I dreamed of horses last night.

I used to dream about riding, or rather, almost riding: in my dreams I would brush, saddle and bridle the horse, but would never actually mount up, never experience actually riding in my dream, and would wake up frustrated and sad. I used to ride and owned horses as a girl, it was one of my great joys, besides reading, and after I sold my last horse, it broke my heart that I couldn’t even experience that keen pleasure in my dreams. I know there is some psychological “thing” in there, and maybe I could do some interpretation of it on my own, but I don’t feel like it.  It is what it is. But it makes me sad.

Luckily, until last night, it had been awhile since I had had horse dreams.  In last night’s dream I was trying to escape from someone that was chasing me, a woman, who wanted to harm me and another person that was with me, a young girl. I lost the girl along the way and ended up in a barn.   I love the smell of a barn. The hay and manure and horseflesh. The warmth and the sounds of horses breathing, snorting, stamping. I miss it. I grabbed a bridle for a horse that looked promising, but it didn’t fit. Another horse was too small and I didn’t think would run fast enough to get away. Finally I looked at the stall of a horse I had deliberately passed over at first, because he looked like “too much” for me, too much spirit, when I haven’t ridden in a while. But he was perfect, a deep bay with an amazingly kind eye and a soft mouth, eager to go but not too much to handle.  Finally, I thought (even in my dream), to ride again. The dream ended before I ever got on his back.

I woke with an undefined sadness, not recalling my dream til this moment.

I used to dream about my father in a similar way. My biological father passed away when I was 15. I have been blessed to have had my stepfather in my life since I was about 4, and he has been my dad as well–in fact I never even thought of him as my stepfather, just “my dad” along with my “real” dad, who was also very prominent in my life. It confuses the hell out of people at times, when I mention that my dad died when I was young, and then another day say I am going to meet my dad for lunch.

Anyway. For a very long time after my dad died, he used to visit me in my dreams. He’d come sit by me, and we’d talk. Sometimes I would be thrilled that he was alive again, or believe that there’d been a mistake in thinking he had died. I’d be so happy.  And then I would wake up, and have to realize he was gone all over again. It was bittersweet, to have him again for those moments, only to lose him all over again.

I haven’t dreamed about him in a long time now, maybe over a year. Just as I haven’t dreamed about riding. It’s wonderful to be around horses again, if only in my dreams, but so very sorrowing to never be able to ride in them, to wake and know that even there, even in my dreams, I can’t experience that particular joy.  I don’t know if I’d rather just not dream about horses, or my dad, at all.  Is it worth the joy of seeing him again for those few moments, only to relive losing him all over? Is it worth the disappointment in being so close, and yet never to feel the thrill of riding again? I don’t know.

Ad and I are heading down to Hot Springs, Arkansas for four days of just he-and-I, staying in a cabin in the Ouachita Mountains.  It has a wood burning fireplace, a kitchen, a hot tub and no internet. Also, horses, as it is on a horse ranch.  I hope to get in some hiking, a little bit of mineral bathing in the natural hot springs, a lot of one-on-one time with Ad, a good bit of reading and writing, and some communing with nature.

And maybe a horseback ride.


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