Yesterday my niece and I went horseback riding at a beautiful Regional Wilderness Park. What is it about horses that all little girls dream of? For me as a little girl, nothing could trump the idea of having a horse of my very own. To this day, it is still a dream and goal of mine. Maybe it’s because a horse represents freedom and flight and romance and whimsy. I guess some things never change for girls.
As soon as Gianna stepped off her horse she said to me reverently, “I want to take horseback riding lessons.” I smiled, remembering the out of reach longing as a child. A wish. A hope. A deep, inner knowing that it probably wouldn’t happen. It can be a very expensive hobby/love/passion.
We both got to ride the horses that we decided we wanted to while we gazed at them in their corral. I love how much I connected with my horse – who had such a peaceful demeanor. I wanted to take the saddle and my shoes off, ride away from the trail, and run fast and furious with her through the wilderness. Someday. Gianna may not be able to put it into those words yet, but I know she felt it, too. She’s a kindred soul.
After the riding we meandered through various parts of the wilderness to find photo opportunities. Back and forth the camera went between us for forty minutes… shooting trees, raging rivers, birds, and each other. She stopped me in my tracks when she gasped with delight, “Ana, can I have the camera?!” and ran to the port-o-potty recently in sight. Giggling with delight she snapped photos of the ugly potty, inside and out. She is nine. And she has a wonderfully silly sense of humor.
I love her with all my heart and just want to protect and help strengthen her fragility. I see so much of me in her – as I was as a little girl. She’s a deep feeler, a deep thinker, and a creative spirit. I’d love to clear up the confusing thoughts and emotions that seem to happen outside of our control when we are wee babes. I know she experiences it, I can see the struggle in her soul. But we cannot transfer our experiences onto others, most things we must come to realize on our own. And we do, in time.