On Thursday, Scout's stitches were removed by Dr. B. I was strangely elated, almost giddy with relief. Maybe I put margins around her surgery, X-ray results on the left, removal of stitches on the right. No more bandaging after the weekend, no more meds. Except for the sedatives, a scoop twice a day. Scout is stoned, mild and slow motion in her stall, contented if not happy. When I scratch her belly or withers, it feels like she goes cross-eyed with delight. She doesn't know why she feels good, but the store-bought calm has helped her heal the leg well.
All week I've been thinking about what comes next, the long-term next, not tomorrow. I hold my breath about Dar, but Scout pends before me like a moment of reckoning that will have to come. "Ride the horse you are on," my trainer has often reminded me. "Not the horse she was yesterday, not the horse you want her to be tomorrow." As if, for a minute, I could be that present and just ride. I can look at our history of anxiety like an object now, because I am disconnected from it by time. But when I remember some rides we've had, I can re-animate my fear and imagine how I felt. I tell myself I have a rare chance to get a grip on me before coming back to Scout. I tell myself there must be a way to forget all the crap and start clean, to unlearn what I should never have learned in the first place.
So I've been thinking about the NFL, how I came to it, and why, and what for. It's a story that pertains at odd times in my life, but never accidentally.