Woo

So, a good, kind soul offered to drive me up to the Bronx and let me use her car for my road test on June 16. It shouldn’t be bad.

I’m sitting on five friend requests on facebook. It’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t know them very well. But then one could argue about a few others in my friends’ list I hardly know. I just need a little time is all.

Singles harbor cruise tonight. I’ve been twice before. It was fun the first time, not as fun the second time. This time? We’ll see.

I have better stuff to write, but just not now …

Deep breaths.

 It’s going beyond the scheduled time. I’m about to have a serious conniption. I can’t imagine what the parents are going through right now. Man.

It’s down to two.

Help.

Down to one.

And he won.

On guerdon.

“Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall”

The Brooklyn Bridge stop on the 6 train is the last stop, heading south in Manhattan. If you don’t get off, the train keeps going. Going, into a tunnel. Going, to see the old City Hall entrance. Going, looking into the dark to see that old, beautifully tiled, still intact arch of an old piece of New York City history. Going, circling back around to the other side of the platform. Going, being bummed out that the ride was too short and the lighting wasn’t bright enough. Going, reeling, not being able to sleep at night, because City Hall’s ghosts are haunting you. Going, being grateful your first date of the month of birthday dates went well. Going, going well so far.

IMG_2270 IMG_2269

Sometimes I forget how short I am until I look at photos like this one. Look how nice Collin is, bending over to look not as tall. He was a fun date. He’s a good conversationalist, and we covered a variety of topics. We ended the date walking back to my apartment, eating shakes from The Shake Shack. I highly recommend shakes from the place. Seriously. Anyway, I’d never really spoken much to Collin before last night. I’d see him from time to time at parties, and I was impressed that he was the first person to sign up on the first day of this birthday date month, AND he emailed my roommate to ask what kind of desserts I like. He was a complete gentleman and an all-around good guy.

Tomorrow, I’ll be going out with Nathan. He’s cool. I’ve known him for a while. It’s weird and kind of sad that a third party (my wonderful roommate, Becky) had to organize a calendar and send out a mass email to a bunch of guys in the name of my birthday to get some guys to go out with me. Well, at least it takes the pressure off them and they know I’m not looking for any sort of commitment. Because I’m fun. And smart. And pretty cute. And a pretty good catch. But that’s Commitment May talking. Don’t listen to her this month, only Fun, Non-Committal May. So, I’m having fun. I’m ready to have fun, so you guys out there, GET OFF YOUR DUFFS, GET EXCITED, AND ASK ME OUT. Easy enough, right?

The Story of Benny

They had driven a half-hour outside of the City of Charlotte. The sun shone; the sky was perfect. They pulled into the ranch with gravel driveways and whitewashed fences. Michelle, Becky and May arrived early. They paid for their trailrides and wandered around the grounds a bit. They moseyed their way toward Barn D, where they would be picking up the horses. Becky and Michelle had previous riding experience, and May didn’t have any. She was very excited as she pet different horses in their stables. 

The trail guide had a few helpers bring out the horses and some stools. Michelle’s horse was Dumpling (Dumplin’), Becky’s horse was Daisy, and May’s horse was Benny, pronounced “binny,” almost leaning toward “beany.” May didn’t have any trouble mounting the horse, but the stirrups were too long, so she had nowhere to hold her feet. 

Jeff the Trail Guide gave each of the riders a quick lesson on controlling the reins. Pull with the hand the direction you want to turn toward the same-side hip. Pull with both hands toward the hips if you want to slow down or stop. 

May’s legs hung to the sides of the horse, but she felt comfortable enough. Benny was plenty girthy and May felt pretty centered on her horse. She was raring to go, but she didn’t want the horse to be all that raring.

Well, it turned out that Benny wasn’t raring at all. Jeff, Michelle and Becky took off, and Benny didn’t go anywhere. One of the helpers had to lead Benny toward the trail while the others waited. This helper told May to give the reins a little slack. Benny took a few steps onto the trail and found a nice patch of grass to graze. He lowered his head, and May tried pulling it back up, but Benny would have none of that. May tugged at the reins, and Jeff rode back to tell her to choke up on the reins a bit for more control of the horse.

Jeff dismounted and led both horses awhile, until May caught up to her friends. Jeff went back to the front of the line, and Benny followed for a few steps, and May thought things were going well until Benny pulled off for some more delicious grass. She tried pulling his head up again, one side at a time, then in frustration she pulled up with both hands and Benny backed up into some brush, where the grass was greener and more delectable. From that point with every single tug, Benny backed into the grass just a little bit more for a tasty mouthful of juicy grass.

May called for Jeff. Yelled, actually. She was sweating and flustered, and she couldn’t believe that this horse was having his way with her. Even with Jeff’s prodding and May’s kicking (which seemed only to tickle the horse because his torso twitched slightly) Benny wouldn’t budge. Jeff called for backup. A man with a cowboy hat rode up after the expanding eternity of five minutes waiting. May was a little embarrassed, but she wasn’t going to get off that horse. 

After a few minutes, Cowboy Hat and his horse, Bull, were able to coax Benny from behind, and Benny was relatively cooperative through the end of the ride. Cowboy Hat rightly guessed this was May’s first time on a horse, but he complimented how relaxed she looked. May discovered that Benny liked more slack in the reins instead of her choking up on them. There were times when Benny would try to dip his head down for a quick munch, but May quickly tugged his head back up to continue on the trail. There were a few times when Benny would start on a quicker trot down a hill, and May would lean back a little and settle into the saddle and pull on the reins to slow down. Cowboy Hat was right behind her to reinforce these instructions and to tell her what a good job she was doing, and to say she’d turn into a cowgirl yet.

She was getting the hang of it. 

Without the benefit of stirrups. Just her low center of gravity and adductors keeping her on good ol’ Benny. 

Throughout the remainder of the trail, she told Benny he was doing a good job, and when he was too slow, she’d make those kissy sounds she heard Cowboy Hat make to encourage the horse to speed up. She’d say going up hills, Come on, Benny; you can do it, Benny; what a good boy, Benny. She caught a glimpse of Mountain Island Lake. She rode by other riders and even passed a carriage pulled off to the side of the trail. It was a beautiful ride.

The ride ended back at Barn D, where one of the ranch hands took the horse and placed the left stirrup on May’s foot so she could dismount. Everyone else got off their horses and other ranch hands led the horses to their stables. Jeff came back out and the girls thanked him for the ride. May, with a fun sarcasm, thanked Jeff for giving her a hard horse. He laughed. He talked about how the horses have personalities and will try to see what they can get away with. He said if they had brought out another horse instead of pushing Benny, Benny would have won and ten weeks of training would have gone to waste. May nodded in understanding. She said the horse was stubborn at first, but did just fine once he got going. 

Michelle told May she did a good job handling Benny. Jeff seconded that thought, and May, realizing how hard she worked, told them to get her a carrot. Jeff repeated the request, and laughed at the joke. Everyone thanked each other again, and the girls washed their hands, got into the car and headed back to the city.

May’s second-day sore rule didn’t apply here. Her hips immediately hurt after she dismounted, then later in the day and for the next two days her adductors pretty much cursed her existence. It was awesome.

May always thought horses were beautiful. Strong, graceful. Now she gets why people really love them. She now has a taste for the ride, and she craves it. She has experienced (as much as one can in an hour) a fusion with nature and animal and human – how they all can communicate. She learned a lot. Who’s in control. Mutual respect. She’s ultimately grateful she got the stubborn horse. That’s how she’s lived her life so far. Sometimes her own spirit or attitude is so intractable someone has to nudge or prod or smack her into motion and into seeing beyond the instant graze. Sometimes her pace isn’t so steady and she wants to charge and bound into an open field. Once she gets going on a path, once she’s found her stride, she’s agreeable and easy-going. That’s right, get her a carrot.

That horse is a kindred spirit.

That Benny.

Driven and Inspired

Why are clouds and sun the stuff that heaven is made of? And why am I lucky enough to catch moments like these? Click on the photo to view the Charlotte set. The road trip was a lot of fun. Becky and I were delirious by the very end. We took a detour through Shenandoah National Park, and we wound around the Blue Ridge Mountains and added two or so hours to the trip. It was worth it, though. So much green and so many overlooks out to eternity, vast and endless and awesome and phenomenal scenery. It brought me to tears.

I might do another list of 100 for this trip.

It was really good seeing Michelle again.

I went on a date last night. I’ve gotta write about that. It was a pretty good time.

Happy summer, everyone.

All Righty Then…

I’m on about 3 hours sleep right now. And, I have a date tonight. Should be interesting.
Spending the weekend away from the city was wonderful. I’ll upload pictures later. 
The National Spelling Bee is Thursday and Friday this week. Make sure you pick your favorites.

Oh, I’ve found an anthem for this point in my life. The lyrics pack quite a punch for me, and the chorus? Relevant to me right now.:

Coming Up
 
Have you seen the way trees grow around barbed wire?
or the way fog burns off into blue?
have you seen the day turn into a dozen windows?
it’s a great big world out there
Have you seen October rain falling on rivers
or the way leaves gather at the dam?
 
Chorus:
I’ve been among them too scared to cross over
now there’s nothing keeping me here
so if you hear some kind of singing in the underground
you’ll know who it is without going down
and after this mean coastal winter’s gone
i’ll be the first one you see coming up, coming up
 
Have you seen the eyes of the men on the Avenue?
they drink until they holler like children at the air
 
Chorus:
 
People press themselves into the trains
stare the hard stare of people without names
all these tired bodies riding home in the rain and the
dusk at the end of the day
 
Chorus: