I was legging it through Charles de Gaulle Airport today, having flown up from Toulouse, with one hour and change to make my connecting flight home. It was three o’clock Parisian time, so it was two o’clock Dublin time, and it was horse time, and I wasn’t at the yard, I was piling my bags on the conveyor belt, demonstrating that all my potentially offensive creams and liquids were clearly displayed in a transparent bag, and removing my shoes before I went through the x-ray, which I managed to set off anyway. The requisite pat-down would have been infinitely more interesting had it been administered by the strapping mec who was slapping the electronic scanner thing against his manly thigh, but no such luck. Instead, I continued to grumble internally that I was missing my Saturday, that I hadn’t been home for my Saturday lesson.
I have always liked to call it wanderlust, and it may well be. It is also, I suspect, a general discontent, a grass-is-always-greener attitude that has accompanied me throughout my life. Perhaps it is a combination of the two, and it’s become clear to me that a large part of my life path is to be lived away from the land of my birth. Growing up in New Jersey, I wanted to live in NYC [I knew this when I was about eight years old]; living in New York, I wanted to live abroad. Tried Paris for half a year, had not been back in Manhattan another twelve months before I was planning my exit strategy to Ireland.
It wasn’t merely travelling— I wanted to live other places, be there, integrate. Know a strange place as well as I knew the Lower East Side. So off I went, and off I have gone, delighted to navigate a strange city, to pore over train timetables, to wander down unknown streets.
Except… now I don’t really want to be anywhere else. I missed my Thursday private lesson this week, too, down to this business trip for my big design gig. I had hoped to return Friday night, but it was never going to work: no direct flights meant that I’d have to leave at 2pm, making the whole journey fairly pointless. Had to suck it up— had to miss the horses.
Nope, I really don’t want to be anywhere else. I am perfectly content to be here, going to the yard, three times a week. I manage trips to London on Sundays-to-Tuesdays, returning in excellent time to get to Tuesday night’s lesson. I suppose if I do end up going anywhere anymore, it’ll be city breaks on such an off-kilter weekend. That suits me fine.
It all suits me fine. I find I don’t need to be anywhere else, right now. It is a wholly unusual experience for me. Riding in the taxi to the airport, I cast my eye over the Southern French landscape and only jolted with pleasure whenever I saw an equine shape. It sounds terribly puff-puff jaded, but it’s not. I am, for once, happy to be exactly where I am, and the horses have done what nothing else, ever, in my life has done, and anchored me down, given me roots.
Of all the unexpected things that have occurred since I’ve taken up the reins, this is the most surprising. And surprisingly, I love it. I love this feeling of being in one place, a thing I have fought my whole life. I run out of fingers and toes when I try to recount how many apartments and houses I’ve lived in. If I do move again, it’ll probably be closer to the stables. And although I dream of a house and land that contains a stable and my own horses, I’d miss the craic at the yard, I think.
I know I was never happier to return to Dublin today. Tuesday’s right around the corner. I may make up my missed day’s lesson on Wednesday. And Thursday is set for my solo hour. I am thoroughly domesticated, and rather than feeling tamed or trapped, I feel… excited. Fulfilled. And oddly, despite the seeming rigidity of my schedule— free.
Sure, horses are all over the world. But I want the horses I know right now, and I content myself with them. Yes, even Rebel. Especially Rebel, with whom my previous troubles could have, as has happened in the past, caused me to chuck the whole thing entirely. But that’s something for another post…