Monday, January 04, 2010
2010 Comes In With a Growl
For my fellow NJ residents, this is not a mirage. These three big cats are cougars. Real ones. This photo was taken in an area off Clove Road in Montague and emailed to me just this morning.
So we will start the New Decade with the debunking of Fish and Wildlife's contention that there are no cougars (of the feline variety...I make no claims about the human version) in this part of the country. Sussex County has cougars. Period.
*Update, 3/5/10: So, it was a hoax after all. I am apparently as gullible as the friends who sent me the photo above. This was NOT taken in NJ, certainly not in Montague, and has been thoroughly and finally debunked. To those of my readers who fell for this as hard as I did, well....welcome to the boat. I apologize for not checking more thoroughly before I posted this.*
Following up on the New Year/New Decade theme, I touched base with my Advisory Council in the front pasture this weekend and asked what they think about the coming decade and what their hopes and concerns might be. Naturally, the initial responses involved a lot of food requests. Every one of my horses insists that my story about a carrot shortage resulting from Climate Change is just so much hooey. Apparently they're in psychic contact with the horses around the corner who are in carrots up to their eyeballs and ratted me out. Damn! I'll have to add a trip to Shop Rite to this morning's errands list.
Beyond the tummy-stoking issues, however, they all had concerns. Zips Money Pit was most worried about the economy as it relates to how many horses might come here to live. "We don't need to be too generous, you know. Those empty stalls are fine just filled with hay." I suspect he caught wind of my daughter's mare's possible temporary retirement here. I know his laptop isn't working since he tossed it into the trough, so he hasn't heard about the Unwanted Horses Initiative or my occasional lapse into the insanity that might bring some poor equine soul here for R&R of a Lifetime Home. That might push his frizzy little brain hairs into a snood from which they'd never be extricated.
Leo My Love was the only herd member to mention Illegal Immigration as a concern. "How many horses do you think are coming across the border? Do I have to share my stall? Can we trade in Duke for, say, three of them? I'd be okay with that." I assured him that the horse traffic has been and probably will continue to be in the opposite direction, though the Forces of Good are working hard to keep horse meat off tables everywhere. I probably shouldn't have mentioned the horse meat thing. The last I saw of him he was lying in the snow, possibly in a dead faint.
Pokey's only concern was for her fellow racehorses. "Could you please tell people we're okay?" I reminded her of our occasional rough moments early on. Those were the ones that result from a kind-hearted fool (me) with no track experience taking a retired (and pregnant....and foundered....)race horse (her) home for the Holidays. I don't think my tailbone was actually fractured, and the airs above the ground she performed in the warm-up pen at her only show may be the single most notable moment in my competitive career, so I'm not complaining. I assured her that the coming decade will bring less silliness and more rational thought in the horse world, though I had absolutely no evidence to support that claim and she seemed unimpressed.
Dakota the Inscrutable App frisked me for cookies then wandered off. I followed for a bit yelling questions and listening closely for answers, but I got nothing from him. He's been disillusioned since the insane cold weather hit us. Seems someone told him that if he wished really hard and clicked his heels three times, Santa Clyde would take him to Arizona where all good Appys go. Jersey was not on his Christmas list. I did manage to get in a word about climate change and how if we all pull together and he (in particular) refrains from excessive farting, we can stop its progress and end this manic-depressive weather pattern in the not-too-distant future. He farted and walked away.
Pinky the One-Eyed Wonder App doesn't seem to get what all the fuss is about on any front. But then, Pinky occasionally winds up on the wrong side of his stall guard in the morning, and he hasn't figured that one out either. I pointed out to him that we as citizens of the world need to do some serious thinking about the way we're living our lives. "Tell me you're not thinking about riding me again!" was his bug-eyed response. I assured him that his missing extensor tendon connection in the rear pretty much assured him of a quiet senior-citizen repose for whatever time he has left. Relieved, he stomped on Duke and joined the rest of the herd in the pasture.
Off all the voices in the pasture this morning, only that of the Mystical Beast, Duke, was loud, clear, and strident. "if you come out here fussing and angry about that politics stuff one more time, I'll bite the seat out of your jeans! And leave the damn cell phone in the tack room. You can't be petting my head and talking on the phone. That's just rude, and that kind of lack of attention is what's wrong with your species. This decade had better bring more petting, less yelling, more cookies, and not so many running-in-circles days for either of us! I have spoken."
And so it goes. I can't begin to fulfill all the hopes and dreams of my herd any more than the coming decade will fulfill the hopes and dreams of societies around the world. If it all hinged on increased carrot production and more petting, we might have a chance. But maybe making "simplify" the word of the decade would be a step in the right direction. The horses have it right. It's up to us to let them take the lead on this ride for a while.