Old leather saddles and the course blankets that went under those, created wonderfully pungent odors in what long before had been a brooder house. I loved working on our saddles or saddling up for hours of riding in our pastures. Those smells were always sharper and deeper when pulling the saddle and pad from a sweaty horse. Currying him, afterwards, felt good to both of us.
Today, I’m feeling angst about a meeting, next week, with my tenth neurologist since 1985. It is kind of delightful but also troubling. Confusion over what connection I could possibly see between this new neurologist and olfactory memories from the ranch is what I want to create in you. My bet is that almost none of you would enjoy the smells of old saddles and blanks with horse sweat, or if you were currying my horse and discovered that you had stepped in ‘road apples’ or needed to back away as he decides to pee. Deeply wonderful things are woven in with the rest of life.
Imagine ridding back to the house after a couple of hours checking on the stock tanks, windmills, fences and most importantly the cattle. Unfortunately, Buck, the horse I was on that late morning, had probably gotten into “locoweed” within the past day or so. I figure we were about 10 minutes from the barn when the locoweed took him over. Buck lunged into a full gallup and I figured something had spooked him. I pulled back on his reins but he wouldn’t slow. Reaching up to the bit I pulled his head back to my knee but that didn’t slow him. Letting go, I set myself firmly in the saddle.
Cow paths can become deep and narrow due to wear and tear from hooves and rain. Pinning your legs between the walls of hard loam and horse’s ribs can brake your legs and probably would crack the horses ribs at just a walk. I couldn’t brake Buck’s gallop and I couldn’t change his course. All I could do was pull my legs up and take the risk of getting rolled off when we hit those.
Somehow, the old boy got headed for the barn. As we came up over and onto the top part of the pasture. The gate into the corrals and barn was closed and somehow he was running toward the heavy short section of fence next to the gate. His haunches dropped at a couple of yards from the fence and we slid hard into barbed wire and cross post. He hit hard and fortunately I stayed on.
That ride has become woven into all that the smells and textures of saddles stir up in my memories. Likewise, I remember neurologists and a neurosurgeon who did wonderful things for me before, during and after my surgeries. Those memories, also, have folded into them doctors and situations similar to what I told you of with Buck. I know to not try and be rid of any bad memories around my doctors. Those are being folded in with the rest of my experiences. Weaving my new neurologist into the medical sections of my life’s tapestry won’t create something know is coming. Rather, I simply have to ride this out as best as I can.