Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it. – Buddha
On Christmas Eve, my sister gave my 7-year-old daughter Bianca a certificate for a trail ride. Our daughter would have a special date with her aunt, riding through the New Zealand countryside, with the smell of salt air whipping through their hair. It is a bit of an understatement to say that our daughter’s excited anticipation grew every day. Last Sunday they headed out to the ranch under blue skies and gentle breezes. Hours later the story unfolded …
After carefully selecting their horses, the guide, our daughter, and her aunt were riding toward the trailhead on a paved street when a biker on a Harley Davidson gunned his engine after stopping at an intersection. Bianca’s gentle trail horse took off like a rocket on the pavement. With her feet barely reaching the stirrups, she leaned in and grabbed on to the mane knowing she was gaining speed. As the guide and her aunt tried desperately to reach her, she lifted one leg over to the other and in one committed, yet graceful motion landed on her feet in the middle of the road.
Once the guide was able to cut off the cantering horse, and everyone caught their breath, our 7-year-old declared that it was time to get back on the horse.
Later, as my sister and I went over all the “what if’s” and “who is to blame,” Bianca looked completely composed. When I asked her if she questioned whether she should get back in the saddle after such an ordeal, she said, without hesitation, “I felt readier than ever. I dream of riding every day. I feel bad my horse was spooked. I understand him better now.”
I stood and listened to her speak with ease and passion. She may have been scared but her desire to ride outweighed her fear and she was able to feel compassion under pressure. She was clear that this experience made her even more passionate because she had achieved a new level of understanding of horses. Her actions displayed wisdom and commitment far beyond my years.
Her experience inspired our decision to pack up and head to the South Island to explore new landscapes. Our days of late have been very comforting and reminiscent of our life before this journey. We spend time at the library, and the aquatic center. We celebrate important milestones with family and do homework. Although it would be very easy for us to settle in and stay put for a while, our dream is to continue to travel and push ourselves outside of what is comfortable. It is time to “get back in the saddle.” Even though it feels a bit scary to venture into the unknown again, it also ignites in us a sense of momentum and energy that we know means it is the right decision.
It is such a privilege to learn from children as they discover new worlds of possibility and give themselves fully over to their dreams, inspiring a few adults along the way.