I had to do a lot of errands today, and everyone on my round was so nice it was as if they had done a course. They admired Stanley the Dog, asked kind questions about the red mare, made happy jokes about the Scottish weather, and, in one shop, restored to me my purse, which I had carelessly left on the counter on Sunday. Every single person in that shop had been worried about the purse, asked me with concern whether I had been panicking, were delighted to have it back in my hands. I ran out of words for thank you.
I rode my horse and did my work and chatted to my mother. I discussed the political situation with my stepfather, because that is what he likes to discuss, watched Stanley play with some of his best canine friends in the field, and contemplated making some green soup. (I almost certainly will make the green soup, although it has not yet been done.) I read a lovely email from one of my best beloveds and sent one back.
I’ve been a bit scratchy and glitchy lately. I sometimes find life quite overwhelming. There are so many things that must be done, so many decisions taken, so many frets and worries that are rather beyond my control. (I have a horrible desire to fix everything, and some things can’t be fixed. One must just be sympathetic and empathetic and there.) I am keenly conscious of the great good fortune I have to live in a free country with a roof over my head and running water in the tap. I sometimes feel guilty that I am not enjoying every minute of every day. How dare I fall victim to doubt or melancholy when I have ALL THIS?
That is when I have to cling on to the small things as if they were a life raft in a stormy sea. A glorious trot on an elegant mare; the dear kindness of the people in my community; the joy on Stanley’s face when he sees his ravishing Dalmatian girlfriend: all these are the small salvations. None of them would ever make a headline, but they are headline news to me.
Anchoring yourself in the moment sounds so simple, but it is very hard. I cast my eyes down the road and worry about what I shall find there. I imagine terrible crashes and disasters. What if I can’t do this, or don’t achieve that? But the world might end tomorrow, I might be run over by a bus, and I don’t want to miss my life because I am fretting about next week. This Scottish earth, this place, these people, this family, these animals, this work, this day: these are what must be important. Right here, right now.
Everything could be taken away in a heartbeat. I would feel really stupid if I had not appreciated what I have.