I had a moment yesterday when I thought I’d broken my back. It was a private riding lesson, on a horse I knew and trusted and had never had any issues with; I’d ridden him dozens of times by myself without ever a hitch, and now I was under the tutelage of a professional. It took a single misjudgment of the horses’ current mood to send him into a blind, uncontrollable gallop; and a further bit of misfortune that my balance, after surviving several mad laps of the riding school, was finally taken as he ran at and then leapt backward away from a fence. I flew forward, and bounced spine-first off a fence post. People from 50 metres away thought they’d heard my helmet striking against the wood, or the fence post breaking… Rather than the cracking of my back.
How I didn’t seriously injure myself is quite beyond me; but there really was something about believing the moment had come when I would never walk again, and then discovering that somehow I had yet another chance at being physically sound. It has been a powerful reminder of how quickly things can change in the most seemingly safe conditions; and how true it is that entrusting dreams and happiness to ‘later’ is a dangerous game indeed. The amount of risk we do or do not subject ourselves to is our choice; I personally very much believe that some level of risk is paramount to a truly rewarding life, though as ever the line between life lust and unnecessary danger is a thin one. But ultimately, we do not ever have total control of our fate. It can all disappear so quickly. I like to think that had I indeed ended up in a wheelchair, I’d at least know that I’d made good use of my legs while I had them. Then I’d concentrate my attention on art, writing and academia! Still. Once again, I am utterly elated to have all of my faculties, and purely grateful for the bruising and stiffness I have only to put up with for a few days.
So I just wanted to share yet another reason to live up the Now! Remember that later might not come. And damn, with our minds and bodies, the things we can do. Explore, learn, create and accomplish — be the person you most want to be — NOW!