A huge day. An epic day. Everything was vast.
I had a huge conversation with The Oldest Friend. As if we had not covered enough yesterday, today we ranged over the Brontes, the dark woods of the middle of life, literary figures who are surprisingly dull and charmless off the page, the best way to help a friend in need, and the rather astounding fact that Salman Rushdie is surprising fun at parties. (Apparently she has this one on good authority.)
I had a huge ride on the red mare. She started the day galloping about the set-aside under her own steam, as if the Triple Crown depended on it, and within half an hour she was riding three miles into the hills on a loose rein with her dozy donkey ears at their doziest and donkiest. I was so proud of her. She’s been off work for a long time with a wrenched neck from a mysterious field incident and she’s forgotten nothing. In fact, she’s better now than she has ever been. All the things that used to terrify the life out of her, she now takes in her calm and queenly stride. I wonder whether it has something to do with the sweet, gentle work her young friend Isla patiently did with her all summer. Isla is just twelve, and she could have spent her school holidays going to parties or snap-chatting or whatever it is the Young People do. She chose instead to come and see the red mare three days in every week, and she walked her out in hand and did special remedial exercises with her and gently brought her back to health and happiness. It did not seem to matter to my youthful rider that she could not leap into saddle and canter off across the green fields. She did, with love and care, what I suspect most children and many grown-ups would find quite dull. And now the red mare rides into the hills with boldness and confidence and peace in her heart. I don’t think that is a coincidence.
And then, rather to my astonishment, there was a huge amount of work. I’ve been spinning my wheels lately, doing that awful busy-work which doesn’t really add up to much. You put words on the page but they are not good words, or they are the wrong words, or they are the right words in the wrong book. Today felt like something meaningful and real.
After all that my brain makes its traditional phttt noise and switches itself off, so that I have no idea whether any of this makes any sense or not. But The Dear Readers were so dear yesterday and today was such a huge day that I wanted to write something, even if it is not precisely prose that will blow your stockings off.
It was a good day. At this stage in my life, I don’t take those for granted.