Like a Child

Like a Child


I was six, maybe seven years old. My little sister and I were visiting our grandparents in Colorado, and they had taken us to their friends’ farm where we got to ride a horse, a real horse, a big, brown, gorgeous horse. Helen. We were thrilled just by the sight of her. The sweet touch of her velvet nose in my outstretched hand was almost too much, the feel of the saddle on my bare legs, my sister’s arms around my waist, the clop, clop, clop, clop of Helen’s hooves on the hard dirt as our grandfather led us around the farmyard.

Earlier this week, on a cool, luscious summer evening, I was in the company of  another big, brown, gorgeous horse, my Tara. It had been a bear of a day, and I was soothed by her quiet eyes, the musky scent of her skin, her solid, calm presence as she walked next to me. But it was the sound of her hooves on the long asphalt driveway that brought to mind the ecstasy of my first encounter with a horse. Oh yes, I’d had the pleasure of sitting on a kind-hearted pony at Kiddieland, going round and round, but a “real” horse, on a real farm, the smell of cut hay and cattle, the three-legged dog, the old white farmhouse, my grandpa, my sister, Helen, this was food for my soul unlike any I had ever tasted.

When this memory darted into my mind, I grabbed it, turned it over, stepped inside of it, reveled in its sweet healing.

Do you remember the thrilling sound of a puppy lapping water from a bowl; the tickly hum of a kitten purring in your lap; the bobbing head and chirp, chirp of a blue parakeet, it’s head cocked to one side; the squeak, squeak of a hamster running laps on its wheel; the gurgle of the fish tank stocked with zebra fish darting in and out of their porcelain castle? Do you remember these sounds from years ago, the heady joy of being in the presence of one not of your kind?

I thanked Helen for the memory, then looked at my beloved Tara—my friend, my confidant, my teacher—with fresh eyes, the eyes of a thrilled child walking next to a horse for the first time on a beautiful summer evening.



4 Replies to “Like a Child”

  1. Hi Pam,

    Such evocative writing! They were your memories, but I could see both scenarios–past and present–as if I’d been there. One memory that comes back to me clearly is of a horse named Star and her foal Velvet. Star wasn’t my horse, but every time we went past the field where she and Velvet lived, I always wished I could ride her. As it turns out, I got my wish, and it was one wild ride, complete with Velvet charging along side, kicking up her heels. Don’t ask me how I managed to stay on Star’s back (especially as I was riding bareback), but somehow I managed to stay on her, even though I was hanging on upside down around Star’s neck. What’s that warning about being careful what you wish for? 😉 And yes, I do remember Star’s human companion–a teenaged girl who was only a few years older than me–laughing very hard at the whole incident. I wasn’t hurt, neither of the horses were hurt, and I became friends with the girl after that.

    1. Thank you, Sue.

      I can’t tell you how many stories like this I’ve heard over the years, mostly from people who never got on a horse again! Just curious, is this a fond memory for you?

  2. Hi Pam,

    Yes, it is a fond (and amusing) memory for me, and the experience didn’t stop me from getting on other horses. I will note that on the few times I got to go riding (usually on a trail ride on some poor horse that had to deal with all kinds of silly behaviour from the people on its back) I seemed to inevitably end up with the most spirited horse in the group. 🙂

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