In one of the places where I stay, there is about a 5-minute walk to the nearest supermarket, and so, I do it often. Chocolate and coffee, you know, vital daily necessities…
And, at one point, you walk along side a row of houses, where, midway down, lives a lovely little tabby cat. That is all I know about her – which is the house she lives in. And, that she is my friend. As other people walk past, and ignore her, she sits on the little brick pillar at the end of her footpath, and watches the world go by. And then, when she sees me coming and I talk to her, she is all mewing and purring, standing with all four feet tucked into the little bit of space, and we greet with head bumps and rubs and purrs. It’s purely a happy greeting – I don’t have food or anything for her, she has nothing for me, but we chat for a few minutes and it leaves both of us with a smile. A very simple interaction, with no real point other than to make us happy.
A while ago, I was in Singapore, leaving a shopping centre, where the pavement passes the bus stop. It was 6pm and crowded with people leaving work, coming into the shopping centre, finding hawker centres for food, just the hustle bustle of a city evening. And there was a little girl, standing on the edge of the bus stop. She must have been about 3 or 4, and was there with her Mom or Nanny, and she was waiting for a bus to arrive. But, clearly, she wasn’t waiting for the bus, but for who was on it. She was so excited, going from foot to foot, knees pumping up and down as she bounced. Every few seconds she would turn and look at her Mom or Nanny, grin, even squeal, with joy, and then go back to looking ahead and bouncing from foot to foot. I slowed down, even more than the crowds made me, to watch and see what would happen… The next bus pulled in, and as the crowd all came out, there was a man, looking for her. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy”, she shouted, so excited that she literally couldn’t contain herself, wriggling with happiness. This was clearly a ritual that was quite common for both.
Daddy crouched down, open armed, picked her up, swung her around, all the time she was bouncing with joy. There is simply no other word for it. And, everyone around them started to smile to – how can you not?
How often are we stressed, or rushing, running from point A to point B and not taking the time to stop and smell the coffee? Recently I met up with a pony who I hadn’t seen for a very long time. I sat on the poles closing him inside his pen and we had a good chat for a while, him lipping at my hair and hands, checking my pockets for carrots, nothing pushy or bolshie, just a friend who was happy to see me and saying his hellos the best way that he could. Horses greet each other through touch – we humans may be happy with a smile or inclination of the head, but ponies need an actual physical contact. After a couple of minutes, I went to stand up, and he snaked his neck around me, effectively pinning me to the poles of his door. He was enjoying having contact with a friend and wasn’t ready to stop just yet.
How often do we just hurry through our days and through our lives and forget that a lot of this life is meant to be finding happiness? And, we are in a hurry to work harder to buy a fancier horse / house / car / watch because it is this that will make us happy, when in reality there are so many little pleasures around us much of the time, if we were just to take the time to sit and enjoy them… So, have you hugged your horse today?