I’m linking up with Amber Haines for her weekly Concrete to Abstract writing assignment. As usual, her piece is stunning and the others linked to hers are excellent as well. Please go check them out and join up with us if you like.
My girls love horses. They have friends who let them ride. A dear family friend closed a betrothal deal with my youngest gal and his least fella, with a horse. Molly loves that horse. The fella, she said, “suits her fine.” My girls have always begged to ride, to take lessons and they have been graciously offered many such experiences. They so love the horses.
Number One Son and I have a little different view of the sometimes still wild beasts.
It started for me when I went to work. A sweet family let me stay half way with them many days on my longish commute to and from the college where I worked. I had their daughter in a class. She liked me and they adopted me, and well, I stayed at their farm many dark, cold nights.
They had horses. Not, slow-moving trail horses, the kind used to transport kiddos and old folks. HORSES. The daughter, 19, was a national champion barrel racer. Their horses didn’t look or run like any horses I had ever been near. They were Maserati’s on legs. They had two speeds: GO! and STOP! I only rode them once or twice with her. When I would go watch her race, I never stopped praying – they churned the ground they ran upon, it flew high as their backs. She, my student, nearly flew off them on every turn. The race of seconds felt an eternity.
Horses became wildness and fury and strength that might be pled a direction, if it seemed good to the horse.
In Costa Rica, we flew above birds and monkeys in the tree-tops and bounced down rapid rivers that we would rate higher here. We explored volcanoed paths and slept nearly uncovered in dark, deep jungles. I roared laughter and delight in all of it, until our little jaunt on the horses. Here, my intrepid son and I broke ranks with adventure. Our trail ride was 3 hours, 3 hours of knee-deep mud and then rocky climbs, now made muddy as well. Our steeds were small and sure-footed and forever fond of the trot. They beat us and then for sport had us clinging to their manes to stay somehow aboard as we climbed. I might have uttered a few French words at the little Spanish speakers. I thought that trip would never end, we would never return to the relative safety of the jungle.
Those horses did as they pleased, well. Unfortunately, their pleasure and ours seemed worlds apart. Their bodies made for those places and spaces, constantly pulled at us – trying to slow them to a gentle walk, to let them on out, away. They tossed their heads and pulled through our reigning in. It seemed a battle where they were stronger and wiser and we weak and full of fear.
Horses became the strength and certitude of One who would not explain, but would deliver us, if beaten and bruised, anyway.
For my mother’s 70th birthday, she took us, don’t you love that? to Cumberland Island, the largest and least populated isle off the Georgia Coast. A few families hold it, now in trust, as it has been ceded back to the state and ultimately all of us in these states, united. To say people hardy populate it is an understatement…I stood several times on a beach nearly twenty miles in length, not one other soul upon those soft sands. It is primal and pristine. The oldest sons of the isle are not the Carnegie Clan whose granddaughters authored the Trust. The oldest line are the horses the Spanish brought as early as 1500. They have the run of their station and they take such seriously. They: browns, grays, whites and dappled, appear from nowhere: rush through a thicket, careen around the corners of the few homesteads and houses we visitors stay within. They look tranquil as they graze a far off on the moon and star lit dunes, but they fly at will and never cease to surprise in their nearness, their sudden appearing.
Horse became the Inheritor, always near, even if obscured… always ready to charge, bursting forth, coming quickly, not at our bidding, but in pursuit of his own purpose.
How powerfully horses speak to our persons. I have not seen them as a pet to parade or an always gentle beast, but I have come to love them, too.