Middle-Aged Gals Should Stick Together

noblessesunset

 

noblesseeye1

 

haflingermares

 

I’m almost sixty three, deep into my middle age and some days I’m reminded how deep more than others. Though I’m well past the hot flashes of the last decade, I still compare notes with the aging mares on our farm and watch how well they cope with their advancing years.

For instance:

These mares still have a lot of life left. They run like the wind when turned loose, their hair flies in the wind and they can buck, kick and fart with the best of them.

These mares know who they are. There is no identity crisis here. They are mothers who have finished their mothering years, and are well into the grandmothering years. Even so, they still like to flirt and haven’t given up on the idea that they can attract attention from a certain fella in the neighboring field.

These mares know their jobs very well, sometimes too well and anticipate what is being asked before it is requested. They can go for long periods without work but once saddled or harnessed up and pointed in the right direction, it is like they’ve been doing their job every day for years. No need for a steep learning curve, or reminder lessons. No funny business or messing around. There is pride in their work. They can be a bit out of shape though, with a tendency toward the fluffy side of fitness, so they need a moment to catch their breath once in awhile. Their muscles sometimes hurt the next day. They break out in sweat easily.  They appreciate a break for a mid-day nap.

These mares are opinionated. There is no question they know their own minds, what they want and how they are going to get it and keep no one around them guessing.

These mares are stubborn. Once they’ve decided something, it takes more than soft sweet persuasion, like a whack on the behind, to change course. Once they’ve decided they don’t like another horse, the only way to change that opinion is for the other horse to adopt an attitude of complete servitude and submission, giving way whenever approached and grooming the boss mare whenever asked.

These mares are hungry. Always. See “fluffy” above.

These mares don’t sleep all that much, but wish they could sleep more.  Even though they might look like they are napping (see “mid-day nap” above), they are actually meditating, with their eyes closed, on the next plan of action.

These mares are not as fussy about their appearance as they used to be. The four foot manes have been rubbed down to two foot manes and may have a few more tangles in them. Their tails may have stains (don’t ask why). They stride through mud puddles without a second thought to where the dirt flies, whereas when they were younger, there was no way one hoof was going to set foot in such mucky stuff.

These mares don’t keep as tidy a bedroom as they used to. Why bother? Life is too short for tidiness.

These mares know how to make best friends and keep them. If their best forever friend is not turned out with them in the field, they will stand at the gate, and call nonstop for an hour asking where she is.

These mares know how to give great kisses and hugs. Especially if you are hiding a carrot on your person, you’ll be mugged.

Yes, we deep-in-middle age gals, human and equine, do seem to have a lot in common. Nice to know we can always stick together, through thick and …well, thick.

 

eveningrun

 

spaday2

briarcroftponies

 

wally617

A Pure Bright Blaze

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In the gloaming
when death comes
clearly into view
as the horizon
of life’s landscape,
the call is to illumination,
to focus the shining darts
of life’s lessons
as a magnifying glass
focuses rays of light.
The task of middle age
is to dispose
of the extraneous,
to focus desire’s flickering
until it flames
at the incendiary point
of an undivided heart
and makes of love
a pure, bright blaze
before a falling night.
~Bonnie Thurston  “Late Vocation”by Paraclete Press
sunset217174
In my third trimester of life, I try to find a focal point in all I do and the blaze that arises warm and illuminating from that magnifying glass, yet does not incinerate.
God shows me how in every sunset light.
His Love glows bright and pure, but like the burning bush it never is reduced to ash;
it is permanent even as our night falls.
sunset217171
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Unexplainable

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten
What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me?  I can’t
 
turn in any direction
but it’s there.  I don’t mean
 
the leaves’ grip and shine or even the thrush’s
silk song, but the far-off
 
fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven’s slowly turning
 
theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;
 
or time that’s always rushing forward,
or standing still
 
in the same — what shall I say —
moment.
What I know
I could put into a pack
 
as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,
 
important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained
 
and unexplainable.
 
….mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing in and out…
 ~Mary Oliver from “What is there beyond knowing”

Yesterday, we packed up the remnants of our sons’ childhood, boxing up their bedrooms to put away their school notebooks and artwork in garage storage next to the boxes containing their departed grandparents’ lives.  The bedrooms are now pristine and less chaotic, ready for overnight visitors from faraway lands, but I lay awake troubled and tossing in the winds of my life’s changing.  

What I know will be packed up in a box someday by my children, a simple portable box to be tucked away and reopened by some future generation who will puzzle over why this or that was saved.  While time rushes forward, it is disorienting as everything else is unexplainable.

I can only stand and wait, breathless yet breathing, to know what is there beyond knowing.  

It will come, I know.  It is calling.

We Middle Aged Gals Should Stick Together

I’m almost fifty six, well into my middle age.  Aside from the requisite hot flashes of this time of life, I’ve come to recognize a few common characteristics between myself and other women I know who are in my age range in comparison with what I see in the older mares on my farm.  I spend time every day with these Haflinger mares–one age 17+ and the other 19+ (who are not quite menopausal but sometimes act like it.)

For instance:

These mares still have a lot of life left.  They run like the wind when turned loose, their hair flies in the wind and they can buck, kick and fart with the best of them.

These mares know who they are.  There is no identity crisis here.  They are mothers who have pretty much finished their mothering years, and may well be on to their grandmothering years.  They still like to flirt and haven’t given up on the idea that they can still attract attention from a certain fella in the neighboring field.

These mares know their jobs very well, sometimes too well and anticipate what is being asked before it is requested.    They can go for long periods without work but once saddled or harnessed up and pointed in the right direction, it is like they’ve been doing their job every day for years.    No need for a steep learning curve, or reminder lessons.   No funny business or messing around.   There is pride in their work.   They can be a bit out of shape though, with a tendency toward the fluffy side of fitness, so they need a moment to catch their breath once in awhile.  Their muscles sometimes hurt the next day.  They break out in sweat easily.

These mares are opinionated.  There is no question they know their own minds, what they want and how they are going to get it.

These mares are stubborn.  Once they’ve decided something, it takes a sharp whack on the behind to change course.  Once they’ve decided they don’t like another horse, the only way to change that opinion is for the other horse to adopt an attitude of complete servitude and submission, giving way whenever approached and grooming the boss mare whenever asked.

These mares are hungry.   Always.  See “fluffy” above.

These mares don’t sleep much.  There is too much reason not to.  They might look like they are napping, but they are actually meditating on the next plan of action.

These mares are not as fussy about their appearance as they used to be.  The four foot manes have been rubbed down to two foot manes and may have a few more tangles in them.   They stride through mud puddles without a second thought, whereas when they were younger, there was no way a hoof was going to set foot in such dirty stuff.

These mares don’t keep as tidy a bedroom as they used to.  Why bother?

These mares know how to make best friends and keep them.  If their best forever friend is not turned out with them in the field, they will stand at the gate, and call nonstop for an hour asking where she is.

These mares know how to give great kisses and hugs.  Especially if you are hiding a carrot on your person.

Yes, we middle aged gals, human and equine,  do have a lot in common.    Nice to know we can stick together, through thick and …well, thick.