I love traditions, new and old. Christmas lights on the house and real Christmas trees with lights, tinsel and ornaments are a must. I don’t mind cleaning up pine needles-it’s a minuscule price to pay for the smell and feel of real. Christmas cookies that for some reason we don’t make any other time of year, and Mexican skillet fudge-yum. Christmas carols and music fill my pick-up and sing out of my guitar. They can’t help it during the Christmas season. Gathering with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Christ in love and community, and with much good-natured ribbing.
Another tradition is a long horse ride somewhere with my wrangler horse friends, a sack lunch and plenty of warm clothes:
Not early morning, but beautiful blue skies, jackets tied over saddle bags in case the wind blows cold. Two paints and a Palomino walk down the dirt road carrying three kindred spirits, all happy to be mounted on this fine winter day. We ride, clip-clopping across the highway, past the old farmstead where TJ reminds us that it holds a frozen water-bed and the roof of the barn has collapsed so that only rabbits and ground squirrels can shelter in it.
Talking quietly about our lives, patting the warm necks of our favorite horses, we follow the road until it feels like lunch time. When an open gate presents itself, we dismount, tie the horses, admonishing them not to undo the ropes, and settle close by on the pasture grasses, blown and dry from winter and too little moisture. We break bread together, laughing, chatting and occasionally blurting something to our ponies.
A simple day really, but like any day with a horse, one to be remembered for joy, friendship, and the small but incredible gift in good living, shared.