Not knowing where I am headed

One thing about horses- you can’t fool them.    If you are scared, they know it.  If you are a calm and in control person, they know it.     Unsure of yourself?  Your horse will be the first to decode your mindset.

My mind has been off and away, thinking about the sad situation with my father.    How can someone end up a thousand miles or more away from family, in a hospital bed, tethered to tubes, alone?   It seems heartless and cruel.  What kind of kids would do that to their sweet dad?

He remarried and moved away, joining up with his new wife and her adult children.  No villains in this story, no ill will.   But he gambled his time and money and lost so much in the process.   Imagine never seeing your grandchildren as teenagers or adults.   What would prevent him from doing so?

I mull on these things, reflecting back on the trip I made in November when he was well and thinking,  How lucky I was to have seen him just once more in his life…ten years is too long…  how he loves to talk…knows 10,000 jokes….loves literature and stories….

Do you see where my mind is?  Meanwhile, my body is on a horse.

A horse who is very green and very skittish.

I had a lesson, one of an ongoing series to keep the horse moving forward in his education.   And I am ashamed to report that I felt just as ill at ease with my thoughts as I did in the saddle of my narrow steed and away he throttled forward across an arena, into a corner.

Why wasn’t I redirecting him?  Why did my foot come out of the stirrup?  I’ve been riding for years…and it looked like it was my first time on a dude ranch trail ride.


Oh, it was straightened out.   I was pulling when I wasn’t and not pulling when I should.   We loped circles and got relaxed and figured out where I was headed and took charge again.

But the result of having no focus was unnerving.

I can’t fix my dad.  I can only steer my own ship, chart my own course.   I need to pay attention to what matters in the right here and now.  It feels selfish.  But if I don’t concentrate on moving myself forward and know what I need to be doing, I’m going to get tossed like a ragdoll onto the arena sand.

The horse taught me to pay attention today.  Not the lesson I thought I would be getting.   But it’s one I needed.


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