A most enchanted morning. The sun shone and the high clouds sailed across the sky and one of my very favourite members of the extended family came to help me with the horses. I wanted to get my little brown mare out for a nice walk, to start getting her back to herself after her horrid operation. We took her and the red mare out in hand, through the marvellous trees, along the burn, past the sheep, by the blue hill, back down the shady drive to the field. The mares pricked their ears and had a swing in their step; the humans talked and talked and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed. There was a huge amount of sweetness. It was a glorious way to start a day.
I think a lot about gratitude. Although I sometimes get a bit scratchy and grumpy with those blissed-out Zenny types who bang on about gratitude lists and Welcoming the Abundance, I do know they are right. Gratitude for all the small, lovely things that are sometimes taken for granted is very important, I believe. As we walked, my beloved relation and I said to each other, in slight wonder: ‘Aren’t we lucky?’ We looked at the trees and the hills and the sky and the lambs and the beautiful mares, walking sweetly behind us, and felt that amazing luck.
Not everyone wants this. A lot of people love the hurly and burly of urban life, need the shot of worldly sophistication that cities bring, thrive on the crowds and the culture and the antic street drama. We are two old countrywomen, brought up with horses and livestock and earth and weather. To us, the trees and the hills and bright air are as majestic as a cathedral.
I was still smiling when I went to HorseBack, and there I smiled some more, as I watched a group of young people rise to a whole set of challenges with enthusiasm and grace. They were inspiring, and I was inspired. I went home and did a whole lot of HorseBack work, whilst sneaking a peak at the charming Perth festival, one of my favourite race meetings of the year. My veteran friend, who was at the course, sent me increasingly jubilant messages as he backed every winner on the card.
Then I wrote some of my secret project. I have written many hundreds of words this week, and I suddenly look up and realise, rather to my surprise, that I have a book-length manuscript on my hands. I don’t quite know how that happened. I sat down and put my cussed hat on and gritted my teeth and said fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke and took a risk. It’s the most speculative of secret projects, and it could be a blinder or it could crash and burn. But I am in the home straight now, and I feel a little glow of pleasure and pride and rank astonishment. (All those words; where did they come from?)
Even more to my surprise, I realise it has been a good week. It was good not because I was straining every sinew to make it good. The stars aligned. I worked hard and I felt the sun on my back and I laughed at the dogs as they played in the long meadow and I greeted the new lambs and I wished the Queen a happy birthday in the privacy of my own head and I smiled as the reluctant daffodils finally came out. The red mare was at her most mighty crest and peak of sheer, raging loveliness. The little brown mare is healing, and her sweet spark is returning. I spoke at length to the Beloved Cousin, which always makes any week better, and discussed Europe with the dear Stepfather. I read a fascinating book about the Second World War and watched some old episodes of the West Wing, my standing treat.
I am learning to live without my mother. I miss her all the time, but that missing no longer tears my heart from my chest. I remembered my glorious dad, who died five years ago yesterday. I remembered him with love and pride and pleasure instead of the haunting shades of melancholy. I miss him too. I wish they were both still here, but I have them safe in my heart. They go with me now.
So, what with one thing and another, a good week is not something I can take for granted. It feels like a bit of a present, as if someone wrapped up something charming in a brown paper parcel and sent it by the post so that Pearl the Postwoman would have to knock on my door and get my signature. A good week is quite something.