Here and Now #10: The fields of our own making 🐎

“I want to walk through life amazed and inarticulate with thanks.”
— David Whyte

Dear friend,

Over Easter weekend, I had the chance to return to one of my new favorite places in Uruguay: a beautiful country house and working farm, set at the end of a lane lined with eucalyptus trees. The name of the house is even more beautiful — Nova Era.

As you might guess, it means “a new era” in Latin, and passing through its gates truly feels like you’re walking into the beginning of something.

On Easter morning, I set my alarm and woke early. I put on my black rubber rain boots and walked through the dewy grass, down the lane of eucalyptus trees, to the edge of a field, where I could watch the sun rise over the countryside.

Then I said good morning to the four horses in the field whom I had gotten to know during our stay — one was dappled brown and white, while the other three had rich chestnut coats. They were always there, no matter how early a start I got, and they’d lift their heads and give me a piercing gaze before returning to their grazing.

Finally I walked back to the house, retracing my steps through the dew. It was still early, relatively speaking, and no one else was up yet. I thought about going back to sleep, but decided against it. I poured myself a cup of coffee, found a seat at a worn wooden table outside, and opened up the book of poems I’d brought with me: The House of Belonging, by David Whyte.

After a while, I turned to a poem called “Four Horses.” The title alone made me smile, as I thought of the four horses I’d spent so much time with on my sunrise walks. But then I read further, and soon all I was feeling was astonishment. With every stanza, I could vividly picture a photo I’d taken that weekend. It was as if I had not only spent the weekend illustrating the poem, but as if I’d also lived it myself.

When I read of the horses “sailing like swans,” I thought of the horses of Nova Era, whom I’d managed to capture the night before as they sprinted out of their paddock.

And when I read of the farmer “laughing in his grizzled and denim wonder at my innocence,” I thought of Wilson, the caretaker of Nova Era, who can often be seen wearing a faded pink beret, like those worn by gauchos in Argentina and Uruguay.

But of all the lines I read on that quiet Easter morning, there was one that moved me to tears: “I…feel happy today in the field of my own making.”

I’m still not sure what that even means, to be in a field of our own making, but it feels incredibly important — and I wonder if it isn’t one of the most important things we can give ourselves in life.

I’ve shared the poem in full below, along with some of my favorite photos from our time at Nova Era. I hope they send some of the beauty and peace of the countryside your way, and I especially hope that wherever this finds you, you too will find a moment of joy today, in a field of your own making.

With love,
Candace


“Four Horses”
by David Whyte

On Thursday the farmer
put four horses
into the cut hay-field
next to the house.

Since then the days
have been filled with the
sheen of their
brown hides
racing the fence edge.

Since then I see
their curved necks
through the kitchen window
sailing like swans
past the pale field.

Each morning
their hooves fill my
open door
with an urgency
for something
just beyond my grasp

and I spend my whole
day in an idiot joy,
writing, gardening,
and looking
for it
under every stone.

I find myself
wanting to do
something
stupid and lovely.

I find myself
wanting to walk up
and thank
the farmer for those
dark brown horses and
see him stand
back laughing in his
grizzled and
denim wonder at my
innocence.

I find myself wanting
to run down first street
like an eight year old
saying, “Hey!
Come and look
at the new horses
in Fossek’s field!”

And I find myself
wanting to ride
into the last hours
of this summer
bareback and
happy as the hooves
of the days
that drum toward me.

I hear the whinny of
their fenced and abandoned
freedom
and feel happy
today
in the field
of my own making,

writing non-stop,
my head held high,
ranging the boundaries
of a birthright
exuberance.


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