Gosh, what happened to January? It is not a good omen for the year when I have that "you must have blinked, you missed it" feeling already.
Our annual major conference at work was this past Friday and it was a rousing success. Both of our main presenters arrived on time from Canada and Maine, despite weather-related travel woes. The attendance and the networking were good, the presentations were fantastic, and all the student volunteers showed up on time and worked like bees. I was thrilled that our keynote speaker, an internationally known expert on clean water as a human right, ended her talk with a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien!
Not only that, but the selected-guests-only dinner afterwards was one of those magical evenings where strangers talked like old friends about children, books, work, politics, and practically everything else. I knew it was going well when I saw everyone passing their plates around so they could taste each other's food. (Note to self: Tapas restaurant = stroke of genius.)
Now, of course, I am exhausted. Saturday was such a crash, I can hardly describe it. I was headachey, bone-sore, don't-want-to-get-out-of-bed tired.
Of course, in a fit of optimism, I had made plans to go horseback riding with a friend first thing Saturday morning. I dragged myself out there anyway, despite my reluctance to do anything.
Now I get to talk about Ranger. Ranger is a 17-year-old buckskin of no particular breed, who my friend and her husband bought in Hawaii and took with them to Louisiana and then here to Florida. We call Ranger "The King of the Horses." There's just something about him. Everyone who spends 5 minutes with him falls under his spell. He has a very old, very canny soul. He can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you ask him to do things he personally is not too interested in doing. (He hates working in the arena, for example.)
But in general, he is totally safe, bombproof, and unflappable. He's the husband horse, the grandmother horse, the toddler horse, the "my friend is terrified of horses but wants to go riding anyway" horse.
I don't fall into any of those categories, but Saturday I was ever so happy to let Ranger take care of me. I felt lousy, so I was all "Okay, Ranger, you drive."
My friend and her daughter took me around the neighborhood trails, where we saw some deer bones, a 6-foot black racer snake, a kid on a mini-bike, and another friend on her horse. And after a while, I began to feel better. Horses can do that.