A few minor bruises and a bursting heart

First things first:


Happy Monday. You’re welcome


Thank you all for showing your compassion for my hereditary malfunction of succumbing with force to the laws of gravity day after day. I have to say your stories of cow trampling, stair plummeting, dock dunking, face planting in church and falling off of your tall shoes had me laughing out loud.

Which brings me to the second thing:



Your willingness to share your embarrassing mishaps with me made me love you more than ever. I’ve always felt that life and all the bruises and bumps that come with it are a bit easier if we can just laugh at the whole damn spectacle.

Especially when that spectacle happens to be looking at you in the mirror. Like Cindy said after spilling her embarrassing “sleeping leg face plant” story, maybe public embarrassment is a way of getting rid of bad Karma. If that’s so we should all be evened up in that department….

In his next life he's guaranteed a wolf body at the very least...

So, it was a tough decision, but given the sheer volume of Annika’s misfortunes, mishaps, smashed limbs and near misses with the holiday fruit salad I am quite certain she is destined to be reincarnated as the Queen of England for all of the suffering she has encountered here in this life. Yup. That and the fact that she had the good humor to let her college roommates tally her falls, flubs and skinned knees make her the winner!

Congrats Annika. Your stories made me feel like the lead ballerina in Swan Lake, a ballerina who came out of the other end of a ranch weekend relatively unscathed…except for the bruise above my eye as a result of a three-year-old’s attempt at fetch with the lab.

Oh, and that scraped heel from a horse spooked by husband’s branch-breaking project.

See him back there, so helpful and unaware of the dangers of loud noises...

But you know what? I barely even felt any of it. Because I was high on the sweet spring air, the horse hair, the bluebells and all of the family and kids and babies that came out to visit us this weekend.

My heart was full and at risk of being the third body part to split or bruise, almost tearing at the seams there was so much joy in there.

Because look at this…

And this…

Don’t turn away yet…

Yeah, you crying? Not yet? Well this should send you over the top…

I’ll wait while you get a tissue…

You ok? Ok.

Yes, this weekend the barnyard was filled with squeals and screams and laughter and tiny little footprints. It was bliss. And it helped confirm my belief in the importance of keeping and sharing a place like this with others, especially the others that stand under three feet tall.

Because there’s something about kids and animals that make people like me believe in impossible things…like maybe those two species, kids and beasts, can actually talk to each other…

The innocence, the trust, the unconditional love and wonder they hold for one another makes me feel like maybe, before we could remember, before we grew up and got all that noise in our heads, all our worries and plans for the future, before we forgot what it was like, before we thought we had so much to say, maybe we could really listen.

Maybe that’s why kids take so well to the farm, why they squeal with delight at the baby calves and reach so willingly to touch the nose of a horse. Maybe that’s why they suggest buying baby chicks and piglets and beg for a puppy. Because they belong here. Together.

Now all’s quiet again at the ranch and those babies have gone home to their beds. But I like to think they dream about horses. I like to think in their dreams they are out there with the dogs, running and rolling in the green grass, laughing and talking to each other.

I like to think those kids left a little piece of their heart here knowing that they can come back and get it anytime they want.


Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get down to the barnyard.  Now that the dust has settled on the weekend, I swear I can hear those horses calling my name.

8 thoughts on “A few minor bruises and a bursting heart

  1. A great moment in my life–my first time on a horse. And, I had just asked your sister when the Bug was going for his first ride. What an adorable picture. Until I was 12 I lived next door to the Bismarck Horse Club, where I led trail rides, got bucked, stomped on and decided I had better ride saddle than bareback. When we moved north of Bismarck, we had a gelding, my brother’s FFA project. HA!! I spent more time on the horse than he did. But, a buck landed me on my back on a fence, and I have seldom ridden since. But, I love horses. Keep up the good work.

  2. Ah, Jessie! Thanks! I should have only written one, but it was such a string of events that I thought you’d feel better hearing about all of them! 🙂

    My nephew Birch (6) went on his first trail ride this weekend. He was riding old Ralph, about 30 years old, and Ralph got a little frisky on him. Took a hop and Birch went sailing. I guess he was pretty upset, but after his mom lounged the horse around (mad) for a while, he just said, “Ok, mom. That’s enough.”

    That I thought was funny enough! But at the end of the ride, his uncle Jay went up to him and said, “Birch, you are such a great cowboy. That’s the hardest thing for a cowboy to do: get up and get on again.” At which point Birch, who was still sitting on his horse, said, “Yup,” and then turned his head and spit off the side. I think it’s too funny! Kids and horses are great!

    Have a happy day!


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