As if so often the case, twenty different blogs were written in my head on this cold, snowy day. I was going to tell you a perfectly thrilling thing that happened with Red the Mare; then I was going to talk about a good morning at HorseBack; then I was going to write about the use of language and why it matters.
They were all shimmering with perfection, as everything that is written in my head always is. The real trick, for any writer, is bridging that gap between brain and page. Some sad thing happens on the journey, and what was so coruscating in the privacy of one’s own cerebellum looks dull and second-rate in actual print.
But that’s a whole other story.
In the end, the day cantered away from me like a recalcitrant brumby, and it is almost five and my fingers are slow and worn and the last flashing light in my brain is blinking faintly, before the battery runs out entirely.
The small things, I think. That’s what I can say. I come back, over and over, to the small things.
An old friend who lives six thousand miles away sent me a photograph of her son with his new Labrador puppy. The email was entitled: The Whole Point. Another friend, who lives closer to home, said yes at once, without equivocation, to a perfectly outrageous last-minute favour. There was no hedging or sucking of teeth or that might be difficult. Just: Yes, of course. Someone else said something kind and encouraging about work I am doing which means a lot to me, and about which I am still uncertain.
Red the Mare did indeed do something marvellous: absolutely tiny in the eyes of any other observer; absolutely vast to me. She and Autumn the Filly then did a little comedic double act in the afternoon which made the Horse Talker and me laugh and laugh and laugh, as we leaned over the fence, contemplating our lovely herd.
We then walked the poor, snowy, muddy paddock, searching for green shoots of grass. The paddock is old set-aside; it has had a hell of a battering this winter. Sometimes we despair of ever seeing a patch of grass again. But there, under the snow, were little brave green shoots, pushing up against all the odds. I laughed and shouted and exclaimed out loud.
In other miniscule, barely-visible-to-the-naked-eye matters, I got back from HorseBack just in time to see the John Lewis van backing out of my drive. The kind gentleman was carrying vital Hoover bags, which cannot be bought in the village, and without which the mud on the carpet will never be removed. He was about to take the vital consignment back to the depot, but, just in the very nick of time, there I was to sign and take delivery. I blessed, as I always do, John Lewis and all who sail in him.
Just before lunch, I stood out on a rutted track, in the chill, clean, Scottish air, talking to a man in a cowboy hat about all matters equine. We can have this particular conversation for hours, and never tire of it. To the south, the blue hills were just coming out of their long winter white. His horse stood immaculately. I absent-mindedly rubbed the gelding’s neck and ran my hand up the sweet spot between his ears whilst the conversation rolled on. If I had not had to get back to my desk and do some serious work, I would probably be standing there still.
None of this makes headline news or has much to do with the price of fish. But the older I get, the smaller are the things which are important to me, which bring me joy and make my heart lift. They are the tiny pieces of the jigsaw which fit together to make a Good Day. And in the end, I think that probably is the whole point.