In Gratitude for Good Friends

I’ve leaned on a few in the past several days, and it’s sort of miraculous how they can cheer successes and cushion the inevitable falls.

Another friend called me last night to tell me that a friend of ours had died over the weekend. “It was like spin the bottle,” he said. Three, maybe four months start to finish. No one knew the bottle was spinning, and nothing could be done when it stopped.

Among many others, Molly gave me the gift of horses, and I found myself re-reading an article I’d read and shared with her several months after a sudden move back east, out of the riding life I’d just as suddenly come to love.

Here’s what Sterry Butcher has to say about horses and what they have to teach us about learning to ride and to live:

Learning to ride takes time. It’s about love and letting go, accepting the what-ifs and understanding that events beyond your power are simply that — beyond your power. I’m still learning. What’s important with horses turns out to be what’s important in life. You give your heart knowing there will be risk. You go fast anyway. You get back on anyway and laugh anyway. You go forward with whatever brilliance and clarity you can muster. … The earth is there to catch and hold us when we fall.

I’m still learning, too. Especially about the giving and the risking and the going fast and the falling and the getting back on and laughing anyway.

Molly’s passing is, of course, beyond my power. But I’m so grateful for what she taught me, and for the friends who’ve caught and taught me since.