long leads, small miracles

As I approached I could see the long lead stringing from Grace, semi taut like the line of a kite that was gracefully swaying across my horizon. Except it wasn’t a kite at the other end of the line, but a thousand pounds of horse. And instead of a tug on the line to direct the flight of a wing, my daughter would give subtle commands for the horse to change motion, faster or slower — up or down, as they say — around the circle being traced out in the outdoor arena. She turned like a small lighthouse, her glasses religiously turned to her horse, long locks of blond trailing behind.

The horse could have left Grace at any time. It could have pulled on the line only slightly and yanked it from her small hands. It could have bolted away on its tangential course and dragged the line, with or without the 11-year-old girl on the other end, sprinting to other destinations. But instead he trotted or cantered at her pleasure, a whip slack at her side, and that line a loose extension of her arm.

There are no miracles. There were the uplifted mountains in the background and the snow in the high elevation gullies. The sky radiated blue and the air transmitted calm. And my daughter led a horse ten times her size around in circles, just as she’s learned to do.