today the wind was blowing hard. as i walked with lucky to the front field i kept turning back towards the house because i was hearing my children’s voices riding the wind. i thought. i thought i was hearing them but no they were still inside playing with the sitter and i was still out in the front field with my horse about to ride.
before i had children it wasn’t such a shocking act – to ride my horse. it was occasionally a chore and often a commitment and deeply a blessing but it was not a treat. it was just something that happened almost every day. i remember when i first got pregnant with the bean and the obgyn told me under no circumstances was i to ride at all i immediately went to the barn and took him out for a nice quiet walk. then, or shortly thereafter, i decided to just listen to what the doctor said because if anything were to happen to the pregnancy i would always wonder if it was somehow the riding. even though i felt somehow that taking a walk on my trustworthy steed was safer then buckling myself into an automobile and pulling out into the traffic.
once i chose not to ride i would go the barn and clean his stall and then just wrap my arms around his neck and smell him. he would let me for a bit – for longer than he would have let anyone else – and then he’d move on. some days i would try to go watch my mom ride him but i would just want to cry and that felt so insane that somehow distance seemed easier. distance of body and heart.
then there was a baby and i was so full with trying to be a mother, figuring out how to run a home, seeking my self in my marriage, getting pregnant again and giving birth again and going through it all again and suddenly years had passed since riding my horse was something i did.
i wouldn’t even say he is my horse anymore.
except to say there is no other horse in the universe that is my horse and he is still in the family.
on days like today, when suddenly my baby is almost five and the next one is closing in on three i get an hour to go out to the front field and ride. when i get up on his back and we try again to figure each other out and i seek out that space of connection, balance, asking, receiving, encouraging, insisting, accepting, flowing, faltering, feeling the subtle shifts in energy moving through him in his stride and the ways he can carry his body and mine. on days when i get the chance to sit on his back then suddenly so clearly oh my word he is my horse. and i catch myself thinking every person in the world deserves a horse like this. how i have learned almost every thing i know about riding from this horse. and things i know about more than just riding – about energy and circles and animals and humans. about trust and faith. about love.
then i feel so sad that i let all the distance blossom in the space between us where once there was nothing but being together. i am ashamed at the ways i walked away and i am full of the deepest regret that i let so many many years slip by. time was passing and he is much older now than he was then. i can feel it in his body when we are working together and i can see it in his eye when i walk beside him. older.
i am overwhelmed with regret and i want to cry about it but something else happens. i hear this other truth calling out that thing to do isn’t to cry for what i might have missed in the years that i devoted to being a mother. i hear this little whisper that there is another word i am looking for that is not “sorry.”
not sorry no.
thank you. thank you thank you thank you thank you. thank you for being my friend and my teacher and for everything you have shared with me. thank you for being an amazing horse and sharing your life with me – with us. thank you.
and then instead of crying over i am sorry i am taking off his tack and giving him a bath and rubbing him dry with a towel and then cleaning his face with the dampest edges just how he likes. and i am whispering, “don’t worry i won’t tell anyone that you actually do like getting your face cleaned.” i am caring for him in the tiny ways that used to seem so mundane and now just seem special. and i am saying thank you. thank you thank you.
the other day flash asked me if i feel at home down here around all the horse people and i said no i am not really a horse person anymore. not really. and he asked me do you miss it? and i said, i miss it so much when i am right near it. silence. you miss the riding? it is not the riding really though it is the riding. it is the horses it is the just the way it feels to me to be around them. they are to me what the ocean is to you. so when i am around them more then i miss them more. i think i caught a glimpse of him maybe understanding. (it is hard to be married to a horse person.)
i am not a real horse person anymore – in my day to day life. i am just not. but they are there in my blood and thumping in my heart and winding along the pathways of my memory and insight and understanding of life and the world. they sift in with my spirit.
one horse in particular of course. mine.