On friday night, dinner is a hurried affair. Something quick and easy that doesn't require a lot of clean up. The kids and I eat early and then I hand out assignments: make sure to change the baby before you put on his pj's; please clear a footpath across the floor in your room; please please please put away the food that will rot before I get home. With the necessities under control, the seven year-old and I head for the car.
Over the past few weeks we have discovered a route to her riding lesson that is almost exclusively rural -- fields and horses and broad views of the hills. We turn off the radio and roll down the windows and talk about farms and animals and the horse we want one day. I'm partial to grey arabians; she is dying for a black Rocky Mountain. [Speaking of dying for a horse, she brought me a Shel Silverstein book the other night, plopped it open to 'Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony' and announced, "You really need to read this mom, to see what can happen to a girl when she doesn't get her pony."] Before the car is even in park, she throws the door open and sprints for the stalls. I gather up my knitting or a book, and go looking for a spot with a little shade and a good view of the paddock.
This week, as fall officially kicked in, there was a new edge to the air, a new hue in the sky. Fresh -- can I call that a color? I brought a jacket from the car but could not bring myself to put it on. She rode bareback for the first time, and could hardly stop hugging the horse.
For a full hour she did this:
While I did this:
And all while the sky was doing this:
and even this:
Sometimes I think the whole combination is a show put on entirely to soothe my sanity, to ease up the tension from much of the week. But even if the audience extends beyond one, if part of the display is for the benefit of everyone managing a glance out the window, I'll still happily buy my ticket. Friday's drive and lesson fee and hurried day are a price more than worth paying for the pleasure of watching the sky dance and evolve, while this girl of mine strokes her dream.