Flash hasn’t even been gone a month and already my stress levels are spiking and my coping mechanisms have stagnated. I didn’t quite realize how essential daily barn time was to my psyche until I had it ripped away, even though I’d had only just over a year of daily horse kisses and slobber. Between the absolute, unending dumpster fire 2020 has been for the world and for me personally, my ability to cope well instead of just getting through another day is deeply strained.
It doesn’t help that I was just voluntold into the deep end at my work, stepping up as a contract tracer for every sniffle and close contact. We’ve had a staggering uptick and while I’m happy to be useful to my team, it’s incredibly draining, repetitive work, spread across three shifts. The validation I’m getting from rocking at this job (something that my weird, hodgepodge background has somehow perfectly prepared me for) is one of the bright spots of my day, as I keep pulling rabbits out of hats to make things easier for the team. All my personal and deeper background projects have come to a screeching halt, but they have for everyone so that’s easier to take.
I know I have other things to fill my off work time with, such as attempting to keep up a steady yoga practice, dusting off my bike, participating in NaNoWriMo or even taking Cyrus for a long walk. I could finally bake a decent, tasty loaf of bread or even get real wild and cook an actual dinner meal and not a breakfast food. I could color another page from my horse coloring book. I could clean the kitchen…again…or tackle the giant mess I’ve made of my garage, a summer’s worth of adventures and horse gear shoved willy nilly with no organizational strategy in sight.
I could do pretty much anything other than park my butt on my beautiful, comfortable, giant ass new sectional and start rewatching NCIS while mainlining Swedish Fish. I should not be letting my post baby chub grow instead of working out to make it shrink for the next horse that has to pack me around.
Even tentatively beginning my horse search is by turns exciting, draining, disheartening and hopeful, which is an incredibly weird mixture to be juggling at the same time my state is entering another modified lockdown/two week pause due to rising COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations. How can I be thinking of buying a horse for the first time when unemployment and closing businesses looms for so many? How dare I hold out hope for a future of horse camping and trail riding when there’s so much community work to be done, and just getting through today gracefully is beyond my grasp?
Then I visit a my trainer’s or a friend’s barn and I huff some horses, check some hooves and futz with blankets and crave the daily interaction and carrot begging eyes and moving down the trail in a comfortable saddle, and I wonder at what color ears I’ll be viewing the world through again soon enough and I relax, just a tad.