Susan was a realist and a rationalist: She intuited early in life that the best kind of love she could hope for from a fellow human being sprang from a strong head rather than the fickle heart. This did not mean she’d completely given up on feeling that mid-chest muscle squeeze and pulse with impetuous emotion from time to time. She relished when her body took over to relieve her brain of the weight of quotidian existence. She shivered with adolescent pinpricks and tingles.
She indulged those destabilizing sensations when she first seduced Richard. Theirs had been a cerebral courtship and an intellectual dance; still, the sparks that lit up their logic synapses couldn’t help but sear neighboring cells and ignite some physical passion in the early days.
She experienced them again when she first laid eyes on Tierra del Fuego Ranch. The vast, varied landscape tugged at her solar plexus and beckoned to her soul. It absolutely fulfilled her vision of a place that would protect her from (im)polite society and civilization’s burdens for years to come.
But nothing came close to the love she felt for the horses she’d known. That bond — the intimacy of sitting astride a beast much more powerful than one’s self, an animal with a mind and will all its own — was sacred and holy. Both rider and mount had to think and move in concert in order to make their way through the world, to navigate the many literal and figurative obstacles to their progress and satisfaction. They arrived at a mutual respect for their roles in the relationship. They learned to trust each other with their lives. And that — that was the best kind of love Susan had ever known.