January 26, 2020

            The yellow rose in the backyard is beginning to bloom.  In January.  It is a tight bud, its fragile petals folded over each other, its leaves a deep green with serrated edges; much changed from the end of summer when the leaves were marred by ragged holes and looked like something was chewing on them.  Even though I sprayed with an in insecticidal soap, the rose deteriorated.  Now it seems to have revived itself; fought off its enemy. 

            The begonia plant is coming back too.  All the begonias – the one that was here when we bought the house and the begonias I planted – froze in November’s cold snap.  The oldest, the original begonia, survived.  It has always looked the healthiest, the fullest, the greenest.  The weather has encouraged this growth: 30s in the early morning rising to 60s and 70s, weekly rain.  This morning the patio was wet as trees shook off last night’s veil of moisture in a shower of drops. 

            Today is sunny and warm.  I stand in the pastures at Scattered Oaks holding Willis’ lead rope as he grazes on new grass.  He is filthy, transformed by black dirt into a charcoal grey horse.  Ridden earlier today, his rider hosed him down after the lesson and Willis rolled.  Now I get to clean him up again, a job that would be easier after Willis is completely dry.  But I volunteered his services and Willis had a good workout, so I’m grateful for his extra conditioning and training.  My job now is to let him graze and have a nice trail ride wherever he wants to go so I don’t feel like I came out here for nothing.  Spending time with your horse is never a waste of time.  Pat Parelli said something like that; the way he described it was “undemanding time.”  I like taking care of Willis almost as much as I like riding, and I know from experience that I loved my animals more when they needed care. 

            This day is beautiful.  Sunny, warm, and all I want to do is be outside.  Daisy and I drive to the park in Manor to look for birds.   On our way, a pig – a pig! – runs across the road and under the park fence.  Probably escaped from someone’s property.  There is something I love about this park.  I love its energy.  The quiet, the simplicity, families just enjoying the days.  The trees look like winter; bare branches reaching upward, silhouettes outlined against the sun,  Yet the warmth of the day warns of something else.  A change in the way this season of winter feels. 

Christine Baleshta