Sunday, January 13, 2013

Warning Signs

Warning Signs by Kathi Peters

Love this painting by my extremely talented friend, Kathi Peters. Her website where you can see more of her absolutely wonderful work, and her blog,

If I weren't a perpetually broke and drowning in debt artist myself, I would own this because it reminds me of Danny and something that happened this morning.

To preface this story, we have had a stray bear wandering around in our woods for several months now. When our neighbor first spotted it, I'd already noticed that my horses were behaving oddly for almost a week. They were not only jumpy and extremely cautious but they refused to go into the lower pasture. The larger of our two small barns is in the lower pasture. It is actually just a large run-in at the moment but it will protect them from wet and cold weather. Yet, since the appearance of the bear, no matter what Mother Nature is dishing out, they all stay on the exposed hillside of the upper pasture which has no shelter other than the feeble shade of a few tall, scraggly trees.

Today, Steve and I walked down to the lower pasture to examine the run-in which we plan to soon enclose and expand into a small barn. The horses stood on the hillside at the top gate which separates the upper pasture from the middle pasture and they were all alert as they watched us. I know that they were expecting the bear to come roaring out of the woods at any minute and eat us alive.

I whistled and Danny came running with me yelling the entire time, "Be careful! It's slick!" and "knowing" he understood me. Once he realized that there was no food to be had, he decided that he'd stick around for some love and affection which we readily provided. That boy loves attention and all of his attention was on us until Sadie, our dog, decided to start digging at the back of the barn. The usually calm and unspookable Danny went into a frenzy of kicking and then started to gallop straight toward the fence...with me yelling, "Watch out for the fence!"....and "knowing" that he understood me. Understanding my warning or not, he did not run through the fence but stopped and stood there with his ears up and listening intently. Now, I'm not saying that she did it on purpose but I'm sure if she'd realized his reaction, her actions would have been purposeful; Sadie started digging again and this time against something that made an incredible racket. I'm sure Dan thought that either the wayward bear or the hounds of hell  were behind that barn and coming straight for him because he started kicking and bucking and then took off at a gallop, once again not even slowing down to heed my warnings about the slick mud where the round pen use to be. He headed up the hill, leaping over a ditch and dancing through the slippery mud while occasionally giving a kick back toward whatever might be chasing him. His brother met him midway up the hill and ran beside him to the safety of their mother's side and the rest of the herd, all of whom were waiting, lined up behind the fence that evidently, in their minds, offers safety from any wild beast that might arise out of those scary woods surrounding the lower pasture.

Steve and I are now concerned that not even the sweetest of sweet feed will be temptation enough to lure the entire herd down to what will soon be their new digs. Their obvious fear expressed by this avoidance leaves me wondering what exactly did occur down there in that nook amongst the trees.

I have been sick. I think I mentioned that before as the reason I've neglected this blog for so long but yesterday, an amazingly beautiful and warm (75 degrees!) Saturday for the middle of January, I was stuck in the ER for over three hours. I started having difficulty breathing earlier that morning and then my chest started hurting with a pain that seemed to go through me and come out my shoulder blade. I also was feeling extremely weak and shaky and having what can only be described as hot flashes. Well, if you know me, you know I have to be near death to find the motivation to go to the doctor much less the ER but at that moment, I was convinced I was near death. I'd just read a story about a doctor who had a heart attack following a sharp pain in his shoulder blade. I knew that I was either having a heart attack, the worst case scenario, or had developed pneumonia following that lingering flu that has plagued me since the first of December. Of course, heart attack or not, I had to hop in the shower, shave my legs and wash my hair before applying makeup and dressing for the ER. Unfortunately, I decided that I'd better rush before picking out a nicer bra because the one I wore was an every day, kind of ratty one....oh well, I'm sure the nurses and doctors in the ER have seen worse considering that they do usually deal with actual emergencies. I have on occasion wound up there on the weekends myself because of accidents but this time it was just because I'd scared myself into a panic. Three hours,  x-rays, blood letting, and concern over rocketing blood pressure....which came down to normal after I was assured I was not actually dying......I was diagnosed with bronchitis and sent home with a lot of medicine. But, as the nurses and doctor who treated me all assured me, even if this was a false alarm, it is MUCH better to be safe than sorry!

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