A Leg Up

dog by branch of Mississippi River

First of all, thanks to everyone for their comments on my last blog post.

As difficult as it’s been lately to see disturbing beliefs and opinions come out on high-emotion topics, it has also brought out some voices speaking with reason, care and concern.

I’ve seen people who are generally quiet, who like to observe and study something before they voice their opinion, becoming restless.

I see such people still taking it all in, still listening, still reading everything they can get their hands on, but they aren’t waiting until they have the whole thing figured out before they say what they are thinking or take some sort of action.

There have always been people in our midst working quietly behind the scenes delivering for Meals on Wheels, tutoring kids who are having trouble at school, sitting with their friend during chemo, cooking and serving up food for those in need  and so on. They are the heroes that no one hears about.

I have this picture in my mind of a movement that happens without fanfare or gimmicky calls for attention. Where people simply do what needs to be done by being conscious in their consumption of energy, products, and media; by being informed and participating in the political process; and by doing what they can to give those who need it a “leg up.”

I used to work at a stable leading trail rides where we used English saddles. I literally had to give people a leg up by cupping my hands and having them use me as a mounting block so I could give them a lift up into the saddle. This meant getting my hands dirty and some people were hesitant to allow me to help them.

But I’ve never had another job that I enjoyed so much. I was able to help people up onto the horse and give them a quick balancing and steering lesson. Because an English saddle has no horn to hang onto for balance, my advice before hitting the trail was always to grab the horse’s mane when they felt unsteady. Thank goodness all the horses had thick, shaggy manes!

During the ride, I felt so happy to be able to share the experience of riding that I loved so much. And from the laughter that always came on such rides, I believe the riders were able to share in that same sense of accomplishment and enjoyment that comes from being outdoors and connecting with an animal.

That kind of “leg up” action and the connection it brings to our shared humanity, rather than how we differ, is what I wish more people understood and looked for.

It does feel good to work together.

trail riding on horseback

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