I had to play all kinds of mind games with myself, but I made it to the therapy appointment. When I told my husband that I’d made an appointment, his very first response was to tell me that he might need the car for a meeting that day. I felt my heart start to skip, took a breath, stepped back on the inside, and told him that was fine, and I’d work something out. A few minutes later, I asked one of my sons if he’d be willing and able to take me to an appointment on that date (if I didn’t have a car available), and he immediately said he would.
My son (Son#3) did end up driving, and considering how much anxiety I was battling, it was a good thing. The really great thing about it was that he not only met the therapist and her horses, but told me later that he liked her so well that he thought he might try to see her for himself. On the way home, we stopped and bought fish tacos and coffee, and ate next to a little park in town. My son asked if he could drive me again next week, because he’d enjoyed it so much. Wow!
My first session with the equine therapist went well. As we drove in, I saw a petite woman out doing chores, with long auburn hair. She has a doctorate in psychology, and specializes in equine therapy. It’s her eyes that I remember most clearly, full of compassion and intelligence. I liked her, and I felt reasonably safe.
I met her horses, and was asked to choose one of them to groom. Naturally, I was having difficulty making even that choice. One of the horses was just relaxing and resting, and hadn’t bothered to come to the ‘meet and greet’, but as I stood there vacillating and feeling unable to choose, this horse got up, came over to the edge of the pen, and very pointedly stared at me. I walked up to her quietly, and she made it quite clear that she was choosing me that day.
No wonder that I’ve always loved horses. Horses are intuitive and empathic. A horse will know the truth of you, no matter what you say or outwardly present.
When I was young, I rode every chance I could get, which was never often enough. I felt so sure that it would be a part of my adult life, and yet I’ve only ridden a handful of times since marrying long ago. My husband was afraid of horses, which surprised me since he loves animals. Years ago, I convinced him to try a few riding lessons, in the hopes that he’d catch the passion for these amazing creatures. I think he did lose some of the fear, but still hasn’t seemed that interested.
I actually went to the appointment in my pajamas, or what passes for them. I decided to go just as I am, just as I live. If she noticed, she didn’t seem to mind.
We’ve already set our next appointment, and I’m actually looking forward to it with no feelings of dread that would normally accompany plans to go somewhere. I only mentioned anything about my husband in the last few minutes. I said, “I’ve been married a long time. I know that it isn’t in the DSM, but I believe that my husband is passive aggressive.”
Her head went back a bit, and she said, “Oh… that’s so hard.”
She gets it? It felt almost too good to be true. Yet I felt hope.
As we pulled up the driveway home, I saw my oldest son (my Marine Sgt.) manning the old rototiller in my flower patch. My throat choked with that feeling of tears rising. I hadn’t said one word to him about it, but he knew how much I wanted to plant flowers again.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.