A sea of kids gathered with their bicycles, ready for the challenge. We peered over the edge.
I, of course, was the only girl. And the smallest body present.
My big brother took off first. On his silver Huffy, down he went, then back up and around the dirt horseshoe on the facing side of the steep hill. He landed with a fancy little jump. Admittedly, his athletic abilities surpassed most other kids (insert little sister’s eyeroll here).
Each boy then followed, trying to look cooler than my brother.
Then, it was my turn.
My brother said I shouldn’t do it.
Scared but defiant, I looked at the older boys below, waiting. No way was I backing down. And besides, my purple bike with glittery banana seat was my flying chariot. I was ready to show ‘em the little sis’ could hang.
Down I went. I sped down the hill then up to (almost) the top of the horseshoe. Cheers dissipated to “uh-ohs” as my speed wasn’t strong enough to ‘round the top. Thus ensued a long, bumpy descent back down the hill.
Yep, I scrambled backward, splatting like a cracked egg on my back among the branches. What a great wipeout.
Once I’d rolled from the briars and thumbs-up’d that I was alive, off the band of boys blasted to the next bike challenge.
I, too, left the scene of the accident and my stuck, purple friend. I limped home for a cherry popsicle to soothe a bruised ego and scraped body.
As cherry sweetness soothed, I thought about my epic crash. I felt angry.
But then something cool happened. Anger morphed into determination.
I was going to conquer the horseshoe.
After many future failed attempts, my pint-sized person and purple chariot prevailed. We did it. And we perfected a fancy little hop at the end.
But I learned something during the horseshoe trail era. I learned at a young age to channel anger, molding it into something better. Molding me into something better.
As life progressed and years passed, I learned each time I was angry to pause + reflect on ‘why’ I felt that way. Doing so exposed (and grew) a deeper understanding of me.
Too, I realized each time I attempted a failed feat with a weak, insecure start, I expected to fall—and I did. Difficult pathways, I learned, consistently required focus and stamina to maneuver turns successfully. Just like the horseshoe trail.
And isn’t it so in life? Think about that one.
March is a time when memories of the horseshoe trail arise. Housed in woods beside my childhood home, the forest surrounding the trail was just coming to life. The dirt and its briar-filled surroundings didn’t offer much cushion when I fell. But I’m glad.
If the fall didn’t hurt, I may not have worked so diligently to overcome the obstacle. I kept at it. And I got better, stronger.
I bet you had a horseshoe trail all your own. Maybe you’re still hiking (or biking) forward. If so, good for you. Keep going.
March is such a great month to re-energize as forest floors teem with new life. It’s a time to feel revitalized within increasing sunshine. And it’s a fabulous season to reflect, yes, but to also push forward with confidence. To grab the goals on which you’ve been focused and advance them to the next level. To get angry if you must, but then analyze that anger by asking why you feel that way. Self-analyze. Be honest with yourself.
Then alter directions with confidence. Get determined, make a plan, and focus on steps toward achieving your goal. One small step forward is still progress.
No matter the view of your horseshoe trail, conquer it. Make it happen. Lace up your hiking boots, veer away from the simple, worn path you’ve been walking on and blaze a new trail. A new challenge.
Let’s focus on moving forward. Let’s reach beyond comfort, feel the intermittent pain—and then? New discoveries abound and untouched scenery surrounds—and we grow in unpredictable, beautiful ways.
Even if we back-splat in the briars now and then.