Thursday, January 14, 2010
Real Life Tales about Learning to Jump--Give Away
A few years ago, during a transition in my life, I returned to college to update my teaching credentials. My marriage was ending, and it appeared I would be going back into the work force. I hadn't been out of it too long, having most always at least worked part-time while playing tag team parenting with my husband. Part of being a teacher, however, is keeping up your credentials--taking classes the state mandates and earning credit beyond your degree. Stupid me, I'd let my certificate lapse.
So, back to school at the age of 33--feeling old (was I crazy??) and dowdy and out-of-place.
I only needed one class, a class on teaching Reading, but I figured since I'd be going anyway, I would also take classes for fun. Which reminds me of when I met with my college adviser in the 80's--eighteen years old and fresh out of high school. I thought when you went to college, no matter what degree you were pursuing, you could just go through the catalog and take whatever you wanted. I took my registration slip and wrote in Shakespeare, Dramatic Literature, Creative Writing: Poetry and Intro to Teaching. Ha ha. My adviser took his pen and crossed out all of the first three and left only the Intro class, adding other intros as well--Intro to Sociology, Principles of Elementary Math, etc. As I returned, a graduated adult, the same rules DID NOT apply. Whew--I filled in my wish-list.
So started my wonderful return to college. It wasn't long before the feeling of not belonging wore off. As an older, wiser student I was one of those who always does her homework and extra, knows all the answers, talks ad nauseum to the teachers--you know, one of those annoying ones. And, Of course, I loved my English classes and decided to keep going after getting the job of editor (a paid position) of our college newspaper.
I bring this up because, during my return to college, I had a wonderful Creative Writing teacher. A beautiful, strong horsewoman named Claire Davis. It appeared to me as a fearful, mother-of-three, divorce'--unsure of myself and what my place would be in the world, or if I could survive there, that she was the epitome of fearlessness, courage, intelligence, and creativity. She was a published writer, beloved teacher, and I was intimidated by her even as I studied everything about her.
Later, we'd become friends and we'd meet for rides along the Snake River at the edge of Hell's Canyon. She was an accomplished jumper by then and her horse, a young Connemara/Arab cross, dappled gray and athletic, was also at the top of his form.
It's hard to imagine that a woman like that had any fears of her own, then or before. How could she?
This is my introduction to a book I'm going to give away in a few weeks, Kiss Tomorrow Hello: Notes From the Midlife Underground by Twenty-Five Women Over Forty.
As we all discussed jumping the other day, I was reminded of her own real-life story, contained in this book, about learning to jump at fifty, falling off her horse during one of those jumps and breaking her hip, and in the journey back to wholeness, the process of moving forward despite falling and overcoming some of her other fears. (Yes, she had fears, too). The bonus is that the book contains many more wonderful stories, as well, by various women writers.
So, this is my winter give-away--as we pass time until our Spring trail rides--a copy of Kiss tomorrow Hello. I'll enter you once for every comment and draw a name on February 10th. I have two extra, so there will be two winners this time.
I should probably give you an update on the horses since I haven't mentioned them in a while. They're muddy. Very, very muddy. This year we've had little snow, but lots of rain, and it has made our turnout a swampy mess. I couldn't even get my wheelbarrow through it these last few days, so the barn is also a mess. Today, in fact, as soon as I post this blog entry, I'm heading out to the swamp to clean stalls and TRY, try, try to groom my horses.
It's warm, so they're feeling GOOD, despite the fact that they're mud-ugly. Do you think they care? Nah. No, they've been running around doing sliding stops and pirouettes and other Lipizzaner-stallion-type tricks.
Hope your barnyards are cleaner and drier than mine, and please take the time to say hello and tell us what's going on at your places, so I can put your name in for this book. You'll love it.