Aerie can be defined as an eagle’s nest or a dwelling high on a hill. For me, it meant home. When dad retired from the Air Force, he and mom built their dream home at the top of a steep incline, overlooking beautiful rural farmland. It was the inspiration for the Mitchell farm in A Specter of Truth. Here you see the entrance sign from the long drive. It reads “Aerie.”

In my younger years, Aerie was my place of solitude in winter where I would sojourn when my folks were basking in the Florida sun. Being “stuck on the hill,” during a snowstorm made it all the more enticing. I’d hunker down with a roaring fire in the hearth and a glass of wine, watching movies on the older model TV and VCR.

In the summer, I have memories of barbecues and family reunions, sitting in the swing on the porch to enjoy the sunset, watching a rousing game of football led by my siblings in the field. The grandkids could run and play in the woods, watch the deer, or pick apples.

Once mom and dad were no longer with us, I couldn’t bear to leave the Aerie sign. It was weathered and beaten, barely legible any longer. It needed a home, not a dingy corner in my garage.

I was ecstatic when my sister decided to name her new covered horse arena “Aerie,” and dedicate it in my dad’s memory. Patty and her husband founded Healing with Horses ranch in Manor, Texas–a therapeutic riding center for people with disabilities. It’s an amazing place of healing, with a trained equine therapy staff and a wonderful group of volunteers.

Aerie at HHR 2x3

Patty cleaned up the Aerie sign, and gave it a place of honor. It is now displayed proudly at the ranch to remind us that we can soar on eagles’ wings when we reach beyond what we ever thought was possible. Envision the dream. Rise above the ordinary.


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