I Fell in Love With the Country

October 10, 2008

Eight years ago I was blind-sided by a horse, or at least my wife's out-of-the-blue love for one.

Ginger and I were like most young Dallas couples, our sights set on the typical American dream of budding careers, a small starter home, and if we were lucky, 2.3 children to complete the picture of the modern American, dual-income, go-getter lifestyle we all look forward to growing up.

Then something unexpected happened.

We ventured out of our little bubble in the city for a day in the country with a few friends, one of whom happened to hold down a career about as far from my imagination as possible - farrier. Or in less exotic terms, a horseshoer. Depending on your perspective, things went either uphill or downhill from there.

Before the day was done, my young wife had convinced me she needed a horse. More specifically, she needed Buster - the horse she'd met and rode that day.

Apparently it was love at first sight.

Love between a girl who'd never been on a horse in her life, and a horse who obviously didn't care much for the primary human benefit of horse ownership - horseback riding.

Before long we were horse people - after surrendering an end-of-year bonus that in my mind was better devoted to the always popular big screen TV and surround sound system. To this day the World Series is still somewhat less than exceptional on our single speaker 27-inch, 12 year-old Sony. With rabbit ears.

But man, does Ginger love that horse.

And I've grown to love him as well, along with life in the country. We now have three horses, down from five after the recent sale of Prima and her young colt Cinco, and I find an amazing sense of comfort and solitude associated with life on a small ranch, and the responsibilities that come with it.

There's something to be said for the smell of a horse after a day pushing pixels around a screen. Or the taste of fresh eggs for breakfast - pulled straight from the coop - instead of a McDonald's breakfast burrito, wolfed down behind the wheel on the way to the office.

You might think life in the country, filled with the care and feeding of animals, the mending of old fences, the drinking of too much beer on a trail ride; and life at SoftLayer dealing with the ever evolving world of technology and its impact are mutually exclusive. A situation designed to create a constant state of angst - of questioning one's place in the world. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Regardless of how much those of us at SoftLayer enjoy our work, and the satisfaction we take from tackling the challenges presented by the constant cry for innovation, we all need our hideaways - our place of refuge from the ever increasing pace of modern life. To my surprise, I found that refuge in a horse, and the life that came with him. Hopefully those of you reading this blog will be lucky enough to find your refuge. Life today moves amazingly fast. If you don't slow it down once in a while, you just might miss the best part.

Here's to finding your horse, wherever or whatever it may be.

-Ed

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