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An Elemental Partnership


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As we rounded the corner of the field, I felt my heart lift for the shear joy of the beautiful day and for the magnificent horse beneath me. I took a sharp breath in, and Dale and I lifted into light, easy canter. I did not kick my heels, or squeeze my calves, or even cluck my tongue; such things were too vague, too vulgar to communicate with such a being. Instead, we moved and breathed with pure intention. We began to stretch into a full gallop. As we thundered up the final hill, the world was a mere blur around us. We no longer knew earthly bounds; we simply floated above the ground, unaided by such mundane things as wings. We could not have possibly gone faster, we could not pull the ground toward us at any greater velocity, and yet we did. We changed gears, we flattened out, and we went faster still. Our eyes were streaming, but our breathing was calm and steady. We were no longer made of bone and sinew and muscle. No, we were made of air and fire.

Air. I have flown through the air many times, and each time I have left behind my earthly shackles. I have soared over many a jump, and through the minds of Thoreau, Locke, Emerson, Rousseau, Pythagoras, and Aristotle. Fire. I have felt the fire flow through my veins as Dale and I have raced the wind, and I have felt the fiery rage of Peleus’s son, Achilles. I have seen fire erupt from spontaneous combustion, and I have sat next to many a campfire underneath Galileo’s heavens. Earth. I have met the earth on many occasions. My mistakes have landed me in the dirt, while Dale has stopped and stood above me with questioning eyes. I have dissected the earth and seen its crust, its mantles, and its core in cliffs, canyon walls, and in class. The earth, on its axis, has guided my mind as I set my sights on Jupiter, Pluto and beyond. Water. Dale and I have played in the water, his hooves splashing the water onto my bare feet. I have seen water power hydroelectric power plants, erode hillsides, and mold the face of the earth. These are the elements that shape me; these are the elements of who I am.

Just as water is constant enough to wear away the rough hewn rock, so too am I constant in tackling my calculus homework and my English essay, though I may cross many a valley and mountain. Just as the earth’s surface is both solid and flexible, so, too, am I firm in my convictions and yet fluid enough in my thinking to grasp Chinese characters. Just as the air is omnipresent and constantly in motion, so, too, is my passion for those undiscovered delights of life, and just as fire is bright and inspiring, so, too, is my future as I gaze into its inviting depths.



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