Today I got fins, mask, snorkel, and an introductory snorkeling lesson in a pool as a birthday present and homework for an upcoming trip. Ruth, my partner, grew up on the Southern California coast and is a swimmer and passionate about scuba diving. I grew up in the desert of the Intermountain West and am ambivalent about putting my head under water. We're going to meet in the middle. Our kids took the lesson with me. Both are pretty good swimmers, one has some open water snorkeling experience already. I've spent a lot of yoga hours training to inhale only through my nose, so learning to inhale only through my mouth with a snorkel clenched in my teeth is kind of a trick. I enjoyed the lesson and am looking forward to some snorkeling in the ocean.
Ruth and Beatrice, our youngest daughter, ride horses regularly and our oldest rides occasionally. It's been clear that I need to try this, too, and I did yesterday, spending an hour learning to saddle, mount, and ride a horse at the stable where Ruth and Beatrice have been riding. They're into dressage and jumping, I'm only learning the basics of Western riding, My goal is to be able to go out on a two hour trail ride with my family without falling off and prematurely ending things. I'm pretty sure I'll succeed. I'm getting comfortable with horses and they, at least the ones at Sunrise Equine, are comfortable with me.
I learned how to sit and how to use my feet and legs, how to hold the reins with two hands and one hand, how to turn, how to trot, how to balance going up and downhill, kind of a crash course in Western trail riding. I'm still a rank beginner, let's be clear, there is so much yet to learn, but my mind really did expand yesterday. I have much more appreciation for the passion people have for horses and riding. Horses are fantastic creatures, with brains and personalities, and connect us to the ancient times of giant mammals. I expect I'll remain primarily a runner, not a rider, but one who wouldn't want to live in a world without horses.