A second Thanksgiving

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and I just wanted a turkey dinner. One cooked by me. My friend Peter had a spare bird, so we made a deal.

It started in the morning when I roasted a small pumpkin for an almond-crust pie. This was followed by a frenzy of cooking: a sausage-rice dressing, mashed cauliflower, prepping the turkey for roasting, green beans, gravy. It was a full day in the kitchen.

After all this cooking what I really needed was some fresh air and some exercise.

It was late and the turkey was still roasting when I headed outside and selected Redbo out of the pasture. We headed out running onto the Bear Basin Ranch trails and somewhere out there the sun slipped behind the Sangres. It was damn well dark when we came off the trail and struck out on the road home — two more miles ahead in the dark.

An overcast sky captured the glow of the waxing moon and all was still except for my own breathing and the clip-clop of the burro’s hooves. It was an exhilarating experience as Redbo headed for the barn with his big trot, and my feet, in step with his, quickly searched out the invisible ground. Perhaps this is how it would feel to fly. Nearing home, Redbo’s ears perked up and his head towered high over my own to point out the ghostly gray forms of deer coursing through a field in the weak moonlight.

In many ways it was one of the most interesting and thrilling runs I’ve ever had with a burro, better even than some races I’ve won.

Back home the smell of roasting turkey filled the air, and soon this would be joined by the sounds of friends. Indeed, there was much to be thankful for.

• • •

A friend sent this link to a story about a man and his autistic son who were swept out to sea by a rip tide, though the story is really about much more than that. It’s yet another interesting look inside the world of autism and is highly recommended reading.

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