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The Bridle Path


ISSUE:  Winter 2015

We lived in a painting, a pastoral promise of stepped Berkshire hills, 
the Midlands of green meadows in the distance dotted with sheep 

and vistas of forest. We raced through the world of our living 
to the world of commerce—the commissary, the thrift shop, 

the post exchange of RAF Welford, England. And the wide 
Bridle Path was our planet of trees to wade through—a tunnel 

woven from arbors of oaks and chestnuts whose cowls touched 
over our heads, high in the neutral breezes, wide enough 

for horse-drawn carriages and adventure. It was the excitement 
of danger without the fear of danger. Why follow a cultivated 

sidewalk when any child can race through an entire world of trees? 
I want that mystery back. Let me stroll back to that time, 

in which everything in the world can be thrilling again. 
Let me find and wander down the old Bridle Path, to see 

the ghosts of children walking ahead of me, leading me 
back, the transparency of that world on this world, 

the evocation of time and memory—to be twelve again 
and kick through the Bridle trees with Phyllis Rogers, 

the willowy girl who loved horses. Give me the cleaner air 
of that decade, that century, that children’s forest, green upon 

green and winding. What is burnished reverie but to grant us 
a smile in winter? May all of us have such a Bridle Path 

to return to, to come full circle, to end in peace where 
we began, to have loved the passage and the distance come.

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