I woke rather grumpy and sluggish after a night of odd dreams. Four hairdressers were fighting over my custom. They were all gloriously camp and funny and I adored them all and did not want to hurt their feelings by choosing one over another. I have no idea what this can mean. I cut my own hair with the kitchen scissors and dye it out of a box from the chemist. Perhaps my subconscious is trying to tell me it’s time to go to a professional.Sometimes, when I wake in a rotten mood, I write the day off before it has begun. I don’t know if this is a mid-life thing, my raging hormones getting the better of me. Perhaps it is just life. Anyway, today was going to be a written-off day. I could tell, as I brushed my teeth, that it was not going to come to any good.I took the red mare out for a ride only because I am still determined to find my debit card, which I lost in the woods. But then the day started to change its complexion. My grand thoroughbred was at her most charming, fascinating, characterful best. She was being funny and interesting and my heart began to rise in my chest. Then my dearest cousin rang up. You should not really talk on the telephone whilst riding a half-ton flight animal, but the mare was going along on a loose rein like a trail horse so I took the calculated risk.The conversation danced and sang. We told each other stories of the old days, which made me laugh so much I almost fell off. I talked the dearest cousin through the ride through the woods, so she could see it in her mind as she sat on her southern train. She was passing Swindon, I was telling her of the dappled Scottish sunlight in the mossy groves. She talked about Chekhov, which made me absurdly happy because I had not thought about him for a long time and I was glad to be reminded of how much I love that old Russian. (I rushed straight home afterwards and looked up three of my favourite of his lines.)And there it was. The day was redeemed. One grand mare and one glorious human had put my scratchy, fractured self back together again. I went at once to my desk and wrote 1472 words. I felt galvanised and inspired. The world was possible again.My life, this blog, everything I love – all are now composed of the small things. And in a way, a telephone conversation in a sunlit wood is a very small thing indeed. But having a friend who can put you back together with baling twine and glue is a vast thing. Having a friend who has known you for thirty years and seen you through all the deaths and all the despairs and all the heartbreaks is a huge thing. Having a friend who believes in you is an extraordinary thing.It’s such a sturdy, delightful, enhancing love. It’s not the thing of hearts and flowers, of wild romance and high drama. It does not make headlines or get written into epic films. It’s the enduring love of someone who is on your side, in your corner. It’s the love that can banish grumpiness and self-doubt with a wave of its kind, generous wand.It never ceases to amaze me, the friend love. It’s like the red mare, in that way. It’s a part of my daily life, so regular and usual that I could almost take it for granted. There is my grand horse, there is my grand friend. And without asking for anything in return, they give me glittering gifts beyond compare.
Thursday, 8 February 2018
The Glorious Power of Friendship