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Free spirit

March 8, 2009

I got to ride through the onset of a snowstorm this afternoon, galloping up hillsides and trotting along ridges and valleys in the cutting flakes.  My fingers were numb and my cheeks were burning from the cold, but I didn’t care – I was having the time of my life. 

On Friday afternoon, one of my students stopped by my office to wish me a good weekend before he headed home.  On his way out, he turned around and asked, “by the way, what do you do on the weekends?”  When I told him that I go on hikes, go horseback riding, and go dancing up in Billings – without a group of girlfriends or a date – he commented that I seem to be a free spirit.  “Yeah,” I responded, “you could say that.” 

And you could.  My spirit is free out here.  I am free out here.  Free to embrace life with a healthy mix of passion, sincerity, and humor that makes me feel happy deep down to the core.  And when I’m on horseback, the sense of freedom and release intensifies to the utmost degree.

But could I live on my own like this forever?  I pondered this question as I drove to Sheridan, WY, yesterday afternoon along a back road where some property is rumored to be up for sale.  Could I buy a piece of land, put up a house and a corral, and live with my dog and my horse on the edge of the reservation for the rest of my life, even if I never find someone to share it with?  I think I could.  Because for as “isolated” as people think I am out here, I do not feel isolated in the least; I feel deeply connected to this land and this community, as if I’ve been here for years. 

While it would be nice to have a pair of arms to come home to at night sometimes, it’s also nice to have my space; and if I have one, the other always seems attractive, but I also know that if I have the other, what I have now seems attractive.  A favorite John Butler Trio line of mine is “Oh why do I look to the other side, ’cause I know the grass is greener but just as hard to mow.”  And it is.  Relationships bring great comfort, but they also bring great pain, as has been proven to my mom and myself time and again.  Horses bring great comfort, but without the pain. 

Of course, I am just speculating now, wondering what the future might be like if I stay here, and if I don’t find that special someone.  I might find a knight in shining armor who will sweep me off my feet in this beautiful land and love me well while letting me maintain my independent, solitary side – but if it doesn’t happen, I think I’ll still be pretty damn happy anyway, and that brings me great peace of mind. 

But could I be happy on my own, without a man, in a place like, say, Philadelphia?  I don’t think so.  There is something special about where I am now that makes me pretty sure I’m going to stay put for a significant while, with or without a significant other.


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  1. It’s wonderful (and rare) to find a place that instantly feels like home. All the best for your new adventure 🙂

  2. @ofgaia – Thanks for the encouragement

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