This wasn't on my 2010 Happiness Bucket List, but maybe it should have been -- ride on a carousel. It was always my favorite ride at amusement parks as a child, and as an adult, the artistry of carousel horses fascinated me. I got the chance to see some carousel horses up close and personal and relive my childhood's fond memories at Back Home on the Farm in Harrisonburg.
Bonnie and I went out last Wednesday evening to see the annual butterfly exhibit. Trying to capture these fragile, beautiful creatures in a photograph is a great test of our photographic ability. Despite the heat, we spent nearly an hour in the greenhouse, stalking and photographing butterflies. We were on our way out when Mr. Hess asked if we wanted to see the carousel.
Back Home on the Farm is a kid's -- no matter what their age -- delight. There are flowers, a John Deere "tractor" race track, a cow train, in the fall a corn maze and pumpkin patch. And the carousel. It has been carefully restored, Mr. Hess explained, with the larger horses painted to represent famous Virgiians and others from American history and the smaller horses representing Virginia's wide array of agricultural products. When he asked if we wanted to take a ride before he shut the carousel down for the night, I couldn't refuse. For several glorious minutes, around and around I went on the Thomas Jefferson horse (chosen because it was low enough for me to mount while wearing a dress and still keep my dignity). I was lost in the sensations of jhe air rushing past and the familiar sound of the carousel musics. For those few minutes, I wasn't a married, working woman with all of the joys and stresses that come with that adult life. No, for those few minutes, I was a young girl, racing across endless fields, just her and her steadfast horse entangled in some new and daring adventure.
Who needs therapy when you can ride a carousel?
(Photos of butterfly and carousel horse by Pamela Hamilton, copyright 2010; photo of Pamela on carousel by Bonnie Burt, copyright 2010)