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Trust in the Wind

By Denise May

Yesterday was the first day of Oklahoma spring. It introduced itself with the usual tornado warnings and mighty gusts of wind. No tornadoes directly threatened my little spot in the world, so I could enjoy many of nature's special affects from a safe distance.

This ranch is perfect for storm watching; a typical "big sky" ranch; its pastures have few trees over hundreds of acres gifting the observer with an uninterrupted glimpse of the heavens for miles and miles. I felt surrounded by every shade of gray - swirling, racing, descending closer and closer as if the entire mass would touch the ground and take me with it. The world had tired of being tame; its wild side ached to burst through.

I was not alone. Titan and Montana stood with me, manes and tails blowing while they faced the wind, searching the sky as if waiting for some moment that would tell them what to do next. And, the moment came. The wind gusts gradually grew stronger and stronger…so strong that I began to anxiously search the sky for a sign of "the finger of God". It was hard to stand my ground. Every step I took made me lose my balance, as if I was being pushed around like a toy in some pointless game with the wind, making me laugh out loud despite the fear…or perhaps because of it.

Suddenly, it was if the horses were given a signal from an unseen leader - an instant permission to become as wild as the wind and join in the game. Together than ran and ran, encircling me as if I was their trainer in an imaginary roundpen under the big top at the circus. The ringmaster ran out, "Now for your amazement and amusement, Denise and her famous wild horses, Titan and Montana!" Legs bucking, eyes widening, nostrils flaring, heads thrashing to shake off imaginary cougars…were these the peaceful, gentle horses I knew well? What primeval force still lived inside of them waiting for just the right moment to make itself known?

Oh…but how I wished I could do more than watch, to run with them and dance with the wind. For I felt the wild thing within me, as well. It whispered to all of us, "You're alive! You're free!" I was being seduced by a power not my own, becoming less of me and more of everything around me and I was happy to disappear.

Then, the wind went too far. It took me and the horses away from excitement and into fear in a split second. Titan and Montana ran to their shelter and left me to stand alone against the wind. They peeked out at me as if to say "Aren't you coming, too?" We had stood in the shelter together during rain and snow on many occasions, but not today.

I would not let the wind tell me what to do. It could not end the game without my consent. As I defied it, it retaliated, trying to rip my coat from my body and drenching me in its rain. I held my head up high and pulled my coat tightly around me. The horses watched as if to say, "Who is this two-legged beast who defies the wind?  Why does she not run for safety? Has no one taught her respect for the wind? What will happen to her now that she has stayed too long."

Then, they remembered that they did know me - I, who had led them so many times to safety, to food and water. If I could continue the game, so would they. Bolting from their shelter, they plunged into the wind and toward me with no sign of slowing or stopping. Galloping beside each other, they joined in the new game…the one I had begun. Time slowed down and they appeared in slow motion with no sound at all except one hoof after another beating the ground. Suddenly, I didn't know whose game it was anymore. Mine? The wind's? Theirs? What were the rules and was I strong and wise enough to play with the big boys?

As they raced toward me, I wondered "Was I the target in the game?" Yet, I was tempted to do nothing…to trust them completely. But, just as they were within feet of me, I threw up my arms, one pointing north and one pointing south. They parted, separating before me like the Red Sea before Moses. Seconds later, the game was over, finished as quickly as it had begun.

The air was now cold; the front's work was done. My horses turned their interest to the bale of hay, as if nothing had ever happened. I joined them muzzling their beautiful, lowered necks. Their eyes were soft again - they had lived in the moment and the moment was over. I was comforted by the sounds of horses chewing hay, surrounded by their sweet smell and loving warmth.

And yet, I do wonder? Would they have stopped anyway? Would they have run over me crushing my body to the ground because they trusted I knew how the wind's game was played? Or would hooves covered in wet mud slide out of control slamming their large bodies against mine? A terrible mistake or just an accident and the game would have been over…perhaps forever. Had I placed my life upon the alter of Perfect Trust? Or, had I foolishly entered a world in which I did not belong, seduced by the chance to know what it feels like to belong to that world…for just a little while? 

None of us will ever really know. You can't trust the wind..