Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Power of the Dog

The wet weather has at last relented.  We've had a dry week and this weekend has been wonderful. The skies have cleared, the sun has come out and it's been splendid.  Everywhere has really dried up. Dry ground instead of the mud which we've had for months, even if the lower half of our field is still muddy.  We've had proper drying weather with a stiff breeze too, even if this breeze, coming from the east, has been cold.  We don't often get east winds, but it's always cold when we do.  But, overall, this should be the type of spring conditions in which one rejoices.

Well, we have been rejoicing in them, but only up to a point.  These difficult times make it hard to rejoice as life is going to be tough for everyone.  Toughest for those who catch COV-19, obviously, but tough for everyone, mentally and financially.  It's going to be hard to maintain morale but, while trainers are going to feel the pinch, it could be worse: we could be hoteliers, restauranteurs, publicans, caterers ... And living on a farm, which we effectively do here, notwithstanding that the farm is in the middle of a town and only runs to a couple of acres, certainly beats more confined and less animal-ful places at a time when one is rarely venturing away from home.

Physically I feel less under pressure than normal, both because the weather is improving and also because I have less work, which financially is not good.  But there's still plenty to do, and if I have more time on my hands, which I do, that is quickly swallowed up by doing the many maintenance tasks around the property - most obviously repairing fences, with replacing broken fence posts being a laborious process which under normal circumstances I leave until tomorrow, except of course tomorrow never comes - which are more than overdue.  And you'll probably find me blogging more frequently than I do when I'm flat out.

Anyway, as I potter about the place as my own handyman when I have a free hour, reflecting while I do my work on the sorry state in which we all find ourselves and realising that none of us has any idea of what the future holds for us or how long normal life (if there is such a thing, or if there ever will be such a thing again) will be suspended, I find myself becoming the central character on the final page of a terrific novel which I have just finished reading, The Power of the Dog, by Don Winslow:-

'He doesn't know yet what will happen, how long he will have to spend in this limbo, whether he'll ever get out.  He accepts it as penance.  He still doesn't know if he believes in God, but he has hope of a God.
'And maybe that's the best we can do in this world, he thinks as he gets up to resume watering the flowers - tend to the garden and maintain the hope of a God.
'Against all evidence to the contrary.
'He watches the water bead silver on the petals.
'And mutters the snatch of an odd prayer he once heard, which he doesn't quite understand but that nevertheless sticks in his head -
'Deliver my soul from the power of the sword.
'My love from the power of the dog.'


neil kearns said...

Hi John
With the lockdown are you allowed to use the gallops or are you confined to your own acreage ?

John Berry said...

No, we're allowed to use the Heath. The only proviso is that (obviously) people have to keep two metres apart, but when you're on a horse that happens naturally. Basically the horses still have to be looked after, it can't be done 'remotely' and it's an environment out in the fresh air in which 'social distancing' happens as a matter of course.