I was going to write you a whole blog about why words matter, but then I decided not to. I’ve been editing all day and my brain is gradually turning to mush and it’s minus four outside and I didn’t sleep very well last night.
Besides, you all know that words matter.
Mr Bobby Jindal sadly had to find that out the hard way, when he tweeted ‘Your welcome’ instead of ‘You’re welcome’, to hysterical and pitiless Twitter derision.
Sometimes, words matter when you least expect them to. I had to write a condolence letter not long ago, to someone I love very much. I always feel that scratches on the page are paltry things, in the face of death. But I bashed on, trying to avoid platitudes, trying to put my heart into my pen. The reply came back today. The words, amazingly, had mattered, even though I feared none of them were the right ones. (What can one say? Really?) I felt the old communion, running between old friends, who do not see each other often enough, but who may still send out little arrows of affection, small balm to shattered spirits. That does matter.
Tiny words mattered this morning, in the arctic chill, from a tiny person. The smallest of the great-nieces had come down to see the red mare. She was defying the weather and wearing her special gold-sequinned party skirt. I know no other human who can get away with gold sequins whilst standing in a snowy paddock. She insists on choosing her own clothes, even though she is only three.
She regarded the mare for a long time, and held out a little hand to stroke the soft muzzle. The mare went still and gentle, as she always does with children, whom she adores. (A lot of thoroughbreds love children, I never quite know why. It’s very touching.)
The small person went on regarding, pondering, observing. The mare snuffled through her nostrils and whickered. The great-niece rang out peals of delighted laughter. ‘She’s so funny,’ she said.
That pretty much made my day.
Then the great-niece told me, very seriously: ‘Rabbits eat carrots so they can see in the dark.’
‘Thank you,’ I said, gravely. ‘That is excellent information.’
Well, it turns out that I did have a few words after all. And now, here are some pictures for you, selected at random from the archive: