You know how when you were younger and smaller, innocent and wide eyed, how things appeared big and they stick in your memory that way? Then time goes by and you grow up and see those things again, but somehow they are smaller than you remembered? And you wonder just how in the world you ever thought they were that big?
That happened to me yesterday.
So there I was in the cloudy, windy, misty river bottom where the sun apparently does not like to play anymore. I spent the whole morning mucking out the barn and paddock around the barn. With the weather these days, the horses have been spending an exorbitant amount of time in there instead of out in the pasture. I really do not think I have ever scooped so much poop as I have in the last month and I have been riding and caring for horses my whole life. Anyway, that is not the point.
So there I was trying to decide what to do next. “I should be riding,” I thought to myself, but I do not like to ride when the ‘shoulds’ show up.
“Shoulds be darned” and I grabbed Cheetah’s bridle. We are going to go play and have fun. I bridled her up and headed to the fence to hop on.
Just then, H called. She was on her way to put in some work at the office. She likes to talk while she drives, as do I. We call it the dialies in our family. Anyway, I decided then and there that I would ride Cheetah for me and I would ride Lito next for her because she could not ride that day. She has not been able to ride in a while because of work. AHA moment. Always ride when you can. Life is too short and you never know when you won’t be able to and there are plenty of people who can not.
I stuck my phone in my pocket and talked to her on speaker phone for my whole lovely ride. Cheetah was lazy and behind my leg. Dare I say sluggish, which is somewhat of a nice change of pace. Then the sun showed up and I almost didn’t know what to do with myself.
For Lito, I decided to saddle up and ride my neighbor’s big pasture behind the barn.
I had not ridden that pasture in years. I used to ride it all the time on Fresca, my little palomino mare. She was quick, fast, and fun and I loved her. She had the best little jog and I could do anything on her. She was the best horse to grow up on. We rode all over the place bareback, nothing between me and her, feeling every thought. We had some amazing times, that mare and me. Whenever we would ride the pasture behind the barn, we would ride down to the river first and loop around to the clear frontage to have a look down the river and see if anyone was on the beach. Then we would continue up river and follow the tree line towards the big hill.
The hill was our favorite. The two track dirt road lazily meanders around to the low spot with rusty culvert before it goes straight up the hill to the little white church across the fence. The culvert was the starting gate in our games. We had different games in different places all around the river bottom, but here at the hill in the big pasture behind the barn, it was a race and she was the best race horse of the day.
Calm as could be, Fresca would walk up to the culvert as if neither of us had a plan to gallop to the top wearing red and white silks. As if we didn’t do it practically every time we came to the hill. An onlooker would not know what was about to happen, but the ones in the grandstand knew. Then, the bell would ring and in an instant, we would take off and fly to the top faster than all the greats.
Once at the top, we would come to a stop right by the church and listen to the church goers sing. I thought it was so cool that you could hear them sing when they were inside. By about that time I would start to feel hungry for breakfast so we would turn and head down the hill, cross the bog, and make our way back home where my mother was making pancakes.
Lito and I pushed our way through the overgrowth at the gate and then made our way down to the river. I will conveniently leave out the part where a crazy, lone cow
chased followed us for a bit, so we got in some extra trotting before we got to the look out. After marveling at how the river bottom has changed since the two floods before Hurricane Harvey and then after Harvey, we tracked up river along the tree line towards the hill.
I was looking forward to a good lope up the hill for old time’s sake. I remember it being a bigger hill as hills go down here. At least big enough to lope for a bit. You know, feel the wind in your pony tail, or something like that. I had to laugh when the culvert at the base of the hill came into view. The big hill, in all its glory, looking back at me. I realized how small the hill actually is. Maybe ten strides long. Laughing, we went for a big trot up the hill instead. Being a Saturday, there were no church goers to listen to, so we turned and walked back. Half way there, the sun went behind the clouds, the wind picked up, and a few drops fell from the sky, but that didn’t dampen our spirits.
Funny how you remember things as a kid. I guess it is all just a matter of perspective. Back then I was little and more imaginative. Fresca was little. Today I am grown and Lito is quite a bit taller than ol’ Fresca. I think I will remember that hill as a big hill.
When the fog finally burned off this morning, it turned into a beautiful day. Cheetah and I had another ride in the pond pasture.
Now I am back at home. I did a very adult thing and sacrificed my day off tomorrow to do adult things instead of staying at the farm. I mean, look at those faces. So hard to leave them!
Naturally I did another very adult thing and procrastinated some of those things to clean and do laundry all afternoon and evening. Nothing like cleaning and laundry to procrastinate. Makes you feel like you got so much accomplished (which you did, so that is something) and takes enough time to keep you from doing what you need to do.
Looks like it will be a late night! Oh well!
Walk in love, dear readers, tomorrow is a new day!