What is your favorite place on Earth?
My one place of contentment, in all of time and space, actually is a place where I am constantly moving. Literally. That one perfect, happy place for me is sitting atop the saddle of a horse. Although a saddle is not the most comfortable thing in the world, it is the place that makes me calm and focused. For as long as I can remember, I have loved horses and when I was eight, my grandpa brought me up to his ranch and I learned how to ride them. Now every summer I go up to Spokane, Washington, to visit the Flaherty Ranch. Two summers ago was when I realized that riding a horse was my absolute favorite place to be. The smooth, but fast rhythm of the horse’s movements when lopping makes me feel powerful. This is where I am stronger and faster than at any other time.
When riding, I am both lulled and energized not only by the motion of the creature, but also by the smells around me. Most people turn their noses away from ranches, where hints of manure and dirt fill the air, but I can ignore the unpleasant few odors and pick out the ones I love. The scents of hay, grain, and old wood saturate the air inside the barn. Outside I can hear a mix of horse whinnies, dog yips, and the lull of the Little Spokane River flowing behind the house. The feeling of slight moisture lingering in the air from recently fallen rain completes my spot. If I were at another ranch, it wouldn’t the same; it would not smell right, and I would not be with my favorite horse, Pine. These sensations exhilarate me, in part because they are not sensations I feel every day. Since I live over 1,000 miles away from the Flaherty Ranch, the time I get to spend there is made ever more significant.
My perfect spot can be found at 47.8⁰ latitude and -117.3⁰ longitude, galloping around in circles of a dirt covered arena, and full of the aroma of horses and hay. In this place I am focused, letting my mind free as I move with the gait of the horse’s movement. One day, I will get my own horse so that I will get to visit my favorite place, but for now, the Flaherty Ranch and its moments of bliss are perfect for me.