Saturday, February 9, 2008

Spring Fever

Sunny skies and warm breezes have come to Northern California for a brief visit, giving us a reprieve from the cold, rainy weather (21 days straight if you listen to the news) and depressing, gray skies. Today the thermometer peaked out at an impressive 70 degrees. It is only February 9th.

This happens every year in February. Nature, as if sensing our desperation, serves us a tiny slice of spring. We peel off our sweaters and put on short sleeves, feeling smug as we stroll around the farm, unable to complete even the simplest chores, adrift like an abandoned ship under an intoxicating blue sky.

Secretly, we hope that our Michigan relatives will call, so that we can say, when they invariably ask about the weather, something with feigned casualness: "Oh, sunny, nice, 'bout 70 degees. And you?"

Argus has no relatives in Michigan, but if he did, this is what he would say: "YIPPEEEEE!!!!"

It seems that Argus, and the eight other equine residents of Watermark Farm, have a raging case of spring fever today. There is running and dancing and cavorting, even amongst those who are too crippled now to run. The old mare snorts wildly, eyes wide, enciting the geldings across the fence to passage elegantly through the muck.

Sadly, the mud and the slippery ground have yet to catch up with the dry skies above, so turnouts must still happen with the greatest of care (Just this week, my dressage horse Ridge slipped and fell in turnout, pulling a muscle and winning a short vacation from work), and the pasture horses must have the "edge" taken off them with arena turnout and regular riding and lungeing.

For Argus, spring fever has hit him with a kind of delicious frenzy, for he is waking up from the winter of his life --- 16 years of sunless days.

It all started on Tuesday. Argus began to use, all on his own accord, and all by himself, the mini pasture we set up for him behind his paddock. Previously, he would not go out there unless accompanied by a person, and for short periods only.

On Tuesday, he spent the entire day out there, rolling his snowy white frame in soothing mud and dining on tender green grass.

On Wednesday, after he woke from his party with Dr. Miller, he quickly returned to his pasture, spending long moments smelling and sniffing and exploring every corner. He blinked happily at me at day's end, gazing at me for a long time with his wise old eyes. He practically oozed happiness. I cried for what seemed like the thousandth time out in my barn as I stood with him, feeling the enormity of what we have done for this horse.

On Thursday, Argus pushed impatiently on his stall door, imploring me to turn him out with a friend. I complied instantly, of course. How can you say no to someone who has done without for so long? He was proud, too, of his "sporthorse haircut" --- the tiny bit of bodyclipping I had done the day before. I swear it, he was proud. He ran madly around the arena to show me how nice it was to not have a sweaty chest.

On Friday, Argus spent the entire day in his pasture, covered in mud and looking like a happy, normal horse. His mane is caked with mud, his legs are caked with mud, and each cheek on his face looks to have been pressed lovingly into the soil.

Now, Saturday, I gobble down a post-Pony Club turkey sandwich while typing this entry. I can see Argus from my window, and I occasionally glance out to see him trot merrily across the arena as he plays with his friend Buster. He stops from time to time to gaze longingly at the pasture, for this is where he really wants to be ---- ambling lazily in the company of similarly dirty friends.

"Soon, Argus," I think to myself, dreaming of a time not far from now when the ground will be dry enough to introduce Argus to pasture life, and a freedom he has never known.

For a moment, I linger over the last of my lunch and contemplate this rich experience that we call "Saving Argus." A plump tear makes its way down my cheek, is temporarily detoured by the wide grin I am wearing, and drops unceremoniously from my chin, onto the keyboard.

19 comments:

a touch wild said...

Just perfection :) I love that Argus is enjoying outside!!

Anonymous said...

This is such a beautifully written blog...and such a wonderful thing you are doing for Argus. You have truly inspired me to get more involved in rescue and rehabilitation once I have a farm of my own. Thank you for sharing Argus' story. Your writing is so flowing and nice to read-you should really consider writing a book. This entry in particular - lovely.

Donnie said...

One of the highlights of my day is when I come on to this blog, and find a new post from you. Argus's story is truly wonderful and inspirational. And your writing is truly amazing :)

And I can't wait for the post, (and I'm sure, the pictures) of Argus out playing in the field.

Kyryah said...

I get those tears of sadness and smiles of satisfaction from hearing about Argus, and I am not even there. I can't express how touching this blog is.

proud fugly mom said...

This writing is just beautiful. I have been reading this blog for a while now and I have to say I look forward to a new post. When I read this blog I feel like I am there living your words.

BTW...the weather in Michigan is not good. We got about 16 inches of snow and now we are having a high of 7 with a wind chill about -20 or so.

Enjoy your spring weather and send some this way...my babies are getting sick of the snow...like yours they can't wait to be able to run around in the green pastures again.

Keep up your good work and I wish you luck on your search for a forever home...

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy Argus is enjoying his "new life" so much.

What a wonderful personality he has!

God bless him and you for being so kind to him.

Please give Argus a pat for me. :)

Take care,
cas

L said...

"He practically oozed happiness. I cried for what seemed like the thousandth time out in my barn as I stood with him, feeling the enormity of what we have done for this horse."

"A plump tear makes its way down my cheek, is temporarily detoured by the wide grin I am wearing, and drops unceremoniously from my chin, onto the keyboard."


Your writing is so touching, and it makes me feel like I am there. Aahhh...

sasha said...

It sounds like Argus is blessed to have found you and you have been blessed to have found Argus...I hope Argus has a wonderful carefree life for many years to come!!

FullCircleEquine said...

Must you always bring me to tears? LOL!

I am so happy for Argus. Please please please consider finding a publisher of your writing. I would buy copies for everyone I know that loves animals.

Lauren_MI_Eventer said...

Those of us suffering in 10 degrees today IN MICHIGAN are dying of jealousy. Just thought you'd like to know. ;)

Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful blog, and I look forward to every entry. I agree with the other posters- please consider writing a book. You truly have a way with words!

Anonymous said...

Definitely consider having your blog made into a book! A publisher would be crazy to not sign it.

That's so wonderful to hear that Argus is feeling comfortable enough to venture into the pasture on his own. What a relief it must be; all those years of something bottled up inside him without ever knowing how to quench it or even what it was...he understands now.

Anonymous said...

So when is your book coming out? I love love love reading every word of your blog!!

SB&C said...

I came in here to say "please, write a book!" but it seems I've been beaten to the punch!!

I keep coming back every day in the hope that maybe Argus's sister will have found her way out as well....

Kyryah said...

Ten degrees is mild to my -2. And yeah, I am in MI too :)

Jami said...

Katie, it's me again. After reading your post, I can only say that YOU ROCK. period.

Lauren_MI_Eventer said...

Kyryah said...
Ten degrees is mild to my -2. And yeah, I am in MI too :)


Well that was a while ago. It's -2 now here in Oakland Co. as well. (Without the wind chill of course).

Pony Tail Club said...

We keep checking in on Argus, and get teary eyed every time. Thank you for saving him.

Anonymous said...

Hi Argus and Katie,

It's Sat. and I was just checking in to see how ya'll are!
I hope you guys are having a great weekend!

cas