We make resolutions and there’s nothing wrong in doing so. We plan to do better, give more and finish the big chores we have had on our list for months, maybe even curtail or give up our vices. Well, maybe not completely give them up, but back off bad habits.
I work with students, horses and the land. I work in order to live, not live in order to work. That’s a big, big difference. Working with students this last year has been more rewarding than ever before in my professional career. I attribute that to my nearing retirement and wanting to give what I think is of value to the student before I put the chalk in the tray and walk away. Time is fleeting and I don’t have time to cover all the points, just the most significant. So, for this next year, I resolve to cut the excess from the lectures and discussions and get right to the core: finding your voice, writing down your voice and tending to your own garden (Voltaire, Gilgamesh, Trilling).
For my life with horses, it’s a sadder year coming. We are selling Sweet Hija who is pregnant with a female and Shiners Fannin Peppy, the first foal out of Sweet Hija. Brenda and I will be left with our two paints, Star and Lilly, both having their share of health problems these days. In January, we are going to Oklahoma City for the Mixed Winter Sale at Heritage Place. Market forces beyond my control have cut through our ranch operations with a vengeance and the cost of horse breeding and market conditions force my hand. What Brenda and I are trying to do, in taking Hija and Fanny to the sale in Oklahoma, is to put these fine horses in the best sale around so that they will have good homes or ranches to live out their days. So, for this next year, I resolve to focus on Star and Lilly, build some good, strong pens in the Pecan Tree Pasture for their safety. I resolve not to think too much about our loss of Hija and Fanny and the little one — difficult to push that resolution through next year, I guarantee.
And, finally with the land, I resolve to set up brush piles for the little critters, deer and birds about the place, not shredding every single bush like some of my neighbors. Further, I want to learn the name of every tree species on Flying Hat Ranch, or at least make a major dent in nomenclature. I will also continue to plant native grasses about the pastures.
The eve of 2011 is here. I toast to love, health and fortune to be found among horses and land, family and students — yours as well as mine.