Morning light in the field.
Me in the field, ready to give the mares their festive carrots and some extra hay on account of the snow.
The red mare was pleased.
Lunch for one.
A very generous elf left a bottle of the good claret on the doorstep. I haven’t opened it yet. I’m just gazing at it in awe.
Back to the field to put out more hay.
A gentle half-moon was up and I stood and looked at it for a long time and thought of all the people I love who are no longer here. I thought of my little bay mare, and how this is the first Christmas without her, and how the field still does not quite seem the same. The red mare was rather piano, and I wondered whether she was missing her old friend. I thought of my stepfather, whom the red mare adored because he always cut up her apples for her just the way she liked them. I ran my hand up and down her mane and felt her soften into her deep place of peace. ‘We should not miss them,’ I said, out loud. ‘We should feel gratitude that they were ever here. We were lucky to have them and now we have to let them go.’
I thought of my mum and I thought of my dad. They gave me my love of thoroughbreds. We were lucky to have them, too.
I cried a bit and laughed a bit and sang the red mare a song, because she always gets a song on high days and holidays. She leant against me, dreaming her dreams. I could feel the life in her strong body, the vivid force that flows out of her – viscerally powerful yet as light and soft as air. She is so alive.
Florence ate her hay and let us get on with our reminiscences.
And then I left them in the last of the light and went home.