There are times when every traveler needs to recharge the batteries of enthusiasm and interest. During our country tour through the South last winter, recharging became a major priority.
Visiting with family can help with this process in subtle or spectacular ways. We were fortunate enough to experience both.
We arrived in Harrodsburg, Kentucky in early February, a cold and dreary month. Vibrant colors don’t exist at that time. Somber hues dominate the landscape, turning the clock back to near black and white photographic days.
Life, however, thrives during this month in Kentucky and we were there to share in new beginnings. At a thoroughbred farm outside Harrodsburg, we witnessed a miracle of nature. It’s not often that the average person gets to see a new race horse come into the world. We were privileged to be allowed in the birthing box for the event.
From delivery to standing on four hooves, the newly arrived filly proceeded to jerk, wobble, and fall down in deep straw bedding. Mama was there to help it up and watch it take its first hesitant steps. The foaling crew stood to one side, watching for problems in case they needed to intervene quickly.
Murmured conversation of observations rumbled while shifting straw left behind shushing sounds. A tiny bleat of trepidation from the new foal punctuated the other sounds within the stall. For the human team expectation gave way to encouragement as pride took over from concern. Suckling would soon take precedence.
Down the aisle of the mares’ barn was a two-day old colt with its mama. Still a bit wobbly on its long legs, it surveyed its new world and stayed close to its food source.
Along both sides of the broad concrete aisle, boxes contained mares that waited for their turn at delivery. Some came forward to peek out, perhaps trying to see what all the hubbub was about. One stood and swayed to some internal rhythm of her own. We were told that she always did that during confinement. Still others ignored the world outside their stalls.
Surrounding all of the activity was a feeling of immensity and importance. The impact of impending activity bears down on a person when nearly a ton of horseflesh worth half a million dollars stands ready to deliver a baby. Put twenty of those potential new mamas in one building and it gets intense.
Our recharging had begun. Enthusiasm for life had been replenished. The final stroke of enthusiasm came a couple of days later when visiting more family. This time the babies were new calves. Between the calves, the laughter and the fellowship of a large family, we found ourselves again.
Of course, excellent home cooking of food that makes a person drool, along with renowned Southern hospitality, also helped effect a cure for travel fatigue.