Desert Armor

Arizona Armor                                                   Day of knight in desert…

With  horse nearby

a knight does stand

in desert heat

with cacti, sand.

    )

He represents

the will to ride

though metal stiff

hot sun aside.

    (    (

Two saddled legs

or physique lame

for  sturdy hooves

will get good game.

  )    )    )

Here is the place

where freedom’s sought:

a way to mount,

a Camelot.

(    (    (    (

A note about this poem: I was asked to write an article for MyLIFE magazine about The Camelot Center, a non-profit Assisted Therapeutic Riding Program in north Scottsdale, Arizona. The mission of this place “is to provide therapeutic services to physically, mentally or emotionally challenged, learning disabled, underprivileged and able-bodied children and adults.” Instead of taking the easy route of online research and telephone interview, I traveled there on a day where the temperature was 111 degrees to visit with Ms. Hadsell and the horses. Please imagine the stories of people, especially children, whose bodies prevent them from having a feeling of freedom, who get an opportunity to be near, take care of and ride horses. Ms. Hadsell helped me understand that when one is not as abled as others, being noticed all the time is difficult. Wheelchairs, crutches, braces–those things attract attention. But when a person can discard such equipment, mount the back of a gentle, loving, permission-giving horse, a brand new feeling of motion, oneness and invisibility occurs.

And that is what freedom feels like.

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