The weather on our little island in the Oslo fjord rather suits my moods. I don't actually mind looking out across the bay, the lovely, familiar view, and seeing dark grey rain clouds, shot with sea birds. The sea is a slate color too and far, far in the distance the encouraging flat bottoms of cumulus clouds. Every time we roll in the awning, which is on the deck and keeps the table and chairs dry, the rain comes again, dark and ferocious, but this is novel. My skin is bright and puffy from the moisture, not drawn, as it is in Los Angeles. In between showers, we walk, and the delicate ceiling of oak leaves is euphorbia green, an impossible cover, bursting with chlorophyll. But the grey sea, the little flat islands, the pine trees, the sound of the gulls, the one or two boats, is familiar, comforting, home. I am in my happy place.
A new landscape, relaxing after the frenetic pace of work, and calls and emails, a quiet house by the sea with sporadic internet, is that one's mind becomes freed up too, to think about things that were easier to tamp down, to delve into the harder things. I burst into tears this morning, thinking about Jelly, as I did a week ago at the Royal Academy summer exhibit, presented with a painting of a horse lying down on the ground, his rider lying on top of him. The hardest thing is wondering whether one has done the right thing. Yes, I had two vets agree it was right, and I know, intellectually it was the kind decision, but my heart aches. I can't bear to think of him struggling not to go down on his knees when the shot took effect, and my arms around his still warm, furry body as he lay in the dirt, my brave, handsome boy. It is quite incredible to think that a huge 16.2 horse, a blood horse, full of energy and adrenaline, and twitching muscles, could be rendered completely and utterly still within a matter of a few minutes.
And then the sun comes out. The raindrops glisten on the top of the hedge as hundreds of tiny prisms. The blue overpowers the grey. Swallows circle, delightedly.