Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Work, horses, kindness, news. Or, in which I share with the group.

After a very rocky start, and a naughty break to watch the 3.15 at Yarmouth, I wrote 1177 words of secret project. I also appear to have started a new secret project, which is so clandestine that no other human knows of it, and there was 1060 words of that as well.

After yesterday’s theatrics, the mare and I went for a nice gentle schooling ride. Nothing scared her today. I track her changing moods with utter fascination. There are days when her blood is up, all that ancient pedigree singing in her like starlings; there are other days when you would swear she was part-mule, all dozy and with faint moments of stubbornness.

Today, there was trace of mule, until I would have none of it, and we finally got to the lovely collected canter I wanted, after a bit of wrangling and negotiation. She quite likes a wrangle. Some days, she is docile as a dog, longing to do exactly what I ask; on others she lays down little teases and tests for me.

This is partly, I think, because of her character, which is intelligent, determined and sensitive. But it is mostly, as all things are with horses, to do with me. If I am calm and happy and filled with resolution, she is too. She does not like it when I am melancholy or uncertain or tense. I imagine all these emotions stream out of me and communicate themselves to her equine intuition and unsettle her. I think: you can’t really indulge yourself with horses. You can’t just fall into your own rotten day, and pick at old sorrows and new hurts. You have to be bright and bonny and blithe. I think it’s probably not a bad psychological exercise.

Out in the world, the government is bombing its citizens in Syria, and two policewomen were shot in Manchester, and the ripples from Mitt Romney’s comment that 47% of the American people were victims, dependent on the government, refusing to take responsibility for their own lives, continues to roil the election campaign. With all this going on, the most read story on the Guardian website today is a review of the new iPhone. I did not even know there was a new iPhone, but apparently it’s top news.

In my own small world, someone did something so kind and generous and thoughtful last night that I was lost for words. It was one of those random acts of kindness that are quite small, but have a profound impact. My equilibrium steadied and my heart expanded. Humans are sometimes very marvellous indeed.

As I drove back from evening stables last night, with the wild low sun dancing over the blue of the hills, I suddenly realised what all this was; this equine obsession, this thin skin, this paradoxical combination of deep joy and emotional fragility. It’s such a cliché I can hardly even type it, although I suppose it is slightly less of a cliché than what I had originally diagnosed, which was straightforward mid-life crisis. The reason I am doing all this, and the reason I write about it so much, and the reason I become so quickly heartsick in the face of set-back, is that it is all to do with my father.

Oh, God, BATHOS ALERT. Move quietly to the exits as the klaxons wail. Also, I tell myself, really quite crossly, could you not just be a bit more original? And, and, it’s not as if everyone doesn’t have parents who die.

But there it is. I must have reasons for things, and now I have my reason. All this watching of racing, and working with Red, and naughty betting, is not just a way of keeping a connection with my dad, because he was a racing man, and a Thoroughbred man, and a riding man, but also (I am cringing as I write this) to make him proud.

I did a job he did not understand; he was not a literary fellow. He would pat my hand very vaguely when the subject of my books came up. But if he could have seen me this afternoon, working out whether to go for the in-form Mark Johnston yard or the slightly better rated Michael Stoute runner, he would have been fascinated. He would have liked to have seen me wrangle with my determined mare. And I am really quite pissed off at him that he went and died before he could.

So that’s that, and I shall not speak of it again. I really don’t know why I tell you all this, but then, I think the only point of a personal blog is authenticity. And what I really like is when the Dear Readers say, oh yes, I’ve had that exact thing too, and you can’t get that unless you tell the truth.

 

That’s another 800 words to add to the tally, so my head is about to explode. Brain says: can’t do pictures this evening. You just get these two lovely faces on which to rest your tired eyes:

19 Sept 1

19 Sept 3

And Red’s View, because there must always be a view:

19 Sept 4

24 comments:

  1. I quite definitely have that too about my own father. He was an English professor and when he died I inherited his astonishing collection (the Twickenham ed. of Pope, complete; ditto Swift, Johnson, etc etc etc-- just gorgeous) and, though we'd often talked about literature, he never saw me go back to college to get my second degree, in English, and to go on to teach the subject at the high school level. And I wish so badly that he had.

    I am sorry that you're feeling that too. I don't know if they know what we're up to, but it would be nice if they did, wouldn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ellie - Oh, it is a regret. But I love the sound of your father with his glorious library. Thank you for telling me.

      Delete
  2. My dad was an engineer, and a fine gardener, too. I was very angry with him because I did not learn his gardening skills or wisdom by heart. But I forgave both of us when I realized he would be proud I endured and succeeded, just as he did.

    Your skills, of the mind and body, are inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joanne - such a lovely thing to say. And I love the thought of the gardening engineer.

      Delete
  3. I watched "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" today and had a good cry for my own dad. The little girl in the movie felt just the way I did... that it couldn't possibly have actually happened.

    I think Red's favorite view of all is you, coming toward her across the field.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marcheline - the thing about Red is the nicest thing you could ever say. Thank you.

      Delete
  4. Today my eldest daughter did a small thing (in the scheme of things) and I could have wept. It was pride, and I don't approve of pride at all because, as we know, it comes before a fall. But then I thought again, through my suddenly very rheumy eyes and realised I was channelling my late grandmother because I felt that I was the love of her life and she was mine (and I am sure that she gave that feeling to all of us). So I will be proud of my children, because I know that she would have sat in her chair and wept a little for happiness in the small happenings today and in that way she never leaves us and I can tolerate a prideful moment for that reason alone.

    We are not just left our genes, we are left ways of being by our loved ones and sometimes we must just slip silently into these things because we are a part of those we have loved and lost and it is an involuntary reflex.

    That's what I think anyway. I like that you are not afraid to write it because it has helped to clarify my thoughts. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Makemeadiva - what an enchanting comment. I always feel a bit angsty after revealing private emotion here, but your comment is exactly, exactly why I do it. Thank you.

      Delete
  5. It all makes sense to me, clear as day. You wanted to be near him :-) Lou x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lou - you are, as always, so lovely. Thank you.

      Delete
  6. Introspection is a blessing and a curse, no? And I'm sure your father sees everything you do with Red, and smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wranglerkate - such a very lovely thing to say; thank you.

      Delete
  7. My first thought when you introduced Red to us was that you had found a lovely way of being with your Dad still. I hope I don't sound too Psychology 101 but to me it makes perfect sense.
    I still do things that I know connect me to my Dad and he died when I was 18 - it doesn't matter how old we are, it's natural to want to make our parents proud :) xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Em - how wise you are. Lovely comment; thank you.

      Delete
  8. This post and these comments couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. I've only recently begun to recognise (with a shock!) that same strong instinct in myself, and sometimes I don't know where my 'growing up' begins and my enjoying the comfort of connections with my late father ends.

    I also feel sad that he's not around now to see how I'm turning to the same things that were important to him. But then, if he were, I suspect I probably wouldn't be.

    This reminds me of a past post of yours Tania, where you talked about how grief isn't temporary; rather it's a permanent shift. That also struck a chord and I can see this might be another way in which you might one day look back and acknowledge a permanent change in yourself. But hopefully a more positive change, since it's a nicer side to grief, I think.

    It's good to know you're not alone, and it's something I've never heard talked about before. So a here's a big thank you (all) for your honesty and authenticity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hannah - this is so wonderful, really the best thing you could possibly have written. Thank you so much.

      Delete
  9. Our Best Bbeloveds live on in our memories long after death, and in our DNA if we are descended from them, and we continue in a relationship with them where we can imagine them reacting as they would have done in life to events they cannot ever witness. The part of you that is like, and of and from your dad is pleased that you are giving time and effort to a pursuit he well understood.

    I get the same when I decorate a room (from my dad) or cook up a storm (from my mum). I know they would be proud because I can see that I have approached, reached, or even occasionally surpassed, the high standards that they set when alive.

    It's called being a chip off the old block, and I bet your siblings can see it in you too, even if they never says so in as many words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goldenoldenlady - LOVE the chip off the old block; I am going to hold that thought close to my heart.

      Delete
  10. Reading that loud and clear. My dad gave me horses, which means a great part of my life over and above the usual parental influence.

    You are passing on your love for horses -- the whys, the hows, the joys, the pain. Your dad must be smiling.

    Bird

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bird - oh, that makes ME smile. Thank you.

      Delete
  11. Jimmy Choo Shoes all 30% discount

    Jimmy Choo Shoes
    jimmy choo wedding shoes
    Jimmy Choo Boots
    jimmy choo Sandals Champagne
    jimmy choo heels
    Jimmy Choo Wedges
    Jimmy Choo Flats
    Welcome to our [url href="http://www.uubc.net"]Jimmy Choo America Shoes [/ur]Store Online. jimmy choo Leather Sandals
    Jimmy Choo Bridal ShoesSliver is a delicate and pretty choice with dresses or pants. These dainty Jimmy Choo Shoes work well with feminine attire, offering an option that works well if you prefer a lower heel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh bog off taotao. The only shoes Tania & Co might be all that interested in come from the farrier, and nowadays even her equines go barefoot...

      Delete
    2. Goldenoldenlady - BEST comment. Making me laugh a lot. And spot on. :)

      Delete
  12. Oh this makes complete sense. I hope finding the reason helped.

    ReplyDelete

Your comments give me great delight, so please do leave one.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin