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Work in Progress – March 9, 2023

Locations: Fiction, Opinion Published

Sheila Markowitz
Glenwood Springs
November 1980 

I first thought about selling him when July came and I hadn’t ridden Rambler even once the previous month. I felt uneasy. He was an important part of my life. It seemed the need to be with him had suddenly diminished. 

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It reminded me of the end of my marriage, four years before. Changes, adjustments, decisions – I always got through them and grew, but initially they always frightened me. 

The previous month, I almost sold him twice, but each time the person backed out at the last minute. “It’s just plain fate,” I thought, as I carefully combed his tangled mane and tail. 

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It was early one Saturday morning at the pasture where I boarded Rambler — at a farm a couple of miles up a mountain road. The sky was pure blue. Almost all of the golden leaves had fallen from the surrounding aspens. A cool autumn wind left me exhilarated and glad to be alone with my horse.

“This is the reason I bought you, Rambler, and I’m sure this is why I’m meant to keep you for a while longer,” I thought. “You’re the one I love to be alone with,” I said affectionately. 

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He nudged my back as I bent down to get a brush from the bucket of supplies. His coat was fuzzy and thick now, getting ready for winter. 

Many times, as I brushed him, my mind would wander, giving me time to contemplate thoughts I was usually too busy to think about. Sometimes I wouldn’t think of anything specific at all. I arranged my life so that my schedule was full with little time left to be by myself. But, my time spent with Rambler was the one thing I preferred to do alone. Now, as I continued to brush his coat and admire the shine I was achieving, I remembered the day I bought him three years before, and how important he’s been to my life since.

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After my divorce, the desire to own a horse had been my number one consideration for moving to this small Colorado town, from Chicago where I was raised. As a little girl I would dreamily stare out the kitchen window and imagine my horse running around in the empty lot next to the apartment building where I lived. When another building was erected on the lot next door, I gave up on that dream, but never totally gave up the idea that someday I would have a horse of my own. One that I could ride any time I wanted to.

I bought Rambler just a few months after my move here. My financial situation was a bit precarious. But, when I saw him running around the snowy pasture that cold March afternoon, I knew the money I needed would be found. 

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The next three years we would spend time together, usually three days a week. My time with him would calm me, no matter what disruptions were going on in the rest of my life. He would always be there, waiting to carry me into the mountains. The wind would make my hair fly, and the smile on my face would reflect the freedom and joy I felt.

 I felt unsettled when I realized I had ridden him so seldom the last few months. What was changing in my life? Had whatever I had moved here for been accomplished? Was I ready to move on? 

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Now, on this chilly fall morning, as I lifted myself onto the saddle, I knew I could contemplate this question without a feeling of panic. The right answer would come. The indecision I felt quickly passed away. As Rambler cantered off, I was thankful I had my horse and the freedom to make these decisions on my own.

Tags: #The Sopris Sun #Work in Progress
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