There are just a handful of places in the world that instantly create an image of exotic beauty and eternal mystery by their name alone. Glastonbury Tor. Machu Picchu. Angkor Wat. Petra is one of these places and it did not disappoint. I was excited to find out that a horse ride was included with the price of admission. My dream of traversing the desert landscape astride a bejeweled Arabian was almost in my grasp. Just inside the gate was a multi-level stable complex housing the working horses of the ancient city. Three Arabians stand at the ready, waiting for their next job. Immediately I can see that the reality of the situation is not going to exactly match my Lawrence of Arabia-esque inner movie. First clue: no bridles or reins. As you can see, I did indeed ride an Arabian in Petra, but only in the sense that I was sitting on a horse in a saddle while he was led by a gentleman down a gentle hill. This trek took less than 10 minutes but I was happy to get my fix. (Photo credit: Gillian da Silva)
Feeling very small indeed, here I am posing in front of the fifteen story facade.
There were many friendly and quite lovely little cats in Petra, intelligently gathering where they would get the most handouts from adoring visitors. This is one of my favorite shots of that day: gorgeous rock face, old wooden bench and sweet white kitty.
I heart camels. I didn't think I would, having the preconceived notion that they spit, were ornery, smelly and generally unpleasant creatures. Without exception, every camel we saw in Jordan was quite lovely, personality wise. They're so ugly they're cute. They are also very, very tall, more giraffe than llama.
Click on the photos to enlarge, and stay tuned for many more pictures and stories from Jordan. As you would expect, getting a glimpse of how a simpler people live, their unbridled generosity and their love of country and its traditions, has had an effect on me, as it has on all of us who were there. My high-stress corporate job seems trivial and quite silly at times, but it pays for the important things. I am finding solace and purpose in my riding, in the relationship between me and the horse, whether that be Missy or a lesson horse. I had my first group lesson this week and, while it was a little unnerving to be careening around the arena with three other horses, I had fun and know that was a good decision, to ensure that every single Wednesday I WILL ride. Consistency is what I really need.
Back in my normal routine, the heartache of the loss of Bailey is cushioned by the unconditional love and irrepressable spirit of Tucker. Still having a dog in the house has been incredibly comforting, and he is just so silly and sweet you can't help but laugh. We laughed so much in Jordan, it's really what made it possible for me to stay in the moment and drink in the experience.