Sunday, May 10, 2009

Groovin' in New Mexico

I've been working for months on a long, RIP piece for Courtney Love/Martha Stewart. But that's on my hard drive in D.C., and I'm in Corrales, N.M., and I feel the bug to write. Yesterday was a big, big day for me. David & I spent the morning horseback riding at the Tamaya Indian Reservation.

When I was a kid, I rode every Saturday morning, and even showed some horses. Then, I had to start preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, which meant going to synagogue instead of to the farm on weekends. Boo! (As an aside, when I told my mom the whole story of what I'm about to tell you, she said, "I should've let you keep riding instead.") Unfortunately, by the time I regained my interest in horses, that wasn't the only thing I had gained. My weight crept up and up, and I felt guilty for putting 200+ pounds on a horse. I knew theoretically they could carry a grown man with armor, but I wasn't in battle, and didn't feel like some poor horse had to suffer because I was eating two gallons of ice cream a week. When my weight got low enough to assuage my guilt, then my Lyme's Disease pain came, and I couldn't do anything physical, let alone ride a horse.

David and I had a beautiful 1.5 hour ride on the Indian reservation. We saw all kinds of flora and fauna, and rode by the Rio Grande and some other not-so-grande river. The weather was perfect. Best of all, I felt awesome on Reba, like I hadn't missed a beat in the 22 years since I'd been on a horse. I was able to mount and dismount without any of the tourist step amenities, and I held my cool when Reba spooked in response to David's horse spooking (he deserves a shout-out here; he had never ridden and he handled George's spook like a pro). I have to admit at that moment, I questioned my decision to decline a riding helmet. I thought to myself, "All you've been through, and all it takes is Reba tripping and you can fly from her and get a traumatic brain injury. Just what you need!" I'd be lying if I said I didn't then offer a sincere prayer to God to get me through this ride safely, in spite of my stupidity. You have to love the frontier spirit out here; I can't see a place in Maryland making riding helmets optional.

It's time to leave the serene ranch, and David has a conference call. He asked if he could take the call from the ranch and then drive back to his parents house. I was hungry and said I'd try to drive, and would pull over if the pain got too intense. Keep in mind that until a month ago, I hadn't driven at all in two years because of the pain and weakness in my upper body. A few weekends ago I drove two miles, followed by three the next weekend. Any more than that would've been too much. I looked at the odometer before we left Tamaya; when we turned on to Eileen & Bruce's street, I saw that I had driven 12 miles without pain, numbness or tingling. I was overcome with gratitude and emotion; we weren't sure I'd ever be able to drive more than a couple of miles. I started choking back sobs, with my confused husband trying to comfort me and participate in his business call. I waved him away, assuring him, through a tear-covered face, that I was indeed, really ok.

My arms hurt, and before I go, I want to just relate that we had a very relaxing Shabbat. Eileen's best friend, Terry, whom I adore, came over with her mom and sister. After sunset, David and I laid on the lawn and soaked in the beautiful stars. Oh, stars! When we got up from the lawn, we saw a very dramatic full moon coming up over the Sandia mountains. I tried to photograph it, but the shot looks ridiculous -- a black background with a white spot in the middle. Some things can't be photographed, at least not by the likes of me, the Anti-Photo person (think Anti-Christ ... Anti-Photo ... that didn't work either.) Good night!