This continued for months, I found I was taking very little joy in any of the things I normally do, I was still too tired, too worn down. Whole seasons were passing, for me the Wheel was not just turning it was rolling along crushing all before it and I was hanging on to the back for grim death and gasping for air in the rushing wind of our speed. Eventually the universe decided enough was enough and I got the most awful bout of coughing and chest infection I’ve ever had, a week off work turned into two – highly embarrassing as it coincided with the London Olympics – you try explaining to work that you are not skiving to watch the telly…luckily a Doctor’s note proved that I was indeed ill and not holed up watching live wall to wall sport (well I was but I had a note that said it was Ok)
Course I still didn’t learn. The turning point came – once again out of the blue and with so many things for me it was linked to horses. A good friend of mine said she wanted to come and have a go in our cart that we put the LittleRedMare to every other week or so.
I guess a bit of explanation is required here, the White Horse this blog is partly named for is my old pony, now no longer with us. Currently in residence is my little red chestnut Shetland x mare called Ruby (or LittleRedMare to keep in with the theme of the blog) and the bigger 16hh Hanoverian x called Apollo or Ollie, also a chestnut, he’s on loan to us, called here the Red Horse.
LittleRedMare is a friendly thing, she will happily let anyone handle her or drive her at a walk, trot is a different matter. She can be in what they call in horsy terms ‘fizzy’ which means sit tight and hang on lol, all very well ridden but when you’re behind her in the cart this can be quite fun, or quite alarming depending on your current mental state and the circumstances. Friend had always wanted a ride in a cart. Once again my mind was not occupied with making it a fun time for her but how to get through Yet More Work. I was tired and grumpy. My partner went to catch the mare and get half an inch of mud out of a Shetland coat, my job is to get the cart out and check it, put the safety gear handy (if you think riding is bad try going out in a cart – two helmets, one whip, swathes of hi viz gear.. harness that was hanging neatly up when you unhooked it immediately twines itself into a knot and reins that are three and a half lengths of your horse that get under your feet and trip you regardless of how well coiled they were two seconds ago) and then what we call ‘put to’ which is to attach the cart to the mare
Well apparently I was not going fast enough according to Partner – this led to a row in front of the poor friend (who thankfully took it for our normal slightly dry banter) now Partner is also worried since as of December she’s out of a job and we might all starve – LittleRedMare and all. You get the idea.
In the middle of this my hind brain kicked in ‘what the Hell do you think you’re doing? Someone’s dream is to ride in a cart and you’re rowing over how fast you can get to the spare set of reins? Stop it – Now’
As simple as that – a sudden revelation, that moment when one suddenly understood facet means that another dozen all snap into mental place, the problem is not with everyone else it’s with me, and if that’s true of this situation how much more is connected to this? (and yes I can hear my one solitary reader going ‘d’uh!’ lol ) well once you get into that mental downwards spiral it’s pretty difficult to haul yourself out of it. At that moment the LittleRedMare turned her head, and from behind her blinkers gave me That Look! The one where messages are sent, and lessons are finally learned. Anyway haul I did – much thinking took place while friend and partner were chatting away in the cart and I was alternatively behind or in front of them manning the camera so the moment was kept for posterity.
Once the problem was identified it was like a cloud lifting, a particularly black one it has to be said, like waking to sunlight after a long hard winter. I spent much time thinking about this and looking back yes, it was as usual entirely me (you’d think I’d be used to that by now too wouldn’t you)
The ‘welcome back’ from the Universe was spectacular. I was out on the Red Horse, riding the local bridleways before the winter’s mud closes them. Around here they are no longer able to burn the stubble from the fields, it’s left to rot down naturally. For us horse riders it’s a wonderful time as we have unofficial permission to gallop over the open fields if we wish since we can do no harm to crops or land. For once the Red Horse and I were not galloping we were just walking around the headlands while I thought and the horse relaxed. The sun was low in the sky and autumn was definitely nipping the air and my nose. We turned onto a stretch by a wood that was starting to look dark with evening gloam, but to the right I was suddenly held spellbound. Over all the field was a fine weaving of spider web, every stubble stalk had been meticulously attached to the others around it and so to all the others in the huge hundred or so acre field, and every web was gleaming and sparkling in the late afternoon light. The whole field was covered in light.
Leading from me to the sun which was nearly hidden by an overhanging tree (so I was still in shadow to some extent) was a clear and shining path made up of this web, leading away over the field to the hedge (those of you walking a HedgeWitch or Traditional path will know the significance of this, the hedge being a metaphor for the barrier ‘between the worlds’ that us witches cross regularly). The path back – and one which I knew had always been there I was just too caught up in my own mind to see it.The lesson for me was that it’s not that you grind to a halt, it’s that you don’t let go of that which drew you to the Path in the first place, the path is always there, always laid out in front of you, but sometimes your brain is in too much of a fog to see it. Step forward with confidence and know that, in it’s own time, things will resolve themselves, the way will become clear and you will progress.
I tried to get a picture, however good a mobile phone camera is it can never catch the sheer magic of this moment – and that is how it should be – but you can make out the path under the sun. In real life it shone out clear and wide and came right to our feet.