So I've been writing some pretty banal posts in order to avoid thinking about more important things. It's not that I mind a bit of philosophising about the trails around here and the people that used them years ago. However I've said what I need to. Several times.
I like the trails, and I'll keep riding them and taking photos. However I need to extricate myself from a writing rut.
It's not that nothing happens out there. Today I was reminded of how Brena can really feel a need to gallop when she hasn't been ridden for a week. I'd resisted this because I know that she can throw in a buck, sometimes exuberant, sometimes telling me to let go and allow her to run as fast as she wishes. I don't like bucking, and I haven't since being bucked off and breaking a vertebra some years ago. My back feels like the most vulnerable part of my body. So today we're passed by two cyclists on a section of the trail that is literally a hundred feet wide. Then Brena wants to trot, badly, and I allow her. She really wants to go faster, a deep inner urge quite capable of ignoring checks via the reins. Now the mare is cantering, catching up the cyclists. I know that she won't run into them. I know too from accompanying D cycling that Brena will naturally adopt an extended trot about a foot behind a bicycle. That doesn't seem like a great idea. So I steered her to overtake. There was plenty of room on such a wide trail. And Brena gave me a good solid canter without any bucking or other misbehaviour. Later on she gave me a couple of good gallops too, and it felt as if she really needed both.
Perhaps I shouldn't pander to the mare's desires? But it really feels as if she needs to run. I know that, and I pick a ride where we can go fast safely. And now it's sinking in that I can trust her not to buck or mess around if I just find her some nice going, give her a loose rein, and let her fly. I know that she will tire after a quarter mile or a half.
A little further on we encountered two incompetent middle-aged women with their out-of-control German Shepherd pup. The dog ran around Brena's feet barking whilst one woman shouted at it as if the animal were a naughty child. The other stood like a simpleton, and neither made any attempt to catch the dog. Brena ignored the noise and activity, and avoided stepping on the dog running around her feet. At that point Brena didn't ask to go faster, which I was grateful for. She would have cantered if I asked, though, and we'd have run half a mile with a young dog that thought all of this a fine game. It was tempting to tell the shouting woman, clearly the dog's owner, just how stupid she was not to use a lead. However I thought that she was making all that noise precisely because she knew that she was in the wrong. So I just rode off as she caught the dog and began to hit it with a rolled-up newspaper. Some people simply should not own animals.
And some horses earn admiration and praise when they behave so well in tricky situations.
There are people unfitted to care for children too. When I was a few months old the woman who brought me into this world dumped me into the care of social services. A child would upset the balance of her life and get in the way of her ambition. Years later she is a published author and a respected historian. And she still feels the same way about her progeny. Well, that's ironic. I love to write and history fascinates me. She would have much to talk with me about. Yes, and she would be reminded that my creativity and curiosity owe very little to her. I understand now why she can face all of history except her own.
I'm traversing a valley of rocks, for which the heading photo is a metaphor. Those rocks are the remnants of an overbearing strata long washed away. Some would consider the relics unsightly, an obstacle to agriculture or whatever. To me they add character. In one sense the valley is less "useful". And in another sense it is richer. My life is like that. That woman did some real damage, made me into an outsider with a rough and sometimes indistinct trail to navigate. But the outsider has a special vantage point, seeing more and differently. I can't change the past so I'd better come to understand what it did to me. And see the good in that which emerged.