Friday, May 1, 2009

Turning for Home

About 100 years ago, for a little while, I used to be a semi-serious equestrian.  I owned a giant Irish Hunter and sailed over three-foot jumps with a couple feet to spare.  I wasn't inherently brave, he just made it easy.  And fun.  I'd wanted a horse since I was 6 years old and when I was 12, I got my wish.

Horses can teach you a lot.  They are big and quirky and can really hurt you on purpose or by accident.  They can decide they've had enough and try to scrape you off on a tree branch at full speed (that was fun) or rear up and fall back over on you (even better).  They can also be affectionate - like coming over to you while you're lying on the ground to see if you're OK after all.

They're individuals, with plenty of unique personality, but as a species they also share many traits.  One that any horse person will recognize is the uncanny ability - no matter how long or far a ride might take them - to know which way is home.  If you're trotting around an arena during a lesson, the gait slows away from the barn and quickens when you turn the corner and face it again.  And if you're out for a long trail ride and figure the sun's getting low enough it might be time to turn back, look out.  Once you swing that big head around, more often than not, all bets are off.  You and your steed will be fighting through the reins all the way home.  You're still enjoying the scenery, he's got alfalfa and oats on the brain.

I lived 36 years across 4 countries and 11 cities or towns before I landed on my island and knew I was home.  Mark can tell a parallel story.  We cherish the beauty of our rock, certainly, but there's much more that makes it a special place.  It's not for everybody - even seven years later our Seattle friends shake their heads - but it's really, truly home.

We live about 8 miles from town.  There are several routes that lead to our farm, and just about all of them include a right turn from the hiway at a 4-way stop.  And no matter how interesting or joyful my interactions with my island neighbors have been, I make that right off the hiway, face west, and turn for home.  I finally get it.  I roll the windows down and go a little faster than maybe I should.  Turning for home.

I try not to get preachy on this little electronic slice of life, but here is one piece of advice:

Figure out what you love, what fills you with joy.  Then find a place with those things and move there.

Turn for home.  The rest will turn out.


Shea's Mom said...

Great post. And, great advise!

Sarah Lulu said...

G'day from an Australian, I just saw your hubbie is one too.

But what actually caught my eye when I happened to stumble on your blog is Vashon Island ...I read as a young woman the books by Mary MacDonald and I still have them! Even my own daughter loved them.

Nice to meet you, Sarah Lulu