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Monday, March 17, 2008

The Memory of Horses

To be around horses reminds me of being in the Holywood Hills looking out over Belfast Lough. (yes we too have Holywood Hills, except ours only have one L) The whole view, taking in Belfast city to the west, with its two huge yellow cranes, Samson and Goliath, looking toylike and misty at this distance. The Belfast Hills curving round the city and down the north side of the Lough. The sun setting behind them, late, in the summer evenings. The Lough itself, with container ships and Scottish ferries ploughing the waters, keeping to schedule, creating big waves lapping on the shores.
You can see Scotland on a good day, and unless it's a really bad day you can see Ailsa Craig, the strange, dumpy, gannet inhabited island that sits by itself in the Irish Sea. It's also known as Paddy's milestone, I always used to look out for it. Some days it looked so close, others it seemed to have floated off towards Scotland. Maybe it still hasn't decided yet as to whether it is an Irish rock or a Scottish rock.
For me these images go hand in hand with the comforting smell of horses and the sound of soft munching of grass. The reason for this is my one summer of looking after a horse when I was 17. It was idyllic and I have for ever after missed it terribly. Every time I am around horses I want it back. That’s what nostalgia is though, I never
seem to remember the winter months, when I used to stuff hay down my boots to insulate my toes from the cold, or trying to walk my horse on ice, feet skittering all over the place. Or the rain, the rain, the rain. No, those parts are left out of my perfect memories!

As I drift back into the present, I'm trying to remember why I started this post. Ah yes, the horses. Yesterday evening. Drawing at the Children’s Farm.

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