Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reflecting on the week of 9/11

Ten years ago today was September 15, 2001. It was the day I picked up my mare, Candy, at the Parelli Ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. It was also four days after the 9/11 attacks on our country. Diana and I had planned the trip for months, but suddenly the world had been turned upside down. Like everyone else, we struggled to process what had happened and what it meant for the future.

At first it was unthinkable to tend to everyday matters, but as the days crawled by, people not directly affected by the attacks began trying to put a little normalcy back into their lives. For us, that meant going to get two new horses.

Signs of patriotism were everywhere, especially along old highway 666 in western New Mexico, where American flags flew proudly and Navajo women gave away swatches of red ribbon from their roadside jewelry stands. At the Parelli Ranch, the mood was somber, but it was good to be with our friends and fellow horse lovers. The next day, with new horses in tow, Diana and I headed for our home in Phoenix. Dark skies and pounding rain gave the drive a surreal quality and made conversation nearly impossible. Neither of us felt much like talking, anyway.

It has taken ten years for me to feel fully connected to Candy. I suppose I could have pressed the issue but somehow that didn’t feel right. The depth of the relationship we have now was worth the wait. I enjoy this beautiful, sweet horse every day, and never far from my mind is the memory of our first week together. It’s a bittersweet memory for me, but I want to keep it alive. It’s important to remember how that week felt.


babydoe said...

Wow Rick. Thank you for that meaningful story of how you lived through those days following 9/11. I love that you put your relationship with Candy so high in priority through your horsemanship journey.

My family and I were living in Saudi Arabia when the planes hit NY...watching on TV...very unnerving for us but the ironic thing is that while living there is where I started my "love of the horse" journey. I now have 2 retired geldings (my teachers) and have recently brought home a mare I hope will be my life long riding partner. Her name is Raya (Hebrew for "friend") and I'm hoping to develop a close relationship with her like the one that you have now with Candy. Thank you again for sharing. Fawn from TX

Bev in AR said...

Very touching. Hard to believe that it has been 10 years. We will all never forget where we were on that day watching live TV when the second plane hit. I competitive trail ride and in the years after 9/11, if we are at a ride on that date, ride management leads the riders and volunteers in a moment of silence and prayer for all those who perished and for their families. Bev in AR.

Sally said...

I know the feeling Rick. I was adopting a new horse carriage business in Boston that very week. I was unsure if I wanted to buy this business, in the very city, where the terrorist had taken off from. I said to myself, "This is America. If I allow the terrorist to take over my dreams, I will never know if I would ever make a difference in the industry." That is why I decided to continue on and not be afraid.