Monday, April 19, 2010

Gated Community

Some people meet through their spouses. Some through their kids. Two decades ago my friend Carla and I met through our horses. We had the same trainer, and though we usually took lessons on different days, we (and our horses) spent years together jumping fences in arenas and on desert mesas, walking mountain trails, galloping across fields. There are some experiences in my life I would trade, but not those.

Many of the other riders in our hunter-jumper barn were teenaged girls with fancy, expensive horses. Typically, they’d arrive before a scheduled lesson, groom and tack up their mounts, walk to the arena, warm-up, jump whatever was set up for them, cool-down, dismount, walk back to the barn, etc.

Week after week, they repeated the process. Most got really good at jumping fences in a gated arena and won many ribbons at horse shows. Carla and I won ribbons, too (well, mostly she did), but much of the joy I found riding came from the out-of-arena experiences we had.

The other day someone told me about a friend who’d said she couldn’t do yoga for a couple of weeks. Why? Because she was on her way to visit a relative in a town that didn’t have a studio dedicated to the particular style she practiced.

That's when I started thinking about horses, jumping, arenas and this bit of wisdom from Rumi:

“...there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

In other words, open the gate.

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