[Kingdoms and Horses]
Back on that wonderful farm, I was fortunate to learn quite a lot about horses: how to tack them up, and all the names of the various pieces of tack. Eager to learn, I was witness to the process of caring for and shoeing a horse’s hooves. Horses, much like cars, also require maintenance, so a good wash and a brush down was taught to me as well. I was instructed how to ride; I was taught the proper way to hold the reins; and I was shown how to feed Perry without having my fingers removed from my hand. On occasion Maryann even took me to school on horseback. From then on, I was hooked on horses; I even dreamed of owning one of my own some day.
When we did move from that old house, I started to save my money for that dream. As my penny collection reached one hundred pennies I was certain I was getting close to that dream becoming a reality! I even had a favorite breed of horse picked out. I tried to remember what it was, but all I could remember for certain was that it had an unusually beautiful coat, like no horse I’d ever seen. Upon Google searching the names of horse breeds (Believe me there are a lot of them!) nothing jogged my memory, so I looked up unique horse breeds instead. It was the ‘Akhal-Teke’ that finally ignited my memory of that glistening horses’ unusual coat. This has to be the one. The ‘Akhal-Teke’ has that metallic like sheen that first caught my eye. I was unaware of this back then, but in China they’re referred to as ‘horses from heaven’. My dream though–much like the name of my favorite breed of horse–would become a forgotten thing of the past. In fact, one unsuspecting day it came to a very swift halt.
Following our farm days, we moved into a townhouse. My dad noticed just how much I was missing the horses, so he made plans to take me horseback riding. When the day finally arrived, however, the weather conditions weren’t great. It was grey and cool, and maybe it was raining some too, so he tried to convince me to reschedule for another day, but of course my heart was set; I’d been looking forward to what had been promised me. (You know how kids can be.)
Not wanting to wait for a better day, we stuck to the plan, hopped in the car, and headed out and onwards. Despite the grey day, our equestrian experience would be had! When we arrived, we mounted our horses and proceeded to follow our guide, making our way down one side of the property to the tree line at the far end. Reaching the tree line, we then turned to follow that course. As we were making our way down the path–parallel to where we’d begun– part way across, my horse started to act up. It then decidedly veered off the path, crossing the property in an attempt to head back towards the barn where it had once been safely sheltered.
To my horror, it then decided that a leisurely pace just wasn’t good enough for it! As it began galloping towards its destination with me hanging on for dear life, I begged my horse to stop! The guide chasing after us on horseback instructed me to pull back on the reins. I tried with one hand, but there was no way that I was going to let go of the saddle that I was grasping with my other hand. This was no Frosty! This was a true horse-sized horse. My meager attempts to pull back on the reins with one hand failed, as did my pleas for my horse to stop. That homeward bound horse had its mind set on it’s desired destination, with no intention of backing down. To this day, I’ve tried to recall its name. I do remember it was a name from the M.A.S.H television series. Was it Radar? Klinger? Hawkeye? Hawkeye sounds like it may be right.
If It wasn’t for the lessons taught me, I may not have known to hold so tightly to the saddle with my legs, which my parents later pointed out–surprisingly–kept me from falling off. Almost needless to say, when my horse finally did reach its destination and came to that halt, as traumatized as I was, when I was offered a different horse, there was no way I was boarding another one! The proverbial “get back on the horse” fell flat that day in a literal way. That was the last time I’d ride, and what a ride it was! Apparently, it wasn’t the horse that was spooked, it was me! My ride just didn’t want to ride; a cozy warm barn was on its agenda that day. I can’t say that I blame that beautiful beast one bit; I’m not the biggest fan of being out in the cold damp weather myself.
All of that being said, there’s still life in me yet, and this journey is yet young. Perhaps, one of these days, I’ll stop horsing around and just give horseback riding another chance. Eventually, you do have to get back on the horse–don’t you?
What is it about those farm days and that old house? I wondered if it still stood there on our old beloved road, so I brought up Google maps on my laptop and took a virtual drive. So much has changed down that street, not to mention the city as a whole; once mostly rural land, it’s become an over crowded vista of modern homes and businesses. However, that beautiful old house is still there, standing out like a sore thumb, but a glorious one at that.
For the most part, it’s unchanged, and as I remember it, like a time capsule full of it’s treasures—and those trees! Those lovely trees have grown ever so tall. Perhaps, they’ve always shot up so high into the heavens. I wonder what you can see from up that high, now!
This particular time frame of my childhood was a little piece of heaven here on Earth, or perhaps it was more like the garden of Eden. Though rustic and muddy, these are picture perfect memories to me—a time before the world came crashing in, and life’s cascading events made their defining marks on me. Back before we entered the education system, life’s lessons consisted of discovering the fascinating world around us. We lived out fairy tales, and enjoyed the love and togetherness of family. Those farm day lessons seemed much gentler. We ran carefree over the rugged clay ground with a pop can in one hand, singing Coca-Cola (or was it Pepsi?) jingles, which just goes to show you the influence that something as simple as a television advertisement can have. However, days back then were a very literal Coca-Cola ad campaign played out in reality. I imagine one day when I meet my Maker face-to-face, it will be exceedingly more joyous than even these wonderful memories.
I think my horse dream should ride once again! If I don’t own my own beauty in this life here and now, I’m sure I’ll ride my own shimmery heavenly equine in the Kingdom of God. It’s a pleasing thought that I should even ride with my Jesus at my side, gloriously seated upon his own white mount. Being that so much changes over the years, it was such a comfort to see that this house still stands very much unchanged, just like the God I know, Who Himself never changes.
Many years back–before I ever met Andrew–my parents and I stopped by the farm to see who was occupying our former abode. Maryann and her family had taken up those reins and she gave us a tour of the grand, modern, metal barn that they had built to board more horses. Though she lives there no more, a horse leasing and boarding club occupies that land now, and it’s caretakers live in the house. “Lords and Ladies” roam it’s grounds with their majestic beauties. Interestingly enough, they’ve partnered with a company that offers a course in mounted combat!
I’m glad that our old stomping ground has remained farmland; horses still prance upon it’s acre’s, and boots still tread it’s ground. Money just can’t buy the stories that are hidden within that homes four walls. Tales of adventures are whispered through it’s trees, and memories are carried away on muddy boots and horses hooves. There’s just something very special about that house, that lovely plot of land, and the years our family was fortunate to live down that street. These memories that I made with my brothers will always be treasures to me.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. The rider on the horse is called Faithful and True, and He is right when He judges and makes war. His eyes are like burning fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him, which no one but Himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. Out of the rider’s mouth comes a sharp sword that He will use to defeat the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will crush out the wine in the winepress of the terrible anger of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His upper leg was written this name: KING OF KING, AND LORD OF LORDS. –Revelation 19:11-16
“Truly I tell you,” He [Jesus] said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. –Matthew 18:3
The following pictures were taken on a walk with our dad in the outdoor spaces surrounding our old stomping ground.
Two Lumps on a Log