A week or so ago, we finally upped stumps and headed north to see an old friend of mine on his farm.
It is one of those knew each other sort of dated lost touch totally sort of in touch should be more in touch friendships. Most of it was built on the promise of a horse ride. Which had never happened.
When Joel and I first met, we always planned we’d go riding. I was learning dressage at the time (badly, total novice). Joel came to my first competition…which incidentally was also my first fall. We kept planning and planning a ride. I went to his place near singleton, and I can’t remember what happened…but I got to ride and joel got to walk. A lot. Still no ride together.
Through the wonders of Facebook I realised joel was actually not in a warzone for once, and instead of running through buildings in Afghanistan, he was in Sydney, so I facebooked him and said “drop in!”. This was quite a few months back. He did, and I finally got to meet his wife, Sandi. Joel finally got to meet hub-in-boots, and they both got to meet J-man.
Sandi was pretty important. Because a long phone conversation with her (as a legend midwife) early in my pregnancy made me choose a private obstetrician. And although the guy I chose was a total tool, it also probably saved my pregnancy.
It’s funny how life works. A random ‘didn’t quite work out’ series of dates 14 years ago, some brief comments on Facebook, a “you should really talk to Sandi” comment from Joel, early in my pregnancy, and a whole lot of “sliding doors” moments. I remember where I was sitting during that phone conversation. I remember how I was sitting, resting my feet on an old desk (in the room that is now a nursery), sitting in the quiet nervous excitement of early IVF pregnancy, unaware of what was to befall us, talking for a long time to a woman I’d never met about decisions I’d never made before. So in a sense for me, this visit was completing the circle.
For Joel, too, who had been promised this horse ride for 14 years, there was a sense of completing the circle. I hadn’t been on a horse for ten years. After two bad falls in a short space of time and some neurologist waggling his finger at me about repeated concussion, I had hung up my saddle. Even though I had loved it. I figured it would never happen. But Joel was determined.
And day one of our trip, wouldn’t you know it grey Jack pulled up lame. No explanation. No nothing. We could not ride together. Again. I rode and Joel walked, again. And Big Jack (all horses on this farm are called Jack, it’s a long story), was a bit tetchy for my skill level.
Day two, Grey Jack was fine. And we rode.
The family as a whole fell in love with the chickens. Jman loved collecting the eggs, and taking the eggs from the coop to the kitchen was the source of many tantrums in our three day stay. He fed chickens, sat on horses, fed cows, annoyed the dog, saw the roos. We got to know Sandi, we spent time at their great place, filled our lungs with fresh air, swam, and played.
And Joel and I got our ride together on the beach. After 14 years. One circle complete, and hopefully, another beginning.