Monday, August 05, 2013

The Good Life

I think that this is my favorite picture of me in the past ten years.

Just looking at it reminds me of how pleasantly cool the water was on my be-sneakered feet after a two-hour ride; how sweet the air was off the reservoir, carrying the sound of water-birds and distant motorboats; how good it feels to ride a clever and intrepid horse.

Bernie asked me the other day (as we were sitting out under the delicious shade of the eucalyptus tree on the front lawn) if I hadn't wanted to be rich and famous when I was a kid. My honest answer was that I hadn't. By the time I was eight, I'd already had it up to the eyebrows with childhood snobbery ("My daddy makes more money than yours does!") and anyway, if I was rich, I wouldn't be spending so many hours playing in the creek ("crick") or around the town's landfill, which was across the street from our house, and I wouldn't have given those adventures up for the world.

What I did want when I was older/grown-up was to have a horse and to ride as long as I could as often as I could.

And here I am, riding my little horse into the lake, splashing and getting my shoes and pants and chaps wet, playing with good friends who are almost always up for a ride.

I've had a great life, thanks to Bernie, who never minded that I didn't want to be rich and famous, or powerful and privileged. The other thing I wanted in my life came to me when I was about sixteen, and was a junior counselor at a 4-H camp. I was in charge of a cabin of nine-year-old girls and helped with all the youngsters with songs and crafts and hikes. A very sweet little boy decided I was his favorite counselor, and I fell in love with taking care of him. From then on, what I wanted to be was a wife and mother. A home-maker. I've had the delight of doing that with Bernie, and though it sounds a bit unreal, I savor ironing clothes, and folding laundry, and love love love being able to sit under the shady tree in the front yard with my husband and watch the world go about its business while I rejoice in mine.

I'm riding that horse into the lake again tomorrow, too!

P.S. Photo by Aggie Smith, taken from aboard her beautiful mare, Sis.

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