When I was a little girl, every birthday morning I woke up hoping to find a mysterious string on the floor beside my bed. I imagined picking up the end of the string and following it out of my bedroom, down the stairs, through the yard, and into the garage, where I’d find a pony waiting for me. A pony, just for me.
For years I sustained that fantasy, drawn from the plot of one of my horse books. It was fiction, of course, but—against all odds—I believed the string-leading-to-pony thing could happen to me.
Three weeks ago, on 11/11/11—an auspicious date if ever there was one—I got my pony. Except he’s not a pony—he’s a 15-hand, 16-year-old white horse with a silvery gray mane and tail.
For those of you who’ve been reading this blog over the long haul, you’ve probably guessed: I am now the proud caretaker of Mystic. “Owner” is another word for it, but that sounds a bit chattel-like for my tastes.
I feel like the luckiest person on the planet.
My relationship with Mystic feels much the same, yet subtly different. I get to call him “my” horse now. I no longer have to worry that someone else will lease or buy him. I’m responsible for his care and well-being, in sickness and in health. Our relationship is as official as it can be, short of a justice of the peace.
After surviving a long, not particularly happy 16-year-marriage, I swore I’d never re-up for a lifetime commitment. And yet here I am, committing—committed!—without qualms.
Maybe it’s because this feels like an equal relationship, one of give-and-take and trust. Maybe it’s because I get back from Mystic far more than I give.
In a way, my new caretaker status hasn’t sunk in yet. I dreamed as a child of having a white horse of my own. I put that dream away for years, forgetting it even existed. Now I feed my dream carrots and curry comb the dust out of his fuzzy coat.
The fact that my dream came true so unexpectedly reminds me of a favorite quote from Gloria Steinem: “If what’s inside your dreams wasn’t already real inside you, you couldn’t even dream it.”
In other words, our dreams aren’t a cruel joke. They’re inside us because they’re meant to come true.
So keep dreaming, and I will too.