a winter sleigh ride
Riding in a light snowfall on the back of a horse drawn sleigh was magical beyond words. In the back Pasture of Livingston Brook Farm we drove through gates and over the snow-covered hay field and worked on turns and I listened as Patty explained the dangers and differences to a sleigh as opposed to a forecart or Meadowbrook. I listen, but I am also still in a bit of a daze. I have only seen horse-drawn sleighs in movies and Grandma Moses paintings. Now I was handed the reins and asked to drive one myself?! I thought about how I could have been at work instead, had I not taken the personal day. There was no reason for it, really. All taking today off did was make a 3-day weekend a 4-day weekend. But after a month of workshops and what very-well could be the last and only true snowfall of winter...I wasn't passing up the chance for a sleigh ride and the extra rest. As I watched Steele's big bum clump in front of me, calm as steady as a river steamboat, I thought about my task list in the office. Of the bad lighting, meetings, and working to make another person's dreams come true and felt emboldened at my choice to stay home and grab the reins. There is nothing wrong with working an office job, it is how I still pay some of my bills. But there is something to be said for knowing when to step away, jump in a sleigh, and head for the hills.
When we were done, the horse turned out, and the sleigh put away...we headed inside for lunch and coffee. Patty served some good pea soup and sandwiches and we talked for a long while. What a blessing, these new friends I have found in her and Mark. What a day. What a cup of coffee....
As we chatted we could look out and see Steele and his companion Ellis, a big black 18-hand dressage horse running through the oncoming snow flakes. They seemed thrilled to be out in the fresh air, blowing and jumping, digging in the snow like children building a fort. I have to laugh when I look at Patty's choice in equine companion and my own. Just like Steele, Patty is tall, fair haired, steady and strong. She's in no weigh hefty, but solid. You look at her and Steele and it makes sense. A lot of sense. And then I think of Merlin and I. Both of us shorter and stouter, dark haired and prone to be overly dramatic. I remember Merlin kicking up into the air just to show off and posture as we walked by his pasture mates on the walk back to his stall. He's a little anxious too. Also, both of us (Merlin and I, that is) need to drop a few pounds. You see the two of us and it makes sense, too. Perhaps the world pairs up women and horses? Or perhaps women just pick horses that suit our natures? Whatever the case, when it comes time to throw the hames over Merlin's back, we will both be better for it. I will tell him, as I move his long black bangs out from his deep brown eyes, of how the harness used to be nothing but an awkward weight—but thanks to two fine mentor's—it has become a labor of love.