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.
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.
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.
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