Perspective: Spiders vs South Dakota

Like many people I’m sure, I am often lacking in a sense of perspective. I have a tendency towards drama and exaggeration.

“There was this spider in my house and it was literally about twenty feet across and had laser eyes and napalm breath!”

Well, look at the sucker. I wasn’t that far off…
Monstrous house spider. You can live outside too.

Sorry for the gigantic spider image. That should maybe have come with a warning…

I woke up today convinced that the next two years were going to be difficult and terrible and miserable, and that I would genuinely be better off staying in bed all day.

Then I got hungry, so I ate two banana maple oatmeal cookies and had a cup of tea, and life didn’t seem so bad. I did some research into various things that have been troubling me, and read some magazines, and dealt with a couple of business issues. I took a step in arranging to catch up on the classes I’ve missed over the last few days (due to certainty that bed would be a better place to be – thanks, Black Dog).

Then I read about South Dakota and the snow storms. To those of us living in cushy little England where it barely dips below freezing and there’s a Tesco’s on every corner, understanding just how devastating and destructive the weather has just been is a little difficult.

Dating a cowboy means I can see how the loss of a vast proportion of your livestock would be damaging both financially and emotionally. Many ranchers put their cattle before themselves time and time again, sacrificing lazy lie-ins to go and feed and check up on their animals. Whole families revolve around the cycles of cattle: brandings and sortings and shipping.

I’ve started to see my future with Cowboy as having a large element of cow in it – he’d like to run a small herd of cows one day, alongside our horse business. That means I will probably have to help with the round-up, the branding, the sorting, the shipping. It means I will have to get up early to help feed (if only to help feed the hungry humans who go and do the real hard work). It means we might have to put our bedroom on the ground floor of the house so that when there’s a sick cow or a difficult calving, Cowboy can go out every two hours without disturbing the kids or having to negotiate the stairs in his exhaustion.

Reading about those who have lost their cattle, and some who have lost their lives, was rather more emotional than I expected. It certainly put my problems a little more in perspective, made me rethink what was really important, and gave me a kick up the backside that I sorely needed.

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