I write 2872 words. Bash, bash, bash go my fingers on the keyboard. I see to the horses and walk the dogs and make my stepfather his breakfast and we talk about the madness that is Donald Trump.
Yesterday, I sat for forty minutes and listened to one of the most interesting men I know. Usually, when I see him I am in a rush. I have to get back to my desk, I have many miles to go before I sleep. I put my head round his office door, wave at him manically, perhaps stop for a couple of minutes of chat, explain why I must fly. Yesterday, I had twenty-seven things to do, but I made myself sit down and not think about any of those things. He started talking and I thought: oh, this is the good stuff. I thought: bugger the world, I’m going to get off. I actually concentrated on stilling and softening and opening my body language, so that it said: I am here, I am present, I am not thinking about what I have got to do next. I am listening to you and that is all.
It was a rather magical forty minutes. It was very quiet in that room, and there was just the interesting man, and his stories of things that I shall never know and can hardly imagine, and his vast store of knowledge. He is a seeker of knowledge, and he shares it with easy generosity, never showing off or trying to make a point or intent on making himself look good. He does look good, but not because he tries to. This lovely knowledge poured out and I kept still and mostly silent and merely tried to absorb as much of it as I could. I love the interesting people. The interesting people make it all worth it.
Oddly enough, I’d had some interesting stuff from the vet, earlier in the day. I’d taken the mares up to have their teeth done. One of them needed a post-operative wound treating. There was a bit of bad news and some fairly intricate treatment. I like to watch the vet at work and I like listening to him. But I could not be still and present in that situation, because all the frets swarmed round me like flies. My poor little mare, with her wound, and the threat of her bloody buggery sarcoids coming back, haunts me. I feel a little helpless and hopeless. Her wound is my wound. So, in reaction, I do a lot of nervy talking. I am tense as a guitar string. I take in some of the interesting stuff, but I can’t sit there and let it flow over me like I do with my friend in the quiet room, because I am too busy covering up emotion with pointless speech.
I always think the vet must think me a little bit nuts, on account of the pointless speech. I wish I could say: don’t pay any heed, it’s just that damn monkey mind, chattering fearful things in my ear. I wish I could explain that I can’t quite do the art of stillness when I’m fretting about that horse. I try to do matter of fact and hopeful and stoical, and sometimes I make a decent fist of it, but inside I’m wailing like a child.
She’ll be all right, that sweet horse. We’ll get her right in the end. And in the meantime, I shall go away and work on the art of stillness. I’m too damn old for the pointless speaking.