Monday, January 30, 2012

Not A Two Pack Habit Or a Motel Tan

People, who meet me in midwinter and know nothing about me but that I am a lawyer, have a remarkable tendency to look at my brown skin and ask me if I have just gotten back from a cruise or if I "spend a lot of time on a golf course." They do not recognize the particular irony of their question. I cannot think of many things that I would enjoy less than a cruise and I have never seen a golf course without my mind wandering to a vision of it fenced in and well stocked with horses.

We all make assumptions based on our life experiences. It can be too easy to assume that others share those life experiences and come to the table with a common set of expectations and understandings.

Yesterday I had a great ride with a new young adult rider. She is a city person from far away. I did not think about that when I stumbled into a wonderful situation on the ride. The wind was blowing and at first I was not sure that I heard what I hoped I had heard. We stopped and I signaled for everyone to be quiet. She got quiet--well sort of quiet. As the sound picked up I surveyed the cut over looking for likely crossings. We left the path, crossed cut over, and headed to a funnel of woods where I expected us to be able to get the best view. On several occasions we would briefly stop and I would listen hard to try to get the best directional bearings.

At one point I realized that they had turned and would not cross where I anticipated. We took off cantering (she had only done this a few times before in her life) up to get closer to the sound. We were too late. I watched the crossing of the path and we turned into a dead end path to put me into the far side of the cut over.

When we got to the cut over the deer were in sight, but barely so. Three does, well ahead of the hounds that I had been running to for the past fifteen minutes. As we watched the deer bounce through the cut over I learned something that came as a complete surprise.

She had utterly no idea what we had been doing. She could not understand why we would go and stop, why I wanted everyone quiet, why we changed direction, and most of all she had no idea why I was scanning the cut over so hard.

It never entered my mind that she did not understand that that was not merely the sound of a barking dog, but was a pair of hounds running a small herd of deer and that the object of our game was to get a close view of the deer as they crossed the paths.

It was only at the conclusion of the ride that Kelly came to understand that she had participated in her first mounted red neck fox hunt.

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