I’ve been thinking lately about beauty. I talk about it and contemplate it and count the blessings which brought me to this place where there is so much of it. I harp on about the trees and the lichen and the small, lovely things. But sometimes, for all that, I think I forget to look.
I’m so busy, rushing about, trying to fit everything in, that my glance has become cursory. Oh yes, there are the glorious blue hills as I drive on my daily way to HorseBack; there are the delightful HorseBack horses; there is the handsome face of Stanley the Dog; there is the gaudy loveliness of Red the Mare. There is my hill; here are the trees. Yet my eyes skate on, as I add, inevitably: I am half an hour late; I must write this; I must remember that. Even with my sweet mare, who brings stillness to a high art, I am often thinking of all the things I shall do with her: teach her to jump, improve her transitions, sharpen up my own riding skills.
This afternoon, I just went and hung out with her. The Horse Talker and I lined our girls up and gave them a bit of a brush and a bit of a chat. We did not really do anything. We just appreciated them, in all their delightfulness, and thought how lucky we were.
Instead of my usual dash at HorseBack, where I run in, take pictures, discuss things which need to be discussed, and then tear away straight back to my desk to do the Facebook page for them, and any other necessaries, I stayed for half an hour and watched two of my favourite horses being free-schooled.
It was a most beautiful sight: the aesthetics of the horses cantering at liberty with the indigo hills in the background were off the scale.
I went into the garden just now and instead of thinking of all the weeding and tidying and trimming I have not been doing (not enough time, not enough time) I gazed happily at my three favourite Scots pines. I can’t even remember the last time I did that.
I suppose it’s the old thing of pausing to smell the roses. I think I do all that, but in fact I don’t. Not enough. There is time to stop and stare. There must be time. I would do well to remember that.
Are two little photo essays of the equine beauty I let myself see today. Even if you have no interest at all in horses, I think you might like these for the sheer aesthetic hit.
And in my own field:
When I say we did absolutely nothing, we did in fact have a little play about, and Stanley the Dog came too.
We haven’t done a join-up for ages. I’ve never taught Red to do it properly, in a round pen. I just extemporised in a four acre field. The very fact that she chooses not to wander off into the green spaces still amazes me every time. Even more amazing, this afternoon, she hooked on straight away, and we did a little dance:
One more delicate Jane Austen turn:
Oddly, I think of working my mare like a gavotte in a Jane Austen novel. Everything very polite, everything a gracious invitation, everything with its own, 19th century rhythm. I don’t know why I think these sort of nutty thoughts, but I do.
And what is so very lovely is how pleased with herself she looks when she has mastered all the steps so perfectly:
At her most profoundly settled and calm, with floppy old donkey ears, dozy eyes, wibbly lower lip:
And then I just gaze at her in awe and wonder. How on earth did I get so lucky as to end up with such a person?:
And then it was time for tea:
Aside from playing with the horses, Stanley the Dog very much likes a hard game of stick wrestle with the Horse Talker, his new favourite person:
And here is double beauty, from a couple of days ago:
And afterwards I went and actually did look at the flowers:
And my beloved troika of trees, which remind me of great old elephants’ feet:
Rather tired as it’s been a long and packed day. I’m certain that there shall be typos. Possibly even grammatical howlers. Forgive.