sharing a memory
July 1st 2007
Last night, under the glow of a pregnant moon, I rode alone through the Rockies on the back of a white mustang. For a few holy moments, it was just the two of us in the wilderness. Somehow we had fallen behind the other riders and found ourselves in simpler company. It was after 11, and the rest of the horses knew the trail well and wanted their hay. But my horse, a wolf of a blue-eyed mare, was the personal animal of one of trail hand’s and was in no particular rush to want or need anything. My feelings were mutual. We took our time.
We were high on a ridge. Stalking a treeless overpass cut into the shoulder of the Selkirk mountains. The mare walked in meditation as I looked all around me at the cedars and stars. I originally had a skittish Arabian, but the riding instructor traded reins with me when she prooved jumpy—so instead of a trail horse, I had this amazing animal with some fire in its hooves. I was a little intimidated, but breathed slowly. I hoped we didn't run into a moose or I was screwed.
We rode silently up and down steep passes. Me leaning back and lifting the reins as she descended into a small gulch, or moving my hips forward and hugging her neck as she trotted up hills. The moon was so bright it flung our shadows on the bear grass and huckleberry bushes. It couldn't have been more than twenty minutes of this lonely riding, but to me it felt like time had turned around three times and laid down for us. Sometimes this happens.
I stopped her to look over the view; The view of the lake below us looked false - like some dreamy impressionist painted it in on a romantic whim. I could hear the voices of the riders ahead of us. We had caught up. Soon we weren't going to be alone anymore. I wanted to keep this, selfishly. I learned a long time ago that you can take photographs of these moments in your head if you really focus. I did just that. I will never forget what Idaho looked like that night.
From the perfection of that black saddle, I gave myself permission to forgot how much I missed the fireflies.