It was around 10:15 in the morning yesterday when I made the hard left down the long gravel driveway that leads to the Stable. The woods, so dense on both sides of the driveway that it just feels like I've driven to the center of the Allegheny National Forest. Up the driveway on the left, a waving tree branch caught my eye & out walks a very young white tailed doe. Its not often one gets the chance to see these wonderful creatures so up close & personal. I stopped the car & watched her walk into plain view right in front of my car. She bravely stopped to check me out too. As she stared back at me I thought "get your camera" but in my excitement I fumbled to grab it & my movement caused her alarm. Her white tail went straight up as she bounced into the woods to my right. I drove slowly up the driveway while simultaneously dropping the passenger side window. Hoping to catch just one more glimpse of her. A mere 15 feet away, there she paused, next to a Giant Cherry tree. Her tail flapping wildly while looking straight at me. This time I didn't fumble for my camera but chose rather to take it all in and watch her until she bounced out of sight. As I neared the end of the driveway I just couldn't help but smile from ear to ear over the encounter.
I got to thinking just how much I love this place. Its private & quiet. Set smack dab in the middle of no where & it's just the kind of serene place to sort through the numerous thoughts & feelings I've accumulated in my head during this journey through loss & finding a way to live again. Since the loss of my big brother & parents, spending time with Bubba has changed from something I had to force myself to do because caring for my sickly parents was a tremendously exhausting and time consuming obligation..on top of my full time day job.Plus it was hard enough to add being a wife or a friend into that mix..there just wasn't any time let alone time for me.
Now that my day to day doesn't consist of spending every spare minute outside of work devoted to the care of my parents next door, I feel like time & my life are actually my own again.Spending time with Bubba has turned into something I can now relax & enjoy, while walking away refreshed & renewed every time...It makes me feel as though the slate of the past weeks junk has now been wiped clean. I feel as though someone has shaken all the dust from me and put me back on my feet again..Ready & willing to face the weeks challenges with strength because I'm gaining it. Being with Bubba has always helped me to either muster the strength for what needs doin or it gives me that break or peace of mind that I ache for. Having place to forget my troubles for a little while is a tremendous blessing.
I put the car in park,put up the windows, and grabbed all the necessities for the trail ride off the passengers seat. I had chap stick, a pack of cigs, 2 lighters because I always manage to lose one (lol). I had carrots, 2 roast beef & swiss sandwiches, grapes, strawberries & my blackberry. Though the weather promised a Sunny 82 degrees,the skies above were invisible due to the thick laden dark clouds. It threatened rain and had looked that way since I woke earlier that morning around 6:30am.
Now barely 70 degrees later, the air was still quite damp & chilly from the wee morning downpour. It was smart to layer up with a tank top then t-shirt & finally a big sweatshirt. I was ready for what ever the weather had in store. The real me has recently been enjoying riding Bubba on these gloomy skied days. I'm not sure why? Maybe that's the kinda mood I'm in, maybe its because I truly love the kind of quiet you can only find deep in on the trail. The only sounds are hoofbeats and birds chirping which makes its own rhythmical melody. Plus everything smells so fantastic in the woods after a rain.
Walking down the short paved drive towards the barn I could see which horses were out in the big 10acre pasture. I could also hear that familiar sport news radio echoing in the far back tack room across from Bubbas stall. As I entered the barn I stopped just a second to say Good morning to Judy & rub the neck of her West Virginia Mutt as she calls him..but we all know that's her Gomer(name meaning sign of completion as she corrects me from giggling when i say his name..So i call him Gomey..Hes a large,nearly 16h Kentucky Mountain/Missouri Fox Trotter Gelding who was standing so quietly in the cross-ties being brushed to show ring standards (lol). With the silkiest and most shiny natural coat you ever saw or touched as proof. I listened to the horses chowing down on their morning hay as I walked to the back of the stable towards the second to the last stall on the right. I opened the stall door to my Handsome Boy. He nickered & gave my hand a sniff for treats..."Good Morning Bubba".
We all stopped at the end of the driveway to listen for cars coming in either direction. When the coast was clear we trotted both boys hurriedly across the road and onto the trail. The trail was a bit muddy and the leaves a bit wet but our boys from the getgo were awesome. 3hours later, after having much luck trail blazing with just a few minor detours & politely trimmed branches, we kinda got stuck in the valley of two ridges on what looked like some sort of deer trail..We tried finding 3 ways out with no success and then Bubba made a hard right like he wanted to go up the mountain side.. For Bubba too want to take the lead and blaze through the unknown will surely get no resistance from me. We agreed and I gave him his head and up the hill he went.I could feel his muscles just digging up the hillside with ease. We reached the top in no time at all and lo and behold what did i see? The trail. What a relief from the previous skinny paths we followed earlier & some stopped us dead because they had thick covering like ceilings,far too low for our horses to try to ride under. Bubba finding a way out & safely leading us out of the woods to that trail at the top was just the coolest thing ever. I know both Judy and I were so proud of him & we both needed a break from the unknown back to the familiar.We climbed up out of the woods onto that path & decide to go to the right up the trail, instead of left down it.
Ahead I could see this giant rock just sticking out over the top of the trail ahead.
It was the most incredible size rock. It had to of stood nearly 20 foot high & was just as long as it was thick. It had wide 2ft layers worn out on the sides, almost as if at one point it had been covered in water where maybe a strong undercurrent for many years might of wore deep grooves in the side. Anyhow that was the thought that went through my mind and as we rounded the trail around the side of this large Rock, to our surprise sat row after row of these old wooden benches..A fire pit placed as the centerpiece.
Judy and I were like a couple of little kids..We got off the boys, let them graze around the benches and we sat down to enjoy awesome roast beef sandwiches & fruit..What a perfect place to stop for lunch. It just made the day more beautiful. Rides like this have been so frequent and I'm just so glad I worked with him over the long winter. I watched as Bubba walked in between the rows of wooden benches to munch on the grass around the fire pit..He's getting so brave and I'm so grateful I helped him get there..Just as he has helps me to be brave in facing my fears to get through this journey..Hes trusting me & I'm trusting him and that's definitely earned both ways.