Listening to every heart
When we were in Nipomo, me, being a non-rebellious child, rebelled, slightly. My friend, you see, had this beautiful horse, and had promised me a ride, and as I was still naught but a child, and Mom, having gone through a stage of infantile paralysis one summer when pre-teen, engaged in her wisdom the necessity of “naps”. I was that pre-teen, then, told to “lie down” but I knew when her sleeping shadowed over her love of reading, and heard the book slip to the floor, that it was time to sneak out, and meet Kathy, and yes, oh yes…
Ride that horse.
It seemed forever on that sunny afternoon to hurry down the sandy road, but hurry I did, my thin long legs in stride of a run, because I knew my time was short, and I had to get astride that horse, because it was a promise, and had I asked, well, I knew my mother would say no. Now, if father were only home, he would say, “sure” and would walk me down to Kathy’s house, just to see his daughter astride that lovely brown stallion. It was his wish to have given me my long-wished for dream, but money was always being taken from Peter to pay Paul, and there was no way I would ever own one, then.
Kathy was waiting. Now, she being a few years older, knew the horse sense in teaching horse sense. She wasn’t about to let me up on that stallion until she had taught me a few things. I was silently begging God to please allow her to just let me on the horse…didn’t she know my time was short? But no, if she knew I was there without permission, I was dead in the water.
The sun began to feel hot [or was it my fevered imagination?] as Kathy explained technical aspects of a horse’s leather equipment, how to place the bit just so, how to show “no fear” to an animal, but handle them tenderly, and with love. Oh, I was in love with the horse all right, but he reared back. Horses sense too much I thought, and I was now afraid the horse knew of my escape. Would he punish me? Or would He punish me?
We had the horse out in the corral now, and Kathy was about to lift me astride the horse, when “Kathy! Phone for you,” her mother called through the screen door.
Sigh. I would have to wait. But I couldn’t wait, so I held my breath while she crawled over the gate, and scampered into the house. Then, yes, that box over there. That would give me the height I needed to get on the horse myself. It didn’t matter that he had no saddle on – I had ridden bareback before. The stallion was standing so quietly, even when I moved the wood box over to his left side. And I kept praying, “just stay still”…
And everything was okay, as I grabbed his mane for a firm hold, then pushed off the box, at which time the screen door slammed, and the horse reared, and I went backwards, over the barbed wire fence, grazing it with my back, and onto the gravel. Just then Kathy was standing over me, saying, “that was your mom. You’d best get home.”
The look in her eyes told me two things. I was in deep trouble…and not with just my mom. The disappointment I saw in this older girl’s eyes immediately made me resolve right then and there…
Not to ever try to get away with anything like this again…
My back, bleeding from the barbed wire, my backside covered with gravel dust and pieces of sharp rock still sticking to my arms, I continued to brush myself off and tried so hard to keep from crying all the way home. I was bruised, and sore, and punishment was straight ahead.
Yep, Mom had dad’s belt in her hand, but when she saw me limping, and it was not an exaggeration on my part, held back, saying, “you’re grounded.”
It was enough.
So…there are other horse stories down the road. But when I come back in another life? It won’t be in human form…