Where in the World is Sid's?

Autumn Feb 14“You’re seriously going to hunt tomorrow?” my mom’s jaw nearly dropped to the floor when I told her my plan to rise well before dawn the next day and make the 2-hour drive out to the Long Creek territory.

“Yeah! I don’t have class until 2:00 on Tuesday, so I figured I can hunt tomorrow, stay at home tomorrow night, and just drive back to school Tuesday morning.” I was home for the long weekend, and since Shakerag Hounds would be heading out to hunt on Martin Luther King Day and my academic schedule sort of allowed for it, I figured I might as well go, too.

My mom gave me a confused sort of smile and simply responded, “Um. Okay dear, just be quiet when you get up in the morning,” and returned to her dinner.

Hunting, Come Hell or High Water...or Flu

Autumn Jan 14Autumn Clarke photoMy alarm seemed to go off extra early for Boxing Day this year. I had a fitful night of sleep like I normally do when I’m extra excited to hunt. This was going to be the first time I could ride with the field in quite some time so I couldn’t wait to get out the door! But when I sit up to switch my alarm clock off, I notice something that feels like a brick lodged in my airway. And when I try to say something…no sound comes out.

No. No. NO! I am NOT getting sick. That tickle in my throat that I noticed Christmas evening? Obviously that was just from being outside in the cold all morning. And this? Well…it’s in my head. I’m imagining it. I’m not actually ill. And if I pretend I’m not ill, I won’t get sick…right?
So I do what any intelligent person would do and I kick the covers off, get dressed, and head off to the barn.

A Glimmer of Hope

autumn dec 13Autumn Clarke photoIt was a dark and stormy night. I sat at my desk, furiously flipping through a history textbook and scribbling notes as quickly as my hands would allow. All day I had listened to the lashing of rain pelting my window, growing in strength as the day came to a close. It had been pouring down rain for the last 36 hours, which I hadn’t decided whether or not to be a good thing. As the night encroached, I was startled as a flash of lightning lit up the sky and a long rumble of thunder swelled to shake the house.
It was Finals Week Eve, and the outlook was not bright. Some of my Spanish notecards had mysteriously gone missing, my computer protested violently at every other keystroke, all of the Spanish verb tenses were beginning to blend into one and I could feel my brain turning to mush as I attempted memorize all of American history since 1650. I was trying to suppress the urge to slap my neighbors who had been singing for the last thirty minutes and I contemplated eating cereal and a veggie tray for dinner just so I wouldn’t have to leave my books. Months of dragging my feet to class and frantically scribbling notes had added up to this one fateful week where my future would be determined in a matter of hours.
When I left you all last, I was slowly pounding my head against the wall out of sheer boredom and despair, having lost all hope that I would ever return to the hunt field. But as I prepared for finals week, my mind drifted back to a few hours of happiness from Thanksgiving break.

To Whom it May Concern:

Autumn nov 13Hello. My name is Autumn Clarke. I am writing this because I am currently being held against my will and am in need of some help.

About two and a half years ago, the leaders of this institution lured me into this strange place filled with other people around my age. When asking around, everyone says they, like myself, willingly came here upon hearing promises that “it would be the time of our lives”. Alas, this place does have it’s positives, but at the same time, they constantly demand us to complete various tasks requiring everyone to stay up until odd hours in the morning and run full speed ahead on four hours of sleep. At times these tasks seem to have no point. 

It's So Good to be Back!

Autumn oct 13Autumn Clarke photoAfter holding a 12-week long working student position for the summer in Virginia, a quick I-have-to-make-sure-I-still-know-all-the-hounds-before-I-go-back-to-school trip to the kennels, and the first 7 weeks of my junior year in college, I’m FINALLY sitting down to write another blog entry for e-Covertside.

I had a wonderful time working in Virginia and learned more than I could’ve ever imagined. I was at a large hunter/jumper sales barn; the days were long and extremely fast-paced. With roughly 60 horses on the property and more than 40 horses to work each day with a team of 3-5 riders, everyone had to be on their A-game all the time, or else things would begin to fall through the cracks. The only down side to the gig was, despite being in the middle of hunt country, I actually went all 84 days without seeing a single hound.

A Taunting Game

Autumn April 13While out for my morning walk, I broke out of my path in the woods onto the roadside and paused beneath the big oak. I sat down to stretch for a minute in the warm golden sunlight starting to break through the trees. Our winter hadn’t been too brutal, but the weather in recent weeks had enough mood swings and violent highs and lows to make your head spin. But this morning, there seemed to finally be some promise that maybe, just maybe, spring was coming after all.

I stretched my legs across a lush patch of grass, closed my eyes for a moment, and listened to the breeze work its way through the treetops. I could hear a few cars rush along a nearby road and somebody beyond the patch of woods started up a lawnmower. The sunlight warmed me up after my jog in the woods, but the cold breeze still cut through my coat. Recent rains had made the earth springy to the touch and invited me to lie down for a nap, but just as I started to doze off, I was startled by the echo of voices coming from the woods I had just left.

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