I took a few days off work. There were a lot of things I wanted or needed to do, but I was also tired. Funny how sometimes you can keep things together as long as you keep going, but when you stop, it catches up with you. The weather didn’t help, storm, rain and more rain. The storm was a serious one that matured into a gale, driving rain and hail showers horizontally across the land and bringing with it the inevitable power cut, which lasted until the following day. The storm ripped the remaining leaves from the trees and quite a few branches too for good measure, and stripped all the needles from the larches, so that our road looked more like a forest trail, covered in a thick carpet of golden needles and broken branches. I walked into my yard the following morning and found the wind had ripped an open bale out of the hay shed and the yard was festooned with hay and other debris left by the storm, but fortunately no real damage. Minnie and Cassie had spent the night at the bottom of the field in a dip where they had found protection in the lee of a row of mature pine trees. They were bright-eyed and fresh. I felt as if the storm had also drained off my energy and just about managed to look after my horses. Anything else I had planned came to nothing, I was just too tired.
Today it was dry, so I decided to take Cassie for a walk. When I opened the gate she ran straight past me, which was a first, and I had to wait until she had found a nice patch to graze on our lawn before I could put a head collar on her. Then she didn’t want to walk out through the gate, but eventually we set out. We were walking along for a while, until I finally noticed that she had both her ears back and a sullen expression on her face. I realised then that far from being in the moment with her and focussed on the two of us walking together, I actually had not been aware of Cassie beside me until I happened to glance her way. My attention had wandered to such an extend that the here and now had been erased. And my presence with it. To Cassie it must have seemed as if I wasn’t there at all. I even felt vague to myself. No wonder she hadn’t wanted to come with me. Cassie was walking without energy and she was almost falling behind. I stopped walking. Cassie continued on until she met the end of the lead rope. There was no connection between us at all. I tried to ground myself and focus. Errand thoughts and images kept trying to intrude. It’s ridiculous how difficult it can be to stop one’s mind from flitting about. It reminded me of a yoga class I took years ago. The teacher was trying to lead us into deep relaxation, but the imagery he was using didn’t work for me and my mind went into overdrive with an avalanche of random thoughts, fragments of music and odd images. This was similar, except that this time I found it difficult to bring my energy up, and at the time I couldn’t bring it down.
I took Cassie to a patch of grass and let her graze for a while. On the way home I focussed on relaxing my shoulders (which I find hard) and I tried to walk with a purpose. Cassie cheered up a bit and this time she stayed at my shoulder instead of falling behind. When we got home, I let her in the picadero and she rolled and rolled and rolled. Then she jumped up and galloped straight at me, coming to a halt about a foot away. She snorted in my face, then dropped her head and nudged my shoulder. Horses are our mirrors, but you do need the presence of mind to notice.