Just like her. Just like me.


I would like to take a trip down memory lane this morning because I feel I have some explaining to do. I find I have to explain myself quite regularly given my emotional outbursts, unruly hair, borderline crazy relationships with animals, worst case scenario obsession and addiction to cheese, so don’t feel bad about it. I sure don’t.

But I feel it’s necessary given all of the drama, all of the animal created chaos, all of the love for place I have spilled all over the sweet world wide web.

Because I want you to know that this behavior, this passion, this melodramatic, arms wide open to the world life I lead and the fact that I write about it in all its glory and dirt and bruises and wind and sunshine is nothing new. Nothing new at all.

Yes, at young age I was told to write it all down, little girl. Write all those feelings down so you can capture them and understand them and maybe not worry so much.

So I did it and have been doing so ever since. And most of those thoughts were held safe in books never to see the light of day.

But sometimes we were given writing assignments in school…and, well…I guess I just couldn’t hold back the emotion and the theatrics and philosophy that emoted from my innocent mind,  seeing it was my time to expose my soul to the world.

In 3rd  grade.

And it just happened to be that one of my most prized obsessions at the time, and actually during my entire elementary school career, was my old horse and partner in crime and confidant and best friend Rindy. Rindy the old, sorrel mare.

Me with the mare at a 4-H show. I told you I was serious about 4-H and now I present the evidence-- all over that sweet, intense face.

Rindy was often the subject of my early literature.

So my gift to you, straight out of the archives, are a couple of my early pieces on the subject of friendship and love and animal whispering–all lessons learned from this beautiful, overweight and elderly creature.

Get your tissues and be prepared to be moved beyond words.

Exhibit A:

Yes, I think Exhibit A demonstrates my flair for adventure and the competitive spirit you all know me to posses as an adult. Oh, and also pure honesty at my father’s convenient forgetfulness which provided me a valid excuse for my accident. And my love of a good story.

And my feelings. Oh my feelings…

…which seemed to be placed directly on my sleeve at birth and continued to develop and grow and overwhelm my being as time marched on and my relationship with, ahem, my horse, blossomed and grew…

I give you Exhibit B:

First, I would like to point out that it was I who coined the phrase “you complete me.”

Take that Jerry Maguire.

Second, I think it is quite evident here that I needed some real friends…you know…the kind with opposable thumbs. I guess that’s what happens when you give a girl 3,000 acres years before she is legally allowed to take her drivers test (and fail).

Point three, it appears that third grade is where I developed the art of preparing for the worst case scenario as it looks like I was arranging for the eminent death of my four legged companion, or worse, her trip to the sale barn.

As if my pops would take away my only friend.

And while I have the podium, let us marvel at my remarkable use of simile, i.e:  “cling to her like a bur,” which I am certain I took from one of those children’s horse novels I was reading at the time.

In addition, it appears I was also the first horse whisperer to write about my successful experiences training the four legged beast to perform on command at such great speeds by, you know, talking it over with her.

We are a blur (or was that bur?) of athleticism and speed and pure endurance, thanks to my training skills and Rindy's agility and physique.

Also, please note the little whip I had ready in case Rindy fell out of line. A whip that was, if I’m being honest here, all show. A whip that never even grazed that horse’s butt. Not a once.

Now wasn’t that fun?

So here’s the thing about this flashback– there is more to our photos and our memories than bad red pants and other questionable fashion choices.

See, living out here for the past six months as an adult woman who is looking for her place in the world I am reminded every day of where I began:  in the hills behind this very house where I fell off multiple horses, walked the coulees, wrote my first songs and sang them at the top of my lungs to the trees, where I learned to dress warm, do what I’m told, identify the wildflowers, teach a young horse to trust me and plant and tend to a garden that would reap what I sowed.

And I know that’s a gift given to me from someone, somewhere.

Because oh, how I have searched for myself, just like we all have at different times in our lives, at different transitions: from student to employee. From woman to wife. From wife to mother. From young to-“gasp”- old. Yes, I have searched before and learned lessons from failing at goals, crying about work, messing up friendships and driving away from it all.

And in the times I have lost myself I have often closed my eyes and asked the ten year old version of myself, you know, the one you see up there, what to do. I have asked her for her spirit, for her courage, for her confidence and dreams.

I have asked her where she has gone? How could she leave me like this alone and so unprepared to take on all of our plans?

Because ten year old version of me really had it all figured out.  I really liked her.  And there were times I needed her and her purple pants to come and be by my side, to come and save me from myself.

So I came home. I traipsed around her old stomping grounds. I clung, like she so eloquently described, to the back of horses she never had the chance to meet. I named the wildflowers and searched for stray kittens and flung my body down the clay buttes during a rain storm and did all of the things that she would tell me to do if she could have seen me wallowing like this.

And it’s been six months, a half a year since I moved back here, back home where my roots are planted. So here’s my explanation, the one I promised you at the beginning of my journey down memory lane: This world in which I’ve surrounded myself remains a wonder to me.

Because this weekend as I was looking through old photographs and laughing and teasing and covering my eyes at the choice of words and the choice of outfits, tears streamed down my face at the thought of the innocence and spirit I possessed and how my life captivated me so.

During the last six months, as I saddled up horse after horse and took off over the hills smiling, flying through pastures, talking to those creatures like I did when I was young, sometime, somewhere when I let it all go and threw myself to the wind again, someone nudged me in the ribs, her face wide in a smile, curls springing out from underneath her cap, eyes big and brown looking at me with anticipation, with excitement, with creativity and energy.

She opened her smile to say,  “Hi there.”

And I saw my reflection: my hair a wreck, my jeans worn at the knees, my sorrel horse beneath me, my skin kissed by the weather and I was not afraid of myself. I was not worried. I was not unsure or fragile or grasping at the right things.

I was doing it.

The right thing.

My favorite thing.

Just like her…

Just like me.

  • Listen to a song I wrote when I was 12 or 13: White Horses

18 thoughts on “Just like her. Just like me.

  1. Ok, first I will tell you that ‘White Horses’ is one of my favorites…….and Mr. P feels that same way.
    Secondly, when I have read every word you have written since the beginning of ‘Meanwhile, ….’ I still see that little girl in the purple or red pants…….wearing that scarf around your neck, or a cowboy hat on your fluffly fluffy hair! That is exactly what I see, then I see you in person and see what a beautiful young, caring, talented woman, wife, and someday mother (I know it for a fact) you have become. Just more mature with that same great flare to look stunning no matter what you put on!
    Thanks for sharing your very first writing with us……it is simply put……..priceless! Glad you saved it to share!
    Enjoy your life out there in the place that fills your soul with words that you put on paper to tell us your story!
    Love you!

  2. This treasure chest of memories you have they are grand!!!!Your memories reminding me ….of the spirit of my child within ….
    Thanks for sharing your gift!!!!
    I’m looking forward to more…..

    • Linda, I’m so glad you are reaching for the spirit of your inner child. I think she can show you and teach you so much about who you are today…I am sure the 10 year old version of you was a creative and giving and loving and open soul and I thank her for that…for making you into a spectacular woman.

  3. My goodness! What those horses do for us! My beloved Mr. Parker gave me, at age 40 something, the courage and confidence to take on anything. He’s waiting for me in heaven, along with 4 dogs and a cat. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and wish I could bury my face in his neck or feel his nose and breath on my cheek. Before he found me, I had read stories about the powerful connection between people and their horses but I didn’t really understand until Mr. Parker took over my heart. And, every horse should have a little pet girl. Mr. P had a little girl who could ride the hair off anything. She showed him for a couple years, then moved on to a more challenging horse leaving me and Mr. Parker in the dust. We were quite a team, and yes I think he understood every word I said to him. We finished each other’s sentences and completed each other. Glad to know I’m not nuts! Love your postings! Now I have to wipe my eyes and nose and get back to work! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your story and your sweet relationship with your childhood horse. I am so glad he found you, as you are right, every horse needs a little girl. Those bonds with animals at a young age teach us so much about life and love and respect and nurturing. I hope you were able to dig back to your fond memories of him and smile.

  4. Aww, thanks for the look back at your wunnerful life, sounds like an exciting one from time to time. The only time I rode a horse as a youngun was when I was 4/5 w/ my dad rounding up dairy cattle and visiting neighbors until I fell off on my back and I didn’t get back on a horse again for many moons but I didn’t hate horses. Just scared to get back on one …uff’da. Thanks for your blog as it is great 🙂

    • Ooo, I sure have fallen off my fair share of horses, but so glad to hear you got back on. That was always the lesson I heard…”you have to get back on.” There were times, especially after I broke my foot and then my wrist, that I was a little scared too, but I guess I couldn’t stay away. Thanks for reading!

  5. Your childhood is one many would envy. You’ve learned to appreciate the small things in life and the love of nature and what it gives out, and your wonderful animals. Your parents had a lot to do with that. They didn’t make you a girly girl because they were embarrassed, they let you be you. You have opened your heart and soul to me and even though we’ve never met personally, I feel like we’re a lot alike. So, when you see the Big Dipper and the North Star, think of me and I’ll remember when I was 10.

    • It’s been so fun to find women here who have experienced a childhood similar to mine and how they credit it and reach for it at times. But it doesn’t matter how or where you grew up, who we were at ten says so much about who we are now.

      I’ll be watching for that big dipper Karen 🙂

  6. Wow, so are you getting a cut of that Jerry Maguire money or what? You do have the proof that it WAS your line. I LOVE IT!
    Great trot down memory lane.
    Kleenex, please?

  7. Pingback: A year in review…with you. « Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

  8. Pingback: Mother Nature. It’s a woman thing… « Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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