I went out to the barn intending to complete the treatment of the trailer's interior timber floor. That task I completed in a broadly satisfactory way. I would have liked to clean it using the nice Bosch vacuum cleaner from home, but have more sense than to try. So I swept the floor then painted it liberally with the timber treatment solution.
Whilst the floor was drying I slipped off up to the field, gave some attention to both horses, and was greeted by the vet who has a horse in the adjoining field. She adminstered Brena's flu and tetanus innoculations which are necessary if we are to attend a riding club camp in four weeks time. Indeed this is almost the last moment to start as tetanus requires three weeks between the two shots.
Then my phone rang. Well actually it rang twice. First D asked me whether I had fed the cat - Tiger who has just had several rotten teeth removed. He was making a pitiful spectacle of hunger and woe. Of course I had fed him. But thanks to splendid acting he received a second tasty meal of premium wet food. Clever old "Toothless Tiger".
Then a friend called me. She had suffered a panic attack on the previous day and wanted to talk about this. I won't go into her details, obviously, however I do have much sympathy for her predicament. I've been in that situation too.
Back in Transylvania, when I was forced to rely on an unreliable office manager, an untrustworthy accountant and banks whose employees varied from incompetent to plain corrupt, doing business could be a struggle. When I was out riding away from home five days a week I had to rely on the office manager and accountant as a minimum. There was a time when I was trying to make some investment and, frankly, whenever I was away problems occured. Telephoned instructions were ignored or modified. The accountant submitted paperwork with basic arithmetic errors. After a week guiding a group whilst on and off the phone again and again trying unsuccessfully to resolve idiocy I received more bad news of a financial nature.
At that point I began to feel quite unwell. I lost interest in my surroundings, vision receded to a tunnel and other senses faded away. My heart hurt. Without actually caring about the outcome I came to the conclusion that I was suffering a heart attack. At that moment truly I would have welcomed death. After so much struggle and such a lot of senseless opposition there seemed to be little to live for.
Obviously after a while I felt better. Clearly I am still here. I did make a long train journey to receive comprehesive medical tests which showed that I was physically quite fit and healthy. I have always been robust physically yet that experience knocked my confidence.
Only later did a doctor explain that I had suffered a panic attack. I wouldn't have come to that conclusion myself, perceiving panic as a matter of running around crazily out of control rather than an essentially passive experience.
What I felt was not an explosion of energy so much as a cloak of darkness drawn across the sky and all around me. It was like a curtain being closed on life.
That experience was the nadir of a lifestyle whose highs included wonderful rides in a wilderness of mountain and forest.
Clearly that splendid and varied life had strengthened me to the point where I could survive such a trial and remain philospohical. What does not kill builds one up.
The fact that place made me grow did not mean that I should remain there. Why remain and become spent physically and emotionally (and financially) in a place that, in the end, I came to outgrow?
I have emerged able to appreciate how a friend felt at a particularly horrible point in her life. I've been able to be there for her and give a little advice. I have been able to say: "it's not the end of the world" - which such attacks can feel like.
Life has moved on a long way since that dark day.
Not only has life become safer and in some ways more rewarding, it has put me in a position to use my experiences to benefit others.
Actually I am quite happy with that outcome. Gaining the ability to apply experiences is a precious gift.