March 7 – Horses, Motorcycles and Lemons


by Tania Pryputniewicz

I can’t stop being attracted to horses so maybe I should just ride one; is it spring, or the astral maneuverings of my daughter’s obsession with horses surfacing as if I’d thought of it myself?

Like the woman with grey eyes and coral mouth preparing to mount her motorcycle in front of Howard’s Station over the weekend, sheathed in her leathers, something about the loose black hood framing her silver hair that made her appear as a nun as she tilted her head to slide on her helmet. We exchange a few words on Ninjas and I consider briefly, riding one again, almost not afraid of dying again, my daughter standing quietly at my side.

Not since the screaming descent, before children, on the carbon-fiber frame of a bicycle, my husband’s helmet glinting far below through the sun/shadow spattered curves I had yet to navigate, have I used that full-body lean and swerve to sweep the curves for the joy of it–with that unhesitating precision you need on a motorcycle. And without that god-commanded umbilical restraint hardwired into mothers that keeps them within a two foot radius of their children at all times.

The rider waves, snakes smoothly out of the parking lot. I take my daughter’s hand, steer us and the conversation towards breakfast and the rest of the week’s lessons in gravity and heat. One of my sons will fall out of a lemon tree; one of my sons will mist water from a spray bottle onto a light-bulb. Rinds of glass will continue to appear over the course of the week in the toy boxes under the stairs.

The sound of the shattering glass takes me instantly back to childhood, Illinois, my brother’s lemon meringue filling on the ceiling, thick shards of pie glass exploding into the corners of the kitchen and under the refrigerator the instant my mother took the pie out of the oven and set it on the cold counter.

Here, in San Francisco, the pupil’s of my son’s eyes shutter appropriately tight; talk of a concussion recedes and by afternoon’s end he’s selling the lemons he harvested for fifty cents apiece.

And in the last two miles before our house on the drive home, the wild turkeys with their tan necks jolt raggedly along the edges of the horse pasture…my husband murmuring something about how much horses weigh, how much damage a fall at full gallop can do, why isn’t ballet good enough for our daughter. If horses are meant to be in her life, they’ll find her, I think to myself, knowing better than to share the insight aloud.

It’s not that I find my disinterest in danger waning, but a desire to inhabit the body returning as the kids individuate and release back to me parts of my psyche, incrementally, with highs and lows erratic as the tides. The body follows suit, with time on its hands again, wanting to wrap its arms around the neck of a horse.

Tania lives in California with her husband, three children, kitten, Siberian Husky, and four feral cats. She has an MFA in poetry and taught in the classroom for many years, though recently found herself living more of her life’s dream by working with women writers on-line, including her forthcoming class for SCN this March, Beginning Transformative Blogging.

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7 responses to “March 7 – Horses, Motorcycles and Lemons

  1. My body feels the taut curves, the “full-body lean and swerve” to control that monster machine, though I haven’t been a passenger on one in 45+ years. I thoroughly enjoyed the kinetic images, and especially: “. . . a desire to inhabit the body returning as the kids individuate and release back to me parts of my psyche . . .” So true, so well put, so never ending. A very fully-grown, deeply upset, adult ‘child’ occupies as much inner real estate as any little one. “. . . erratic as the tides.” Indeed!

  2. Thank you Mary, for the mirroring and for the lovely comment. And your line about the adult ‘child’ resonates with me as well. To riding, to writing, to passengering, and passing off the passengers when the time is right, incrementally.

  3. “If horses are meant to be in her life, they’ll find her, I think to myself, knowing better than to share the insight aloud. ”

    Oh, yeah, ain’t it the truth? LOL All of my childhood I begged to have a pony and got all the usual reasons I couldn’t have one. I was 24 and married and 1500 miles from my hometown when I finally got my horses. Those years were the best of my life. There’s something mystical about the connection between girls/women and horses. You haven’t been hugged until you’ve been hugged by a horse. LOL And the grief when you let them go after so many years together is like none other.
    I can identify with the motorcycle riding, too, though mine was barely large enough to be considered a motorcycle, much less large enough to require “leaning into the curve.” But it’s the intention, not necessarily the intensity.
    Thank you for this lovely piece.

  4. Sam, I’m glad to know there’s actually truth to be found in that possible reality involving my daughter’s future…not just my hunch about what might be true…horses found you! And sweetly put, the mystical connection. Right now we live surrounded by properties with horses, and we’ll be living the riddle to how they’ll come closer for now. Thanks for your comment.

    • I sure hope your daughter finds her bliss. As with anything else, being involved with horses has both wonderful times and upsetting times, but overall, it’s better than life without horses. I’m looking forward to soon reading a book called Horses and the Mystical Path. You know that old song, There’s Nothing Like A Dame? Even more so about horses. *G*

  5. Oh Tania: How is it even possible that you’re able to capture those universal “mother-worries” and memory connections in a sequence of words that bring tears of nostalgia dripping from my eyes? What a beautiful piece and how lucky your children are to have gotten a mother like you to help them navigate through all those bumpy pastures and falls from trees!

  6. Me too…I do hope she finds her bliss; right now I’m just trying to stay as present as possible when I can, given the general maelstrom of to and from. Wish I had a body double or triple to parent the kids the way they seem to crave. The book sounds good, thanks for the tip, Sam.

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