Monday, April 5, 2010

Wind Horse

     His name was Dan and he was a gift from my grandfather (to the “joy” of my parents). Dan was an old mid size horse my grandfather happened upon. He would stay at my grandfather’s farm and I could ride him when we visited. The first visit I procured a box of sugar cubes. After all, horses like sugar cubes and this was our first meeting. I wanted to make sure Dan liked me. It was over an hour’s drive to my grandparents. All the way I watched the Alabama pine trees zoom by the window and dreamed of riding fast and furious through the clover fields and herding my grandfather’s cows. The more I dreamed the more sugar cubes I consumed. When we arrived there were two left.
     My grandfather lifted me up on the saddle and off Dan and I went…a nice steady walk. That was Dan’s style. His years of running fast through the clover fields had passed and the cows continued to graze. My dream? I never noticed. I was too busy listening to the wind of the clover’s dance beneath our speed. There was something so totally visceral about learning how to match your body, your posture, your tension and your movement to the horse’s body. It becomes a dance with neither partner leading. Dan and I would dance as often as we could and each dance lasted an eternity.
     Native Americans and Buddhism both have legends of the Wind Horse. For the Buddhist, the Wind Horse is the summoning of energy, prayer, healing and rising above. Many of the Native American stories talk of a horse who would care for and carry the wounded to safety. The Wind Horse is no more in these legends because he felt the love of an injured boy and together they made a final journey. Whether summoning energy, raising prayer flags for healing and restoration, rising above the shackles of earthly misperception, or, being touched by the stories and love of another, to ride the Wind Horse is to believe in something beyond yourself. It is a ride of trust beyond yourself. Like jumping off a cliff into the Ocean’s waters below, you simply let go and believe. You believe.
     I’ve often wondered what my father said to my grandfather as he sent me off, unsupervised, to ride my Wind Horse that first visit. I think, when I looked down with that child’s look of “Are you sure?” that I met the twinkle in my own eye as my grandfather smiled. And with that twinkle, that freedom, I sat off to ride my Wind Horse.
     Dan may have been my first Wind Horse but he was not the last. I have seen the Wind Horse in the eyes of those souls you meet and know your eyes have met before. I have seen the Wind Horse in my own closed eyes as the earth’s pain and those around me overwhelms me and I can do naught but summon the Wind Horse to heal us all. As profound as these experiences have been, and are, as rich as these rides are, the most visceral and powerful are those where I hear the pure laughter of a young girl with frizzy blonde hair riding the wind. She believes. She laughs, oh how she laughs. She summons the energy of all that is pure, the wind of love. And when one rides the Wind Horse, one never rides alone.