Hard times - forward motion and focus

I have become used to not having any money in the bank but the credit in my ‘wellness’ account is very healthy. I was let go from my Celtic tiger engineering job a year ago, luckily my husband was able to secure a mechanics job when his business folded. It was hard to adjust but we are lucky to be able to hang on here on our small farm and just about cover the bills.

I have two young children and since then have been able to invest lots of time in them. I have taken up a part time volunteer’s job that has been very rewarding. I started running which has been fabulous and have met so many new people as everyone is running; no one can afford a gym subscription now.

I am doing a government funded accounting course which is wrecking my head, but also sorting out that area that I was never confident about. I have had time to devote to my writing, which fulfils some deep creative need and I am nearly ready to lodge a planning application to convert the farm shed into a café for a nature walk. Everyone is coming down to earth and realising that a healthy bank account doesn’t necessarily mean they are wealthy.

I trained a four year old pony over the winter and he is going to Galway County Show in two weeks time. As he has to be fat and shining and also ridden by a child I took him for a long ride yesterday morning to settle him down.

 It was his first time on the road, as he has only just been shod, and although I left very early to avoid traffic and it was a bank holiday, we still managed to meet a vast array of vehicles including a JCB and two gigantic silage tractors and trailers. He was excellent with the traffic although strangely afraid of a cow standing suspiciously on the horizon. We had a huge argument about not turning back and going home, which I won, luckily.

Part of the route took us down a long straight road called the New Line. It cuts through a huge expanse of Burren limestone pavement and is unsullied by poles or wires. It’s like the moon. It was one of the original sites considered for Shannon Airport. Bloody Cranesbill is flowering at the moment, splashing shocking pink here and there and orangey-yellow hills of Birdsfoot trefoil are dotted around amongst the scattering of Michaelmas daisies. A lone hare lolloped down the road ahead of us. It was drizzling with that warm, early morning, Evian spray of summer rain.

We surfed along on endorphins feeling serene. It was like that delicious plane between wake and sleep when your brain has not shut off but it has stopped accepting any signals of physical or mental stresses.

Recovering from yet another wedding I was watching a bit of “Oprah” and Portia de Rossi was promoting her book. She introduced her mare and proclaimed ‘she saved my life.’ To many that may sound sensational, but I understood.

When I was a young girl in the pit of depression, with a tiny baby, living in a small cottage with no running water or electricity and locked in the mental prison of a controlling relationship I pinned the last thread of my will to exist, and my last few pennies, on a small, untrained five-year-old chestnut gelding. He was a problem, a runaway.

He taught me that there was only one option- forward, and any obstacle could be overcome if you focus on the far side. He pulled me out of the pit, and took me to many exciting places. He is 28 now and although I was offered 50,000 punts for him after he won his first event, he is still out the field eating grass.

So I understand. 

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