This morning I went on a walk. I wasn’t planning to, but I was all caffeinated up and ready to get going in my day, but I had 40 more minutes before I actually needed to get in my car and drive off to my first appointment. I could have caught up on emails, but then I looked outside and the sky was blue and cloudless. In England, especially in the autumn, this is rare. Even if there are not clouds, there is usually fog in the mornings this time of year. And so I was compelled to go outside. I have a busy day – lots of errands locally and then I’m headed up to London later – and as soon as I got outside I felt grateful for the few extra moments to do something purely pleasurable before the obligations that lay ahead.
Of course I had Ginger with me, and we started in the orchard. I wanted to see if there were any autumn raspberries left. There were. I stared at the new wood-burning hot tub for a minute or two. It’s our favourite new toy, but the wood is still that orange-y new teak color and I will be grateful when it fades to grey. I looked up into the only remaining tree that has apples on it. They have a lovely red hue that makes them visible from all over the farm yard. I don’t know why this particular tree drops its fruit so much later than the others, but I am grateful for it. Gingy and I then walked past the gate to the horse pasture nearest to our house. There won’t be any horses in it until winter really sets in (it leads into the barn where they are feed in the coldest months) but I like to look out across it towards the craggly Scot’s Pine trees anyway. Then we walked up to the old driveway along one side of that field and onto the next one to where the foals are. We still call them foals but they are actually yearlings. Jimmy and PackerMoose (what happens when kids name horses!). They are just hanging out and eating until they are big enough to start training to be racehorses. We raised PackerMoose at home since she was only a week old so she is quite tame. Jimmy not so much, and he’s a thoroughbred so he’s naturally more skittish anyway.
In that field is a circle of trees that Christopher’s father Robert planted the year he died, nearly 40 years ago. I think of Robert every time I walk by that field. I’m always filled with regret that I and especially my kids never met him. I imagine he would be so proud of Christopher and the life he has created for himself.
We pass by other family members’ houses at the top of our loop and say hello to the flock of black sheep. I held them all when they were born, but once they go out in the field at not-even-a-week old that’s where the personal connection ends. Besides, we eat them so I feel its best not to bond with them. And they don’t have nearly as much personality as the pigs.
Circling back on the new driveway passing the same fields but on the other side, the foals cross over to say hello again. Gingy who has not been seen for a while (she likes to do a round of the woods before catching back up to me), suddenly reappears, her ridiculous tail rotating like a chopper in large rotations behind her.
We take a little short cut across the grass cutting out the last section of the drive, aware that time is getting short.
Twenty minutes though. That was the length of my walk. That was the time it took to make sure I had a great day, no matter what else happens. I know better than to think that if I did this every day, it would maintain the same effect. It wouldn’t. I have to need it, and the weather has to be right – not perfect, but inviting. Sometimes the dramatic, heavy fog is as compelling as the glorious sunshine. And speaking of sunshine, as I am writing this my office has darkened and the sky is now covered entirely in grey, the wind has picked up and the temperature has dropped. But I don’t care. Because I will hold those few moments of shining, autumn warmth with me as I carry on with my day.