The Day of the Horse (aka Vacation Day 6, Part I)

June 3rd, Day 6: Part I

**WARNING**This will be extra wordy and long-winded.**WARNING**

Oh, what a glorious day. Not only does June 3rd represent the blessed day I was brought into this world, but I also get rewarded for it with the giving of splendiferous gifts. Best.Day.Ever. I have had a perfectly splendid vacationy kind of birthday! I'm trying not to think about the fact that I'm now 25. Turning that monumental quarter of a century is rather... unnerving in a way. I feel like that age indicates a full-fledged adult, but I only feel like one about 2% of the time and about half of that small percentage of time is due only to the mere fact that I'm married. (Just as a clarifying side note: If I follow this "marriage = adult" train of thought further, I do always come to the obvious conclusion that being married does not declare the reaching of maturity and adulthood, evidenced by the fact of so many irrational, unstable marriages all around. I realize this.) However, for the most part, I actually don't mind not feeling like an adult. I like that I can still be absolutely ridiculous without giving a second thought to how it might reflect on my "adulthood." I like that I can still be completely enraptured by the simplest things. I like that my speech is made up of 2 parts random, 1 part "normal", and 1 part incomprehensible. For the most part, I like that I don't feel constrained to be adult-ish or "normal". It's only when I re-realize how un-adult-like I am (especially on each new birthday) that it makes me ask myself, "Should I change?" But the answer to such a boring question will not be found today, for today was a day for frolicks and carefree adventures. I shall start at the beginning.

This morning I woke up with one single butterfly in my stomach. I will call him Harry. He's a happy butterfly, one of the best kinds. He is similar in sensation to the nervous or embarrassed or scared stiff varieties of stomach butterflies, but only in that you feel him in your gut and your heart rate rises. However, as soon as you realize that Harry is present because of an impending happy occasion, all comparisons to the lesser butterflies cease. The reason Harry was fluttering about today?

I had an appointment with Frosty.

Obviously, you don't know who Frosty is, and, at 8 am this morning, I didn't either. At least, I didn't know his name was Frosty. But, though I didn't know his name, I had a good gut feeling (courtesy of Harry, most likely) that we would soon become best friends.

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned having never ridden a 4-legged animal? I can now very proudly say that this is no longer true. Oh my. I seriously must be one of the happiest girls alive right now. Jason's parents' gift to me was a trip to Stonehouse Stables here in Williamsburg for an hour-long, nature trail horseback riding adventure! It.Was.Awesome. I am still a bit too excited to write very coherently about this experience so the following narrative will probably be quite jumpy and exclamation-y and filled with long-winded sentences. But, who cares? I got to ride a horse and it was so.much.fun! And you know what the best part was? (You know, besides the fact that I was riding a beautiful frosty horse [not pony!] aptly named Frosty, and the fact that I got the perfect spirited horse who wished to scramble and walk about with a similar excitement to that in the pit of my stomach [that pretty instantaneously, upon arrival at the stables, moved to my face and all of my body], and that the weather finally cooled down to a gorgeous 75 [which made walking along the completely treed nature trail, complete with deer, rabbits, geese, and serene lake, perfectly blissful]...) The best part was that from the minute I put my foot in the stirrup, I was completely at ease and comfortable. It felt 100% natural. For me, this is a big deal. Sharayah and new things generally do not get along. Rarely does something come to me "naturally." It usually takes a lot of awkwardness, a lot of nervous mumbling, and several re-introductions before any semblence of comfort or familiarity occurs. This was not the case with horseback riding and Frosty and me. It was such a wonderfully exhilarating experience.

I have to take a break from my birthday adventures to mention this: Jason and I brought along several puzzles to do while we are down here vacationing. The majority of our puzzles are in multipacks of anywhere from 4-10 puzzles. The packs we are currently working on are 4-packs of Thomas Kinkade and Jane Wooster Scott, and a 10-pack of random animal-themed puzzles. We have a few guidelines that we follow without fail when puzzling: 1) We choose a random bag of puzzle pieces from one of our sets. 2) We build the border first. 3) We never look at a picture of what the puzzle is supposed to look like. We think that the puzzle is more fun to build this way, not knowing exactly what the image is going to be. Well, in the case of the non-animal puzzles, we usually have a general idea of what will be in the picture (Wooster Scott = colorful towns with balloons and shops and sailboats, etc. Kinkade = an old-fashioned cottage settled amongst scenic forestry.). With this particular set of animal puzzles, however, we don't even have a general idea (other than that an animal should be present somewhere in the image) of the puzzle's finished product. Anyway, so the puzzle that Jason randomly chose to bring with us from the animal pack is 900 pieces and has been stumping us for the past couple of days. We managed to do the border and felt rather accomplished. Unfortunately, all of the remaining pieces basically fall into 3 color categories: brown, orange/yellow, and purple. It was intimidating to look at, and we had absolutely no clue what animal we would be creating from these pieces. There were seemingly no distinctive pieces, no particularly easy starting place, nothing. To make a long story not as long as it could be, tonight (about 5 minutes ago) Jason finally figured out the puzzle's animal. What we originally thought was a purplish-blue mass filled with red blood cells (as seen from under a microscope) that was slipping away from the sun on the crest of a fiery plasma wave actually turned out to be a horse! I just had to mention that. What a pleasant coincidence, eh? The day of the horse. What a good day. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

So, yes, I won't go so far as to say that I'm a natural at horseback riding, only that it felt natural to me. As soon as I was on top of Frosty, I felt like I could conquer the world. I wanted to recklessly gallop off into the forest and become best friends with this four-legged animal. We would explore new lands and become inseparable. I never wanted to dismount. It was such a surreal experience, finally doing something that I've wanted to do for... as long as I can remember. It was everything I have ever imagined. Sure, we mostly just walked along the trail in a well-behaved manner, but in my head the entire time, I was seeing me and Frosty adventuring together. No guides, no trails, no hour time limit.

The entire time we were at the stables, surrounded by grazing horses, whinnying horses, clip-clopping horses, I kept feeling this irrepressible desire to slip away with one of them and just... be free. Perhaps it's due to my re-reading the Black Stallion series (I'm now into the 5th book) with all of its epic wildness, I don't know. What I do know is that I wanted to ride forever with Jason and Frosty. Just ride forever, completely free of everything. Riding Frosty gave me such an indescribable feeling. I feel it, but I just can't find the right words right now. It was amazing. Absolutely exhilarating.

I could go on forever but I'm sure I've already passed the point of "probably not interesting to read" so... I will give a more specific overview of the riding adventure, with less "It was so incredible!" 's. Like I've already mentioned, I got to ride a frosty speckled white horse named Frosty. Jason's mount was equally awesome, if for a slightly different reason. Jason's friend was named Charlie Brown, or CB. The name was perfect. We were told CB used to be a race horse, once placing 4th even, and the only thing you could do was laugh when they said it. Charlie Brown was a pretty generic brown horse, the biggest of the 3 [the guide's horse was light brown and named Elvis], and the oldest. He was a perfect horse representation of Charlie Brown, lacking only the stripe. The guide and Elvis led us through the trail, I followed behind them, and Jason was behind me (we were the only ones doing the trail at this time slot, which was super nice). Frosty always wanted to be as close to the front as possible. He had a ton of energy and was exactly what I had been hoping for going in to this whole adventure (I just didn't want an old, small, sleepy horse that plodded). Charlie Brown was the exact opposite. His favorite pace was plodding. Elvis and Frosty would just be walking along and we'd slowly but surely lose CB and Jason far behind us. I'd occasionally glance over my shoulder and never failed to crack up laughing at the picture I'd see: Jason and Charlie Brown looked to be the best of friends. They plodded along with such measured... seriousness. I don't think I can even properly describe it, but try to imagine an old Mickey Mouse cartoon where there are cartoon-y horses racing in some kind of... race. The screen first shows you the one horse that is racing along gallantly to that cheerful, fast-paced music (I have the tune in my head, but I can't really type it out, nor do I know the name of it). It then switches to the cartoon horse bringing up the rear in the midst of all the settling dust and the music changes drastically to that slow, measured, "plodding" music. Again, I can't really describe it, but Jason and I have been singing it all day and it's hilarious. I doubt that this attempt at clarity is clear at all, but it's the best I can do. Just know, we had to keep stopping to let Charlie Brown and Jason catch up to us. It wasn't Jason's fault at all, seriously. CB just had his preferred pace and, even when prodded to quicken a bit, he would only speed up for a few steps before falling back into his plodding. It was awesome. They were the perfect pair. I wish I had taken a picture of them, but I was the first to mount and Jason had the camera the entire time. Sad.

The other thing I want to mention is that Elvis was a bit skittish, and along the trail, there were quite a few opportunities for him to get skittish. There were rabbits and deer and fawns and random birds and such. All of the wildlife were cautious when they saw us, but didn't necessarily seem scared of us since they were semi-used to people riding on the trails. They would keep their distance but wouldn't run away. Anyway, we came around a corner and there were 2 deer that got a bit startled at our appearance. They kinda jumped to their feet, which loudly rustled the leaves. This, of course, startled Elvis who did a jerky bolt to the side. His movement startled the deer even more, which made them suddenly dash a few feet farther away. Their startled movements startled Elvis even more and so he kinda bolted again abruptly to the other side. This movement made him fall into a slight hole/ditch, which just completely freaked him. It was absolutely hilarious. It looked like he and the deer were doing some kind of awkward, jerky dance. Meanwhile, the deer and Elvis's sudden movements and obvious discomfort made Frosty shy a bit and he did a minature version of the awkward horse dance. It all happened rather quickly and I wasn't expecting it. I am proud to say that I handled it splendidly and all was right as rain (why is rain right?) in just a couple seconds. It was super cool knowing that it could have been a rather embarrassing disaster (if I had fallen off or scared the horses more in some way) but it wasn't. Where were Jason and Charlie Brown? Nowhere to be found. So we took the opportunity to take a short break and wait for our laggy companions who had missed all of the excitement. All in all, it was an exciting interruption.

I was so sad when the hour ride was over. I think it just may be my new favorite thing to do. Seriously. One of the best things about finally riding a horse today is that it turned out to be everything I have ever imagined it might be. When you look forward to something for years and years, there's a chance that you just might build it up in your imagination as something far more than it actually is. It's so disappointing when the event finally, finally happens and it is just not what you expected. It would have been crushing if horseback riding had fallen into that category. I'm oh so very glad that that is not the case. Riding Frosty was everything and more. Still.So.Excited.

I would absolutely love to own a horse one day. I realize that something like that could only be possible in the distant, distant future, and I'm okay with that. And sure, it may just be one of those far-off, never-to-come-true-but-you-never-stop-wishing kind of dreams, but I like to think that it just MIGHT come true. One day. And just the thought of it makes my insides smile. What's really neat is that Jason is onboard with the 7-children-5-cats-2-horses-and-a-dog idea. I have the best husband ever.

Anyway, this is way too long as it is so Jason will write about the rest of today in the next blog. It's been an awesome day. Hooray for vacations and birthdays and horses and Jasons!

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