The full moon was yesterday, and the vernal equinox starts tomorrow, and my body has celebrated with a torrential bout of menses, the first in three months.
If you are 51 and in possession of female reproductive organs, you know what this means. The clock starts over. Menopause both is and is not for pussies.
Depleted and exhausted, I can’t do much with my horse today, so I pick his feet and stand around while he grazes on spring grass and wild onions. His mouth sounds are not like people mouth sounds, and so I can listen to them all day long without wanting to murdilize the source. It is soothing, and the sun is warm and the breeze is brisk and there are no people around to ruin the peace.
Once he is safely in the pasture, I decide on a walk to explore the trails he and I will eventually ride together. It’s a steep walk to a stream, which I hope is shallow enough even with the recent rains to allow me to cross on foot.
First, though, there is a clearing filled with just-budding trees. They look like forsythia but have a trunk, so I pull out the plant ID app and click away. Turns out they are autumn olive, a tree that is easy to spot because of its deep green leaves with a silvery underside. In the fall, they produce small dusty crimson berries that are speckled and sweet but astringent after too many. I have been looking for them all around Maryland, unable to find the tree that everyone insists is everywhere, and here they are, just waking up, right where Otis landed after we needed a place to board.
It is a wonder, how things work. How if we can have a little patience and connect with our deepest self, the place where all of our inner wisdom comes from, then maybe we will find exactly what we are looking for, even when we aren’t looking. This is a sign, for me, that we have come to the right place, at the right time, and even if it isn’t the last place we find ourselves, it’s a good waypoint.
On the way back, I find a tiny nest made entirely of horsehair, just in my path as the barn comes into view. I cradle it loosely in my palm as I walk back to the car and think of Mary Oliver: “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
It is a good life’s work.