The sun shines, brightly, bravely, from a sky the colour of periwinkles. Out in the field, the red mare is happy and mighty. We ride around like old ranch-hands. I throw my arms in the air and whoop at the universe.
This week has been up and down and round the houses. I have had to remind myself that everyone has their view, their vision, their path. I feel the things I feel so intensely that I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that everyone sees the world as I do. I tell myself that false expectations are the enemy of happiness, and then I expect something all the same. The expectation is not met, and I feel as crushed as a small child who has dressed up in her best party frock, only to be told that she looks silly.
Not everyone, I think, is going to exclaim in delight when you tell them something that has made you so proud and happy that you thought your ears were going to fall off. Sometimes, the reaction will be an odd look, a kindly laugh, a faintly puzzled lift of the eyebrow. But I tell myself, that does not mean that the thing itself is diminished. The thing is still the thing, existing gloriously in the world, even if it is only in your world. And, I say firmly, with my grown-up hat on, you did not do it for praise or reward; you did not do it for claps on the back and marks out of ten. You did it because you love it.
I’m doing a lot of deep breathing. Let it all go, I tell myself. It’s been a funny, scratchy week, with little darts thrown at the heart. That’s fine. That’s what life is. Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune; the sorrows that flesh is heir to. It’s about balance, I think. Did the good balance the bad? Yes, it did. The beloved creatures were happy and beautiful; some work was done; there was a HorseBack day; the sun shone and the trees glimmered in the last of their autumn motley and I went and looked at the indigo hills. This morning, I saw the brave blue of the Dee, far below me as I hung on to the sturdy trunks of two silver birches, flashing at me like a beacon of hope.
Two old friends called, two of the oldest and the finest, two of the ones who go back over all the vicissitudes of thirty years. I hear the reassuring strength in their kind voices, laugh at the ancient jokes only we can understand, feel appreciated and got. Sometimes I think all anyone needs is to be got.
There is the kindness of strangers too, the generosity of people I may never meet who take the time to say nice things on the internet. The internet can be the Wild West, but it can be a place of consolation and kindness too.
The balance balances itself, delicately poised. The needle quivers, and comes to rest in the positive side of the dial. There is enough, I think. Stare hard at the beauty, hold hard to the luck, concentrate hard on never taking one single good thing for granted. That will do.