Swimming, flying & riding Skylark

Last night I went for a swim in the sea, something that fills my soul with energy, raises my spirits and cures me of all tension. I go into the sea and I feel lifted. Last night the rippled surface of the water was a pastel pink from the reflection of the sunset. No waves. Pink above the surface, dark below, and beautifully soft on my skin. Such softness, the warm air so gentle too. I had no plan other than to enjoy the sensation of being in the sea, so worked through the different strokes - Breaststroke, crawl, backstroke, then just floating on my back with arms and legs moving me through the water like a jellyfish. Finally seal swimming, pushing forwards under water, my body like a Mexican wave from head to toe, legs glued together as a mermaid’s tail, and arms swept back against my sides. This form of swimming feels incredible, and makes me feel part of the sea.

When I arrived back at shore I sat in the shallows, letting the ebb and flow of the tide rock me forwards and backwards. I looked through the clear waters at the myriad of unique pebbles which glittered in the last of the evening’s light. When I lifted myself up I was cloaked by the warm air like the embrace of a soft towel.

It was no surprise to me when I woke up this morning from a dream of flying. I have always had flying dreams, sometimes incredibly turbulent, sometimes lucid and controllable, sometimes so vivid as I become a Golden Eagle and take off from a jagged clifftop. This morning I realised the connection between swimming through water and my gift of flight in the subconscious world - supported by the elements enough to soar and dive. These dreams are normally accompanied by some kind of peril, fleeing from enemies and escaping by the thinnest breath - perhaps only just remembering my ability to fly and then making that leap of faith. This is followed by breaststroke arms through the air while I marvel at how high I can climb into the sky, or the lift and fall of the seal swimming as I drop down and glide over the topography of the Earth. Sometimes it feels shakey, unstable, like I might drop out of the air. I have to pump harder and gain height, and then begin to soar again.

This morning I woke from this dream of flying and I lay there dwelling on the twists and the dives and the calm. Then I got up, tended to the hens, fed the cat, and then turned back to me. I embraced my twenty-five minutes of yoga, then made some banana and jam on toast with a cup of coffee. Eating breakfast I thought of my swim, and this morning’s incredible experience of flight. I savoured my coffee saw the connection between the two. I was also gearing up for a training session with Skylark and wonderful equine behaviourist, Trudi Dempsey. I had a colleague coming to watch the session. Am I OK with an observer, or would the introvert in me stumble over this? Despite training people in groups, the context of working on your own skills and with your own animals can be more challenging.

On arrival at the ponies, the energy was fractious- Heat, flies, hunger, hormones! When Skylark was given her own space with plenty of delicious hay as opposed to the plain tasting soaked hay, she began to slowly calm down, with the others mirroring this mood in the other section of the yard. We began to work on fine tuning some training foundations. I felt attentive and grounded, enjoying this work with this incredible being who i’m lucky to call part of the family. We walked together with a comfortable calmness. This then led on to some work at the mounting block. She lined up for me to get up onto her back, and stood there beautifully, awaiting another cue. Her ears are incredible thought-transmitters when ‘on board’, so I paid close attention to what I was being told by her. We walked off, and it felt so deliciously smooth, like flying over rolling Devon hills, or like swimming through warm sea water at sunset.

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