In my dream, I’m galloping across the prairie on a chestnut mare, my hair flying in the wind—no saddle, no bridle, no bit in the horse’s mouth. Together, my horse and I are wild and free. We’re fast as a summer storm.
In my memory, though, my short hair is artificially curled, and the horse is burdened with a heavy saddle. Before I mount, I have to lean down to see if the belt around his belly is tight enough to hold the saddle in place. His leather strap, engineered by men, reminds me of the brassieres we women strap around our chests to hold up our breasts. It’s a miracle that a horse (or a woman) can run free with such a tight constraint.
“But you’ve never ridden before,” I complain. “Why does he do exactly what you want him to do?”
My husband shrugs. “I’m a descendant of Genghis Khan. Riding horses is in my blood.”
In my imagination, the Year of the Wood Horse becomes a rocking horse, fortunes rising and falling, rising and falling as the horse rocks back and forth. Or the Wood Horse becomes a carved horse on a merry-go-round. I buy a ticket and take my grandson’s hand. He chooses the white horse with golden hooves and mane. Her saddle is red and she has bells around her neck. The tinkling organ music begins, and around we go, waving at “Mommy” with each round. When the horse is still, I help my grandson dismount, and we’re right back where we started.
This is the most unlikely scenario for the Year of the Wood Horse. We may imagine that our lives will be the same a year from now, but they won’t. We never get off the merry-go-round of life in exactly the same place where we climbed on.
Chinese astrologers aren’t concerned with carousels or rocking horses. This is not the Year of the Wooden Horse; it’s the Year of the Wood Horse, which is an entirely different thing. In Chinese tradition, wood is one of the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. It’s associated with Spring and the growth of trees. Wood provides the fuel for fire.
Since horses, especially Mongolian ponies, can run long distances, 2014 should be a good year for travel. But beware, one feng-shui master predicts, “with wood being very combustible, there will be a lot of scandals, conflicts, explosions and arguments.” Another warns of an “increasing potential for heated clashes as people stick to what they believe…”
On a more positive note, this astrologer says we can look forward to “a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance…Energy is high,” she says, “and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory.”
They all seem to agree that for people like me, born in the Year of the Sheep, it will be a good year. And with my book, Tiger Tail Soup, coming out in a few months, I’m going to need all the good luck I can get.
Wishing you all an enjoyable bareback gallop across the prairie of your choice in 2014.