Friday brought a partial solar eclipse, which we observed in the office using a home-made pinhole camera and recorded using the camera on a phone. I suppose that my team must have stopped work for the best part of half an hour. Each of us needs to release themselves to wonder once in a while.
The eclipse wasn't total so far south in Britain. However the sunny morning darkened to a level; of illumination more like a heavily overcast winter day. I witnessed a total eclipse back in 1999, in southern Romania, an amazing experience that submerged the land in a peculiar blue-tinged near-darkness. Birds landed and animals stood transfixed as I watched the corona through a home-made viewer absorbing the unforgettable atmosphere.
Now it's back to normal. Today brought the first outlier of spring, a bright afternoon that felt warm in the sun. Now the bare fields are being ploughed and harrowed, exposing the rich nuances of a chalky soil.Tractors grumbled across the hills trailing clouds of dust. There's one on the middle of the next picture. In a matter of days a brisk breeze has dried out the mud, leaving the trails firm and the slopes friable.
It was a good day to be out. A day to ride and forget one's cares. From the valley we cantered up the turf of a quiet trail, both of like mind to enjoy a little speed. On a day like this Brena gives out a particularly positive energy, as if she is happy to be out and about. Traversing a ridge I gazed westward across a shallow valley where nothing was happening, the fields gently rolling towards the horizon beneath a veil of silence. I could have remained up there for hours, such was the tranquillity of the scene. However the sun was dipping. The shadows were long and deep when I returned to the barn, carefree and happy. Brena, like many a good horse, possesses the magical ability of being able to strip away worry.