I had to do the kind of work today that was quite technical and boring and logistical and serious. I was not running away with the smoothing iron. I was not letting the words pour out. I was not telling myself to let rip. I had to put my stern hat on and turn the dial to Rigorous.
I was rather dreading it. It’s a Monday, I thought, and this is real, trudging Monday work.
In the end, I had a nice surprise. It turned out I quite enjoyed the stern hat. I am better at rigour than I thought. I was expecting that I would see acres of mistakes, feel a little chagrin, even bore myself, as this is my fourth edit and I know half of this stuff by heart. Instead, I found some sentences were better than I remembered. In places, the prose danced. I even occasionally found something quite wise, even though most of the good stuff was shamelessly borrowed from people much, much sager than I.
It was really not at all bad.
I like to think I know all about expectations. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. I understand that the road to hell is paved with false expectations. Yet, I sat down to that work with a whole boatload of expectations. Luckily, this morning they worked for me rather than against me. I was expecting crap; I got daisies. This week, I thought, amazed, is kicking off on the right leg.
In the field, before work, when I was thinking only of my sweet mares, the woodpecker was pecking, making his whirring, rumbling tap tap tap. The first swallow has arrived, and was making his initial exploratory swoops. He’s on his own, and I don’t know how that works, whether he’s left the wife behind to come after him with the heavy luggage or what. There is a sweet jenny wren who is a new visitor, and a dear old robin who stuck with us all the way through the winter.
I looked at my little bit of wildlife and thought how lucky I was. I would not get all this, I thought, if I lived in the middle of Wolverhampton.
There were dear birds; there was a glorious thoroughbred canter; there was sunshine; there was good conversation. And then there was proper work.
Monday, which I thought was going to be a bore, turned out to be fine.