely altered by 1) not having to be any place at any certain time, 2) refusing to feel any remorse about hours spent playing solitaire, watching "Pride and Prejudice" and eating chocolate, and 3) having no negative energy around (except for the greyhound's unpredictable demands to go outside, look pointedly west, and then turn around and insist on being let back inside instantly.

However, tonight, just as I had released both horses for their evening graze, Julianna walked over, as we stood chatting at the gate for probably a good half hour. Again, she impresses me so much with her positive attitude, her renewal of faith (she has gone back to her original Catholic beliefs, and seems to be comforted), and her sheer strength, even as her walk becomes more insecure and her voice falters at time.

So, as she turned back home (and since David was walking out of their house, I felt okay about leaving her), I gathered the two dogs (who had been alternating between whining at my feet or chasing each other), and began walking over to where I had last seen the horses.

Guess what? No horses.

I took a deep breath, told myself that two large animals such as Najale and Sally could not easily hide, regardless of how high the grass has gotten, and began scanning the horizon.

Again - no horses.

I made myself take another deeper breath, and began walking, not running, towards the back of the house, trying to believe that they might be over by the air conditioner… although they don't like being next to the noisy fan generator, and normally only go there when I am leading them around.

Yet again - no horses.

So at an increased pace (again, not running… but definitely getting closer to that pace), I began to circle the other end of the house. There are four acres fenced in where the horses could be, and I was beginning to… not panic, but be concerned.

Once more - no horses.

I was rapidly giving way to the possible terror of losing 1,800 lbs. of moving horse-flesh who had somehow jumped the fence and were perhaps heading for either the Mexican border (to be detained as - can you see this one coming - drug mules by the Border Patrol) or Coronado National Monument to be captured by tourists who mistake them for ghosts of the conquistador's mounts, when…

TA DA!! Two completely uncontrolled and unrestrained horses had taken refuge… BACK IN THEIR ENCLOSED AND FENCED PASTURE. Eating leftover hay. From what they'd had for dinner tonight.

Geesh. I didn't need that spike in my blood pressure tonight.