I have a habit of getting up somewhat early each morning and stepping out on my front porch to sip my coffee, leaving that dream state slowly behind, before coming fully awake. It’s usually quiet, except for the early birds, and the morning air is still cool. October, in central Florida, is the beginning of our fall season. Unlike the northern states, where there is a definite chill and the leaves begin to take on their fall colors, our season change is relatively subtle. Mainly, our daytime high temperatures fall into the mid-eighties, with lower humidity levels, and cool night-time temperatures approaching sixty degrees. After the long, hot summer, it is a welcome respite.
This morning, I watched a pair of Cardinals, flitting from tree to tree, and a lone red-headed woodpecker checking out the Oak. We’ve had a large group of Red-shouldered Hawks in the neighborhood recently, but it was a little early to hear their high-pitched calls. Suddenly, I heard a relatively loud thump, and when I looked, I noticed that a Hawk had swooped down and fell upon a squirrel. The Hawk must have hit the ground fairly hard to create a thump, so I wondered if he miscalculated. He sat there for quite some time before he took flight with his prize. Poor squirrel, but I guess a Hawks gotta eat [sigh].
Several months ago, I was surprised to see a Swallow-tailed Kite for the first time ever. I’m always amazed at what the morning brings.
It isn’t often that one can ride in the rain in Florida. More often than not there’s a torrential downpour or a major thunderstorm. We live in “Lightning Alley” (between Tampa and Titusville), and have a healthy respect for Mother Nature’s fireworks. Lightening can strike up to 10 miles away from the actual storm, sometimes called ” a bolt from the blue”, so it can be a silent killer. Florida has the distinction of being the Lightning Capitol of the U.S., with Rwanda, Africa, holding the world title. One thing is for sure, you don’t really want to be riding in a lightning/thunderstorm, because either way, you are probably pushing your odds of survival.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time going through some old pictures of Richie and myself. My sister always seemed to have her camera ready when she was riding and she was always taking pictures of Ricochet. She would send me some really good pictures of him, but if I was riding at the time, most likely my head was chopped off. I asked her once if she could manage to include me in the picture and her reply was that she was taking his picture, not mine. [sigh] To appease me, she took a few when I was rain drenched or near to having a heat stroke.
On October 15, I received a call at work from the wife/owner of the facility, telling me that Richie wasn’t doing well and she had called my vet(erinarian). I left work and managed to get to the barn a few minutes after the vet. He told me that Richie had probably had a stroke, he could barely stand without falling, and it would be best if I put him down. Here I was again, just a month and half after I had to put down WhiteDog, and I was sobbing again.
Looking back, I know that Richie had a long life, plenty of hay to eat, and many horse companions to hang out with. I couldn’t have asked for a better horse to retire my riding career with. At my ripe old age, I have given up riding spirited mounts and I just stick with riding relaxed looky-loos on quiet horses in the woods. Somehow, we both grew old and comfortable together and I will always miss him. He taught me a lot about life through the eyes of a horse and I gave him the down-time that he needed to relax and just be a horse.
I think Mother Nature took a holiday and left the ‘old man’ in charge. It’s been trying to rain for 4 days with no resulting moisture. It reminds me of an old man elderly gentleman with prostatitis. He has the urge to ‘go’ but can’t get his stream started. Today, we got RAIN! Thanks Mother Nature!
I started to wash my car this morning, to sorta help the old man out, but I lost interest when the sun peeked out from behind the dark, ominous clouds that have been hanging around since Thursday.
As soon as it started to rain (late afternoon), Whitedog woofed to go outside. Stands to reason!