March 23, 2006

Dangerous beauty

Last year I wrote about a 'near death' experience of skidding off the road on black ice and rolling a van three times. I wish I could say that this was the only near death experience I've had.

When I was 12 or 13, I was sent (begged to go) to summer camp on a western style ranch. Horses, a calf to feed, etc... Part of the daily routine was a horseback ride across the plains. The countryside in what is left of the west is truly stunning. It's not hard to imagine true herds of buffalo and nomadic tribes following the herds to meet their physical needs. On one ride, I had the unique experience of seeing a Bald Eagle majestic on it's perch.

One day as we were prepping to go ride, I had once again selected a horse named BJ. A large white and grey dappled beast. Elegant and proud. The perfect mount for a pre-teen in the throes of fantasy life about being a cowboy (or the Lone Ranger perhaps) on the wild plains. BJ was a tad larger than most of the horses on the ranch and as I selected his bridle rope that day, I picked a larger than normal rope. An act (gut instinct?) that ultimately, probably saved my life.

I tied BJ in the outdoor stall that we were assigned and went about gathering the saddle and other tack that we would need for the ride. Suddenly, a wrenching scream filled the air. Shocking most of us to stillness. I looked up to see BJ rearing up in his stall. Frantic sounds coming from wide spread lips. Fearsome horrible squeals. Thinking I could calm the wild eyed horse, I ran into the stall next to him and looked up to see a huge horse on it's hind legs pawing the air with his hooves.

I can see the steel horse shoes even now. Dull gray, clumped with bits of brown dirt and mud. Mere feet from my head. Scything through the air. Striking an unseen foe again and again. I don't remember how the situation resolved, but I do remember the ranch hand later telling me that he doubted BJ had ever been held by a rope before. "If you hadn't picked that thick rope son...," he said. His voice trailing off into a introspective silence. He left unsaid that if I ever did anything stupid like that again, that I probably deserved to die.

How I managed to not have my skull bashed in, I'll never know. That was the first of several near life ending moments for me. Would the world be any different if the steel shoe on that horses hoof had connected with my skull?


At 11:22 AM, Blogger Still Searching... said...

Ripples in a pond, yup, things would be different.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Binsk said...

Yep I wouldn't be reading such a great story right now. And in turn feeling lucky to be alive too, and then thinking that I should go and be positive towards others who will I'm sure be positive to others and so on.

Ripples in a pod sums it up perfectly. :)

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Binsk said...

pond not pod. GAWD.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger 30Something said...

You are very lucky. I was knocked in the head by my horses teeth and it blinded me for about 30 minutes. That was a simple hit... If that hoof had gotcha.... we would surly be missing out on some inlighting wonderful rippes.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger celtgirl said...

I'm with the others - you never know exactly where those ripples will lead. You may be the inspiration for something great and not even know it.

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Sexy Suburbanite said...

Wow, life is so amazing sometimes. I am always so worried that someone I love is going to die in a freak accident like that. Are you afraid of horses now?

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Lil Bit said...

Damn straight the world would be dif!

... is this your way of saying you're back now from a near-death experience?
Welcome back, MM. We've missed you.

And you saw a bald eagle on one of those rides! Soooooooo cool!!


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