i want a horse

it’s all i can think about.

am i ten years old?  no.  but i want a horse.

you know those things you dreamed about when you were a kid?  i was talking about that with a friend the other day, recollecting the things i wanted when i was growing up.

to be a writer. to be a dancer. to be a photographer.

to be a racehorse jockey.  or at least have my own horse.

so i wrote in my journal and wrote essays and explored books that inspired me more. i fell in love with dead poets society and got admitted to reed college to study english.  twenty years later and i walk down the street with phrases landing in my mind and words jumping off the page and know this amazing community of writers.

so i studied jazz and ballet and performed on dance team and shook it in the clubs and watched solid gold and club mtv and the fly girls.  i watched injuries take over but still can spend three hours if there’s some good stuff to shake my booty to.  and today i still move when i wanna move.

so i got an old manual camera and clicked away, spending hours in the darkroom, falling in love with creating images women, drawing out a seemingly ordinary woman’s sensuality and her curves.  i still think in black and white, i still catch that look in someone’s eye that makes me savor it and lock it in my mind.

so i watched the run for the roses the first saturday of may each year, and read all of walter farley’s books and, after realizing i was already taller than bill shoemaker, spent my summers in southern oregon riding and caring for horses (namely, the 16 hand arabian pictured above). but…

i haven’t been on a horse in ten years.  since i rode through the ruins of jamaican sugar plantations and galloped bareback in the waves of the caribbean.  a few years back i was housesitting on some acreage atop a hill, overlooking a valley. and they had a rescue horse.  sweet enough but obviously rarely groomed.  and i was twelve years old again, finding an old brush in the remnants of a tack room and slipping under the fence…this four legged darling fell in love with me for the weekend as i mucked his stall and fed him apples and played around the pasture.  and for a short weekend, i was transported away.

when we grow up we’re told to forget all that crazy stuff we dreamed about. how lame is that.  grow up and forget your dreams.  grow up and conform.  grow up and give up.

the best thing that ever happened to me is finding my words again.  starting friendships with those i could get deep into thought with, express anything i want with, bare my heart and soul with…and feel safe when i do it.  finding my words helped me awaken other parts of me.  the fearlessness.  the chutzpah.  the knowledge that things will always get better in the end, so do what feels right, what feels good, what nourishes me.

and so i grew things, went back to my barefoot ways, doing what my heart told me to do, even when i knew i was headed the wrong way down a one way street.  and i started thinking about what i want and how it’s evolved over the years.

someone who wants to take care of me and yet who i can be my nurturing yet fiercely independent self with and who loves that about me.  someone who cares about himself, takes care of himself, knows himself.  a man who can make me laugh one minute then slow dance with me the next, who loves conversation over red wine in a hole in the wall italian joint, the kind of place where the food is so good you close your eyes. and the kind of man who you don’t have to worry about, yet who still intrigues you when you lie awake late at night, telling each other stories of your old life.  he likes my soft skin and my curves and my outspoken nature and i like how when i’m with him, i settle down a bit, i feel like me, i feel sanctuary.

and yes, he encourages me to buy a horse.  we have a spot of land that’s just perfect for my fruits and vegetables and chocolatier-ing and a dog or two to run around and raising a little one together.  and i don’t have to worry about bureaucracies or lingering debts.   that’s in the past and now i’m in the future.

and i’m not a kid.  i’m a woman.  and i’m living proof you don’t have to let it all go at ten. HA!


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