The posting trot I was in put my right brain into full drive and allowed the more responsible, list making, planning, fault-finding, detail-oriented left side of my hammer brain to melt into nothing more than an acknowledging nod to the sound of Lola’s rhythmic breath. I held the reigns loosely and kept my eyes soft, allowing myself to become a horse-person, a single moving entity.
“Heel down, Khhareee…goooooood! Ehhhk-salent!”
The ground was soft with the scent of dirt, barely coming up in wisps around her legs as we moved around the arena, obeying directions even as we exercised the otherworldliness of horse and rider.
I began horse riding again (after three decades) on a whim. One lazy afternoon I googled arenas around me. And then I visited one on a rainy morning. And a week later I was standing aside a 16 1/2 hand thoroughbred trying to remember how to put a bridle on properly. I wanted to be reminded about the girl I was. The one that liked riding horses. Liked reading novels. Liked tackling new skills with pleasure and curiosity rather than subjection and duty. I was burned out. I had forgotten how to play.
Blogging was wonderful six years ago. Then it became a piggyback to everything I was doing and I found that I was unable to keep up, and I didn’t even care to open the computer at all, for anything. ”Besides”, I told my husband, “there is nothing I could say that someone else hasn’t already said bigger and better anyway.” The joy of just sharing, just writing, had petered into the likes of an overdue term paper.
And homeschooling was a delight when it was all about playdough and read alouds but somehow it became all about college preparation and soothing my poor gnawed cuticles. I wasn’t good at it, it was too hard. Nothing got in my face more than visions of disapproval for all the ways I was failing. Failing. In my own stupid visions (nightmares?) shaped by my own stupid fears shaped by my own stupid isn’t-everyone-else-doing-it-that-way aspirations. (Is it kosher to say “stupid” on my blog?)
And homemaking became about mopping on Tuesdays and menu planning on Thursdays and even our marriage hit potholes. More than once I said out loud that I just couldn’t do it all anymore. And I think my heart heard my mouth and the honesty burned.
And so I stopped. Dropped out of writer’s groups and stopping writing. Stopped dreaming. Stopped making lists. Stopped being enchanted by the rain and started complaining about getting wet. Found myself wondering at 5:00 what in the world I was going to make for supper when everything I could use was frozen. Put my half-worked projects aside (because who cares, anyway) and just allowed for shallowness.
But God. Thank God.
He is good at waking the dead.
One morning I journaled (in between the whining) about twenty things I would do if I could do anything. And, what do you know…there have come whispers of encouragement, Bible verses to hound me, His presence like the feel of angels wings upon my shoulders and letters from the mailbox and invites to coffee dates from friends I hadn’t seen in years. Tasks I had burdened myself with oughta’s started going away, simplifying my days and clearing my mind. I allowed my hair to grow out its gray and with the last snip of color I felt like I was finally going to let myself be me. Even as none on that list have fully come to pass, small hints have come my way like secrets falling from leaves. And I am beginning to listen and pay attention more.
“Gooooood Khareee!…..Now circle ‘round and do your two-point post……”
I wish I knew non-nebulous plans for all I want to do, but right now I am enjoying the dis-quieting quieting of all the lists and plans and am learning to let my paths form as I trail them. Sometimes that means take-out suppers and board games and floors that aren’t mopped for the week.
I grabbed onto the rough mane of the horse, her brown hair entwined through my fingers as I lifted into position. I’m not sure exactly where I’m going, but it just feels good to move in a direction for once not planned and outlined by me, to allow a brand new year to unfold and open at its own pace. Somehow, I think as I settle into a sitting trot, it just feels good to simply be moving forward, and that’s all right for now.