I had toyed with the idea of taking a day off as the family gathers for the great moment of the Younger Niece’s 21st birthday party. Instead, I decided that the whole story of the HorseBack UK raceday at Perth had to be recounted for their Facebook page, and that was the day eaten. It is a voluntary gig, but I have to give it my most professional attention, stretching every sinew to get it right. This is because I am giving words to veterans and servicemen and women who have made great sacrifices for, as one of them put it this week, Queen and country. In the face of their grace and stoicism, the least I can do is give them the very best prose I can muster. I always fall a little short, and I always keep trying. I’ve written about the crippling dangers of perfectionism lately, and it is much on my mind, so I remind myself that the important thing is not to do perfect work, but to keep keep keep bashing on.
Funnily enough, as I took the mare out for a slow tour of the hayfields this morning, I was not thinking of bashing on, or trying, or perfection, or anything very much. We both needed a gentle moment of quiet as the hurly and burly of the coming weekend builds about us. I just wanted to be at one with my best beloved. Most of the time, I let go of the reins and rested one hand on her withers and felt her go along happily within herself.
And, as if she appreciated being asked no question at all, she drew on her most generous self, the part of her which is all ease, and she gave me such sweetness and lightness and responsiveness that my heart almost flew out of my chest. All the fineness of her nature poured out of her, as if she were scattering the very air with stardust. From a distance, it would have looked like nothing; just two old ladies mooching around in the green grass. Up close, it was singing harmony of such delight that I have no words for it.
Most demure face after the ride:
And off into the wild spaces of the set-aside, her favourite reward, where she may graze at liberty in the long grass:
My ridiculously long HorseBack essay is here, in case you are interested:
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.