6.02pm on a Friday and I’m still working. I have another hard deadline, and it’s full speed to the finishing line. Although sometimes I think I shall never be finished. There is always another draft.
I had no interest in the eclipse, but I ran into a gentleman with some welders’ glass and looked at it through that and at once was enchanted. A shadow fell over the world and I could see why the ancients thought eclipses a portent of dark doings. It was oddly moving and dramatic.
Rode the mare, fed the mare, adored the mare. Walked the dog, raced up to HorseBack, cantered about with my camera, shouted with excitement at all the good work, had much happy conversation. Went home and did the HorseBack Facebook page which took ages, because there were so many pictures to choose from and so much to say.
Edited, edited, edited. Then, in a spurt of bonkersness, wrote almost 3,000 new words. The emphasis has shifted slightly, and more needs to be said than I thought. Had a moment of slight panic. Ate some cheese. Watched a delightful Hunter Chase, almost my favourite kind of race in the world. Did some more editing. Ruefully regarded my muddly office and decided it would have to wait for another day. All that is important now is getting this damn draft right.
Somewhere, vaguely, on the internet, I saw that it was the International Day of Happiness. Or some such thing. Decided I had to write you a long, long list of happy things.
Obviously it would start with THE RED MARE.
Find something you love and do it well; don’t compare yourself; look at moss; surround yourself with people who make you laugh; read a book; if at all possible, live in the Scottish countryside. Then my brain started fizzling as if the wiring had gone faulty, which is what happens at the end of such a day, and I thought: bugger it, you know what makes you happy. I don’t need to tell you. My own list is endless, and I do not have time to type it, or strength left in my fingers. Perhaps, if I had to boil it down, it would be something like – Be yourself, find your one true thing, follow your own goofy star, and don’t care what anyone else thinks about it.
If I have learned one thing in my life it is that you can never make people think what you would like them to think, and that even if you are a silver-tongued devil, you can rarely change their minds. So you might as well just keep buggering on and not fret about the opinions of others. Do your best, keep trying, accept that sometimes things will go catastrophically wrong. When they do, laugh like a drain, pick yourself, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
I talk a lot about kindness. It is up there with my most favourite virtues, although it does not get much press. Being kind to others is vital, but I also think one should be kind to oneself.
Someone said to me this week that when I bought an ex-racing thoroughbred mare, ‘we all thought you were mad’. I did not know this. I laughed and laughed. Perhaps it was not the most sensible thing for a woman of a certain age to do, especially one disastrously unfit and out of practice and ring rusty. Yet, on this happiness day, I think: that horse brings me more sustained joy than anything else I have ever known.
Every time I am with her, I hear the flapping wings of my better angels. I did not know she would make me a better human, but she did. When I am with her, all the dark things in the world fly away, and I am in the light.
Really at the end of my tether now, so just time for two quick snaps. No prizes for guessing what they will be of.
After the eclipse, before the ride:
After the ride:
I know this blog is very stuttery, which annoys me since I pride myself on my rhythm. Everyone has a secret pride and that is mine. But I have no time left to edit it, and so I send it out in all its imperfections, because learning to accept imperfection is a secret of happiness too, and it feels appropriate.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.