Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Autumn ...

The light has changed. The shadows are beginning to reach long, skinny fingers ever further from beneath the trees. The breeze has an edge and the pinon trees drip pine nuts, pitter-pat, as they have not in three or four years. The birds and squirrels and I have a quiet competition to see who gets the most, they in their lofty perches, or me down here on the ground, picking up what nuts may fall.

Our barn swallows have absconded somewhere else and even the blue jays have become strangely quiet. This morning I sit in my garden with a cat and a cup of coffee, watching the flowers grow straggly and threadbare. I don't mind the turning of the seasons when it comes like this, time like molasses in the cool sun. Life is good. Peace and love, my friends.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Post National Sheepdog Finals blues ....

I think I have a touch of post-Finals depression. For weeks my whole focus has been on that one goal and yet it didn't go anything like I imagined. Hubby keeps telling me if my truck had to break down, at least it broke down in a place with cell service, I was towed to a garage that was nominally open on a Sunday, and I had a wonderful friend who was willing to detour and drive me the rest of the way in. Most of all, I did pick up the pieces and go on to run my dog at Finals for the first time.

So I do have blessings to count. Of course I kind of wish my run with Nick had gone better, but any number of other handlers wish the same thing. I even saw some top hands with good dogs come a-cropper. Finals is tough.

I think I'm mostly sad that I could not hold on to that sense of full-hearted gladness that I was heading out on an epic road trip to a great adventure. But I lost that while I sat by the side of an empty road at 7 o'clock in the morning, with help over 2 hours away and steam rolling out from under the hood. The anxiety, worry and unexpected costs just kind of built from there. I suppose this means I need to Cowboy Up!

Anyhow, I have a young dog to get on with training and fall is in the air. People are starting to talk about things like candles, wool sweaters and pumpkin spice. Life is still good. And I was pretty darn lucky to be at Finals at all.

A big thanks to the Strang Ranch and Bridget Strang with all her crew for putting on a fantastic event. It was a beautiful venue and a gorgeous field with consistently healthy and challenging sheep. The setout crew was wonderful, as well as picturesque on horseback, and I can't fault any of the organization, judging or running of the trial whatsoever. I'll be back someday!