I went to my favorite spot. The one where I can watch the trees dress according to the seasons. I ran first, and then I stopped at the car, zipped up my jacket, and grabbed the camera. In the two years I’ve been going there, I have never seen another soul taking photographs. I’m mystified by it. Maybe after a while we become numb to the things that bring us the most beauty. Writing here helps me fight the tendency to go numb. You help me remember to chase those things down.
While walking around the lake, shielded by a huge bank of tall grass, I could hear a horse raising hell on one of the paths. It was whinnying and snorting so loud, I could hear it clear across the lake. Once I emerged on the other side, I followed the sound with my camera and he came into view. He was gorgeous, but totally resistant. The girl riding him was struggling to stay in the saddle, she was yanking and pulling him, and giving him a good smack on his rump. But I tell you that horse did not want to be broken. He wanted it his way or no way.
I lost sight of them again, and half an hour later as I walked to the car, they passed within a few feet of me. I wanted to take another photo, but when I saw the girl’s face red with exertion I decided against it. She walked beside him now, instructing him in a low voice, jerking on his bridle while he pawed at the ground and tried to bite the mouthpiece clear off.
He was a powerful horse, and she was clearly fed up with trying to get him to do it her way, but they were at a stalemate. Neither one was ready to give up on the other; he was strong enough to pull away, and she was almost frustrated enough to let him. I watched until it became awkward, and then I hopped in the car and drove away.
I think of that horse and his girl when I feel like I’m hanging on to someone or something for dear life. I have kids and a marriage and a faith which, at times, seem to pull in every direction but the one in which I want them to go. I suppose it is the nature of wild things to want to run free. Sometimes I’m the wild thing, and sometimes I’m the girl trying to tame it.
But, you know, I don’t think I would have it any other way. If we’re not the ones doing the leading and the breaking, then we are the one being broken. And if we are willing, we are put back together in a new way, one that has strength and purpose and the ability to carry someone else on our back.