I have done something amazingly stupid and wrong. I have caused upset to people close to me. It was not anything said, but things done, or rather not done. (The story is too boring to relate.)
It is the most beautiful still, clear Scottish day. There is glorious racing coming up from Fairyhouse. I had a ride on the red mare this morning such as dreams are made on, cantering about on the springing grass as if we had no care in the wide world. Her ears were pricked and her stride was easy and all was harmony and joy.
She even developed her own small fan club as we stopped to talk to a family out for a Sunday walk. ‘Hello,’ said a very charming small girl. ‘I am five and this is my cute little brother. He is three.’
The cute little brother stared at me for a moment, contemplating. He suddenly pointed. ‘That’s a horse,’ he said. I think he thought I might not have noticed.
They duly admired Herself, which of course makes every inch of my spirit sing and dance. She stood kindly, immaculately still, and let herself be admired, taking it as her due. I told them she was a very special kind of horse, a thoroughbred. I heroically restrained myself from telling them that her grandfather won the Triple Crown. I did not tell them the story of the day he won the Leger in a canter, with Lester cheekily easing up at the line. (I’m afraid I rather admired myself, for such titanic self-restraint.)
So it could not have been lovelier. But the moment I got off my good doctor, the one who cures all ills when I am on her dear back, the mortification returned. I feel it now, pulling at my body, sitting in my stomach like a squatting toad. It presses furiously on my head. I shall write a grovelling letter of apology, but still, the thing was done, through my own thoughtlessness and carelessness. I know I’m always banging on about people being human, and how one should make allowances for the flaws and frailties of mere mortals. But still, I am mired in shame, lashing myself with angst. I have been stupid stupid stupid.
It is not the worst thing in the world. Nobody died. The headlines of the papers today are all about the fatal helicopter crash in Glasgow. That is perspective of the most brutal kind. My own puny problems are barely visible to the naked eye by comparison. I must stiffen my sinews and kick on and not give way to self-indulgence. Lashing oneself is a sort of self-indulgence. The grown-up thing to do is to acknowledge mistakes, put right what can be put right, take responsibility, and learn from the error, not fall into a swooning pit of mortification, which comforts no-one and achieves nothing. But still, I wish, as hard as I wish for anything, that I were not quite such an idiot.
No pictures today. My angst seems to have paralysed my shutter finger. Just this wonderful sight, from a few days ago, the only thing at the moment which can soothe me at all. It’s not that she is particularly beautiful in this shot. She’s all hairy and a bit muddy and, whisper it, slightly portly. (I am putting condition on her for the winter to come.) It’s that she is so much a horse, at home with herself and at home with the world. Every inch of her great body speaks of authenticity and calm.