Saturday, June 12, 2010

Horsy Girl

Ever so often here in Big Sur something happens that reminds me with perfect clarity of who I was as a young girl. When I opened my front door yesterday morning I saw an amber colored horse standing on the edge of the meadow. He was nibbling grass, his golden coat reflecting the sunshine just emerging from above the ridge-top. Naturally I grabbed some carrots and my camera and paid him a visit.

The horse is both a prosaic and romantic creature: when they've come down in the past to feed on the sweet grass in the meadow, they came right up to the front door asking for apples. Later, though, in the hot summer weather, we realized they brought flies and um, other gifts, that made their presence less desirable.

I was one of those little girls that loved horses, passionately. My childhood was filled with books that took me to places where I raced the wind across Arabian deserts, trotted through the streets of London and galloped down blustery beaches to the sea. All of this was a great escape from suburban streets and shopping malls.

The usual jokes about horsy girls aside, a wise woman revealed to me recently that a girlhood love of horses is an archetypal response to the lack of an emotionally available father. Sigh. That was probably true, though now I'm happy that Dad is just a person who needs love and understanding, like us all.

But back to the horses! I had a collection of figurines (raise your hand if you did too, you know who you are) and arranged them differently depending on the stories they were playing out on my shelves. (I do remember Dad building me a special cabinet just for my horse family.) They were much more interesting than Barbie dolls to me, with fiery or gentle characters, brilliant coats and sparkly saddles. They had dreams of living life roaming the wild western mountains, or kicking up their pretty heels in the circus.

Rather than wanting a horse (which I eventually acquired after years of riding lessons, in the brief window before the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence) I think I wanted to be one: big, graceful, slightly dangerous, and full of ancient mystery.

Later yesterday, as I drove to work, my equine friend, who had wandered down the path towards the gate, came trotting back towards my truck, startled by a car. He pranced past me into the meadow, head and tail up, backlit by the morning sun.

In that moment in my mind I ride him bareback (middle-aged vertigo be damned) over this wild land. I smell the animal scent of his coat, feel the warmth of his withers, and connect with his powerful spirit. Ah, the romance of the horse is alive and well in my neighborhood!


Lisa said...

Yum. Love your musings, always.

Anonymous said...

Sweet web site, I had not come across earlier in my searches!
Keep up the good work!