Deb and I took Bree and Traveller out along the dykes today. It was new country for me and my longest ride yet. The dew was heavy on the ground like water, sagging drips on the undersides of rails as we set out through the paddocks behind the barn down to the river. Traveller was sporting a new pair of dazzling shoes that picked up the bright glint of sun from a cloudless sky. Golden Ears rose large on the immediate horizon like a cardboard cutout propped up from behind and in the distance, a range away, the slate grey peaks that mark the far side of Whistler.
The dykes were put in a hundred years ago by industrious, water bending Dutch immigrants for whom holding back the sea is an ancient art. They create a patchwork of high riding trails that look down over cultivated rows of blueberries and cranberries, each crop tidy in its own segregated quadrant.
We stopped atop a small marsh where the South and the North Allouette rivers merge and watched a noisy flock of Canada Geese arrange and rearrange themselves in preparation for lift off… to?….Ohio?…the Bahamas?…the next field over? The horses rested and ripped at the grass along the bank. Deb says that giving them free reign (now I know where that expression comes from!) helps counter their urge to race home and “get silly” at the turning point.
We picked up our pace on the return trip with Traveller breaking into a mane-flying lope at every opportunity on the open stretches. Clip-clopped across the bridge, then sped through the dappled woods dipping up and down on the twisting narrow trail, the heavy overgrowth of summer whizzing by at our sides.
It was an exhilarating way to mark the fall equinox and attend to the change of seasons, both in the natural world and in the turning of our lives.