Thursday, February 4, 2010


Much to the dismay of my Canadian neighbors (hard at work hosting the 2010 winter Olympics), we had the warmest January on record. February isn’t shaping up to help the situation and worried officials have been forced to haul in snow. Sort of like getting take out and arranging it on your table as if you cooked it yourself. Nothing worse then getting one shot to impress the world and having Mother Nature laugh in your face. At least she laughs in flowers. I know my lilacs are already forming buds and the beds of bulbs sport a good inch of optimistic growth. This may sound insensitive, but I’m doing an El Nino happy dance.

The wonder of a growing bulb just never gets old. There it is, a dead wizened ball of crispy roots in autumn and a few months later, presto, it morphs into a beautiful daffodil, a crocus, a tulip. Bulbs remind me not to get too hung up on exterior appearances and what I take in from my five senses. New life could be lurking deep inside an unattractive shell, just waiting for the right circumstances to express itself.

As followers of this blog know my horse, Chance, is a perpetual problem child—in attitude, in health, in natural abilities. After his mysterious fall in the pasture last August I let him go dormant. I waited, I watched for something to happen—another seizure, a worsening of his ability to move, whatever—so I would know how to proceed. We bought Haley a new horse to continue her journey into barrel racing and grieved the loss of Chance as a riding horse. Outside of a genetic test for a specific neurological disorder, I did nothing. Further testing might lead nowhere but a busted bank account and Chance seemed comfortable and happy. I prayed for him to recover (I mean, why not?) yet planned for a future as a pasture ornament. My unhappy husband scratched his head and calculated how much eastern alfalfa/grass hay he was consuming—“He’s a small horse and doesn’t eat much,” she replied (helpfully).

Because we weren’t doing much with Chance, I didn’t pick up his feet for a good two to three months. I know, that’s bad. Just being honest. After making an early January appt. for the farrier to come and trim The Boys, I decided to mess with his feet a bit and make sure his manners there were intact. As I cleaned out his front feet I saw something amazing: Chance had grown heels. For any non horsey readers, a good hoof shape has an angle to it. The animal should have a heel at the back as if wearing a good one inch loafer that supports the foot. The horse lacking an angle and wearing ballet slippers is not a good thing. Though a terrible “dancer,” Chance wore ballet slippers. The farrier called his feet “stubby.” I called them pancake feet. A side effect from a lifetime of no hoof care. We’d been faithfully trimming them back for two years but his feet still flared mostly flat and he walked very nearly on the bulbs of his heels.

But, lo and behold, as I cleaned around the frog I saw a new triangular shape at the back of the hoof where none had been before—he had heels! They had sprouted from his feet like green leaves from a dried up bulb.

What does it all mean? I can’t really say yet. But those heels give me hope and hope is a beautiful thing. After all, springtime is not intimidated by winter and healing is an inside job.