A resurgence in Covid-19 cases has convinced our governor to mandate face masks in public places. We will find out all of the details over the next few days. Many people are feeling stress over the prolonged restrictions. I don’t have to go into detail about the peripheral fallout and negative effects of the virus on our society and economy. There are tragic aspects and yet I must believe that we are also learning so many things that will prove beneficial. Medical practices are honing telehealth procedures–something we have been saying we needed to do for years. And academia is finally being convinced of the value of distance education, creating lesson plans, curricula and programs to keep students on track, and to keep their schools viable.
I wonder if we will ever go back to what was normal just a few months ago. Will my five-year-old granddaughter sporting a colorful mask in a photo text ever know what life was like before…kids playing happily in the neighborhood, in and out of houses freely, visiting museums or going out to movies without masks? Well, a day at a time, I tell myself. They will grow up with their normal, as each of us did.
In the meantime, I think happy thoughts and relive memories of my own childhood. I wouldn’t say that it was without challenge or suffering, but all-in-all, I know that I was fortunate.
As a little girl I dreamed of horses. I was not quite as horse-crazy as Velvet Brown in National Velvet–but I was close. I had magazine clippings of Secretariat and Northern Dancer and all of the greats taped to the carnation pink walls of my bedroom. My Malibu Barbies rode “Dancer,” their brown plastic horse. Truly, my dreams were so vivid, climbing often onto the back of a silver horse and picking up speed to a gallop. I awoke one morning after dreaming that my Dad had told me in the middle of the night that he won a pony at the church raffle. It couldn’t be true, could it? I walked into the kitchen that morning and Dad was up, smiling–it certainly was true! We drove later in the afternoon to see the pony with my friend Amy and her Mom, who would board the pony for me. I would work on her farm in order to pay for that board.
Alas, the poor creature was very ill. Amy’s Mom, an assertive horsewoman convinced the owner to make good for this little twelve-year-old redhead. He substituted a finer, healthy pony, a two-year-old Welsh-Thoroughbred filly. I thought she was beautiful. She was a shiny Blue Roan which is essentially a black horse peppered with lots of silver-white hairs. She had a bright white star in the center of her forehead. I named her Seamist at first then changed it to Mystic Trinity, as I’d recently received the Children’s Living Bible and was learning about God. I called her Misty for short, and over the next year with Amy’s help I trained her, eventually showing, eventing and Pony-Clubbing.
I have wonderful memories of trekking to Pony Club, of playing chase in the field with friends on horseback, of jumping practice and trail rides, and most of all of the love that only a sweet pony can give.
When I outgrew Misty in high school I sold her to another little girl who showed her successfully. Years later, after many ribbons she was retired, and Misty aged into a silver-grey mare, her star no longer visible in her overall brightness.
I look back over decades of owning and riding horses since then, and though I cannot ride anymore because of my degenerative back condition, I am so thankful for the many memories that bring a smile to my face. I don’t have to dream about horses like a little girl, as I remember with clarity each one.
Amidst the strife of the present day, a verse I learned long ago in that little chunky Bible rings true:
…Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Keep putting into practice all you learned…and the God of peace will be with you.Phillipians 4: 8,9
Caroline Leaf in Switch On Your Brain discusses the research and scientific support of the healing effects on brain neurochemistry when we think positively. Social media is rife with arguments and name-calling depending on one’s view of how the Covid-19 crisis and other social problems are handled. I have my own informed opinions, and will be socially active as well as I can. In order to avoid feeling down, I will take short breaks and close my eyes. I’ll think positive thoughts. I’ll see Misty once again, and climb onto her back for a ride through the sunny green countryside.