April 11, 2015
(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)
|This jumper clipped the fence.|
I attended my first steeplechase race today at My Lady’s Manor in Harford County. It turned out to be one large tailgate party with a few races mixed in. Sun, fun and four runs. I wondered about the steeple in the race’s name because I did not see any steeples but I later learned that its origins go back many years ago to Ireland where these races were run from one town’s steeple to the next. It makes sense that steeples were used as markers since they could be seen from a distance. What differentiates a steeplechase from a regular horse race is the concept of distance with obstacles--often farm fences, streams and stone walls. Who would want to run a boring race around and around in a circle when you can fly through farm fields?
How much the steeplechase is like real life. During the years, we go from one marker to another, one milestone to another, and manage obstacles along the way. Sometimes we are successful in clearing these barriers but there are times when we break the obstacle and are thrown off balance. During our run, family and friends can temporarily lose sight of where we are as we sink into a valley, and maybe sometimes we lose ourselves too. There are those bad periods when we are thrown and separated from our spirit steed but we eventually get back on and continue the ride. But what are we racing for? A prize? Trying to stay ahead of the pack? Why do we have to be first?
I have faced life’s hurdles, sometimes flying with exhilaration, sometimes falling with damaged pride. I have learned to adjust my stride and to ride as one with my spirit. However, I am not always racing to the end. I want to stop now and then to search for four-leaf clovers near the hurdle, watch the grasshoppers hop through their own grass obstacles and stretch out to bask in the sun. Perhaps the trophy is not what I seek; maybe the prize is the pure joy of running at whatever stride I choose.
My gift today is stride.
You can find links to my other posts on this project here: