What is the passion of your soul? Do you know?
Have you lost your raw child energy? We cannot all build careers around
passion, such as many artists are able to do, but we can all stay connected
to that early joy. I love riding horses, and I rode often until I was in my
mid-twenties. Throughout my life, I dreamed of owning a horse ranch in
Tucson, Arizona, where my family vacationed throughout my childhood,
and where my brother Greg now lives. Whether that ever happens
-- and I still hold on to the hope that it will -- I can still ride horses in
my home state of Maryland. I can still live part of my dream.
I recently got on a horse again after a two-decade break, at my friend Marian
Shaw's 190-acre farm off the Chester River in eastern Maryland. As she was adjusting
my stirrups on a mare named Iris, of all names, I put my head on the horse's
red mane, stroked her sinewy neck and the smell of sweat and hay shot me back
to my horse Chico from girlhood and the tobacco-chewing cowboys who led us on
trails through the Arizona desert. Cowboy Frank is an indelible memory. He wore
tight jeans and smoked Camel non-filters and he made the best scrambled eggs
fried in bacon grease on breakfast rides -- this while drinking a Coors beer
from the can.
With tears streaming through the dust on my cheeks, I took off with Marian
next to fields of soybeans and new emerald green wheat. Everything good and
right about riding came rushing back to me: loping against the wind, my muscles
molded onto the horse's muscles, moving as one, like a sexy slow dance. As we
eased to a halt, I let a hot and glisteny Iris chomp on some bushes, then put
my hands on the horn of the Western saddle and threw my head back. Under a blinding
October sun and surging with history, my whole self opened.
How could I have left horses, the sport of my soul? I ride as often as I can
these days and will never stop. That was a huge mistake.
What are you hankering to do that you stopped doing? As parents we are delegated
to the sidelines, to watch as our children exalt in tackling new sports and
activities. While we are proud audience members as they learn to horseback-ride,
score goals in soccer, excel at ballet and get up on water skis, all this can
make us want to dig in ourselves. Pushing ourselves to get off the observation
deck and back into the game can make anyone feel giddy, like a grown-up who
is still growing, not someone edging over the hill. Grab your old skateboard
or guitar, pick up on writing the novel you started in college, go back to something
you once loved but left. You too will feel as if you've unlocked a precious
piece of yourself that got buried with time and responsibility.
Copyright © 2003 Iris Krasnow