Each lovely warm day seems like autumn's last, a gift to be enjoyed. For now the overcast and rain remain at bay....not for long, I suspect. But today the newly harrowed fields lay serene, milky with chalk: a roan landscape with dark green points.
We took a gentle ride because Brena had been adjusted by the chiropractor just two days earlier. She was down on one hip and I'd been compensating, and that showed up clearly on sweat marks below her saddle. But a quiet ride provided plenty of opportunity to enjoy the landscape and take a few photos.
Intriguing ridges and copses rolled away into a soft indistinct distance. What an invitation to explore a view like this conjures. On such a day it doesn't take long to ride into a world of dreams.
The dreams, however, are quite conscious. The words careful and deliberate come to mind. Unlike nocturnal dreams I'm not drawn into a surreal world of surprising meetings, where the only predictable things are the laws of physics (dreams have gravity, inertia and so on) and the regular appearance of Transylvania. (I never dream of my life before that eight-year exile, and rarely of my life after. What a draw that land exerts!) Perhaps I had better say that riding nurtures my imagination.
Even so I ride in the moment. I pay attention to Brena and our surroundings. I spot deer in the corner of a field, watch her ears swivel and look for what has caught her attention, snatch a glimpse of someone cycling a quarter mile away, and note a muddy spot on the path ahead. I imagine, but I don't ride in a daydream. Imagination is a joy, and a solid link to reality keeps us safe.
Still, it is fascinating to imagine a border down in those woods. Beyond lies a separate nation because, a millennium ago, steppe nomads made it this far. They eschew the ways of the "civilised" people beyond, occupying the land they were granted in medieval times in return for some military service or other. I am part-nomad for reasons of descent too complex to explain here. But that does mean that I'm allowed over the border, unlike most outsiders. I'll head down there again soon, gaining wisdom and honing identity. For I am a storyteller and a guide, that much I know.