My father was an avid equestrian and disciplinarian. His four daughters dreaded riding with him because he sternly and constantly corrected our form or technique. When I was 15 and more interested in Seventeen magazine and fashion than going on horseback with my dad, that's where I found myself one early summer day. I wish I could remember why we went riding together; I certainly wouldn't have gone willingly.
As we guided our horses up the narrow trail through the aspen groves and Indian paintbrush of the national forest--dad in his cowboy hat in front and I, bare-headed in back--a light, warm rain began. I do recall the easy quiet between us with only the sound of soft rain, squeak of saddles bearing our weight, and a horse's hoof striking an exposed root or rock. Just as vividly I can still smell the ozone, the woods, and the scent of wet horse and leather.
only the trail before us
silence between us