It was sad going up to HorseBack this morning and thinking of the good man who has gone. Everyone is hard hit, particularly the younger members of the team. At the same time, it was soothing, because there were the horses, and there was the new course coming in, and there was everyone lifting their chins and squaring their shoulders and getting on with it.
I think crossly about grief that it is not useful. It has no evolutionary utility. Humans tend to explain it to themselves as meaningful: it marks the passing of the beloveds as that great matter should be marked. And yet, the person who has gone would not be delighted that mourning and melancholy is left behind. Still, there it is: the hollowness in the throat, the feeling of unreality, the stupid sense of waste. It must have some deep biological root, since even animals mourn; elephants most famously, but horses too have been observed displaying signs of grief. The Pigeon pined for six weeks after the Duchess died.
My theory is: honour the dead by bashing on. This is not necessarily straightforward, but I think it must be true. So I do my HorseBack work and come back and write 1546 words of book and then take Mr Stanley up to see the herd. The Horse Talker and I brush our ladies in the blinding sun, so that their coats shine in the light.
The Remarkable Trainer brings her year-old boy to visit. He is ravished by the equines and very keen on Stanley the Dog. He has no fear of animals but only delight. They all respond to him with astonishingly touching gentleness, as if realising that this is a very small person, still a little unsteady on his feet, who comes in peace and must be treated with care. He laughs at them and feeds them delicate strands of grass and waves his arms in unfettered joy. He is the totem of life going on.
Mr Stanley says: please, please, please may I play with my absurd squeaky toy?:
Answer: Yes. At which point, joy is unconfined:
Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and there are dear relations staying, so we had a very lovely little party. I made what I can only call Luxury Snacks, and arranged some special birthday flowers:
No hill today. The camera battery died. Just imagine something very serene, and very blue.
Battery died before I could capture the horses with the small boy, or their special shining coats, so here is one of Red from a few days ago, because a blog is not a blog without her dear face in it:
(Slightly wistful look means: is tea ready YET?)