Tuesday, September 27, 2011
If You Saw Me (homage to Gerald Stern)
If you saw me riding a paint pony, Tonto, around a cool, dimly lit arena on a hot Chicago summer day, my short, 6-year-old legs barely reaching down past the saddle skirt, cantering for the very first time,
You would see a smile fill my face with all my heart’s joy as my body relaxed into that rocking motion and my mind thrilled to the speed.
If you saw me riding a dark bay horse, Charlie Brown, in an outdoor arena in the far northwoods of Minnesota with my fellow campers,
You would hear me laughing as the horse dropped out from under me in the space of one stride. You would see me climb off him just before he rolled in the sandy track, and watch, gleefully amazed at this display of personality.
If you saw me, age 15, galloping bareback cross-country on a blue-eyed albino, Silver Leaf, flying over stacks of hay bales, my hands entwined in that white mane,
You would know I felt in my whole body the power of those long limbs, those broad muscles, as he sailed through the air, and you would understand all my blissful dreams of flying to be reality.
If you saw me on a delicate bay thoroughbred mare, Valhalla, jumping with one perfect spring over poles stacked four feet high, going straight up and straight down in such harmony of motion, ease of momentum, grace of landing,
You would understand what I sought then as a teenager, and now – perfect unity with another living creature, achieved through delicacy of feel and abandonment of thought.
If you saw me out of control, clinging to my thoroughbred Spiffy’s black mane, wind whipping tears from my eyes, as he tore across the rocky Texas hill country until his urge to run was finally spent,
You would see me rise above caution, move through fear, and reach the place of trust.
If you saw me swimming bareback in the Carmel River with Windy, broad backed and solid bay Arabian mare,
You would see her repeatedly, playfully strike out from the shore, swim a large loop while my body streamed out across her back half floating, half pulled by her power through the cold water, and emerge again onto the bank dripping, shaking herself in the California sun.
If you saw me astride Kabir, white Arab glowing under the full moon as he stepped lightly through misty Indiana fields, or cantering in knee deep snow,
You would know the magic of horses’ gifts to me, and you would realize the depths of my gratitude.
Amy L for the PGM