On nights like these, I think of the Ponies.
Inside my glass prism here in Dartmoor, I am safe, dry and protected from the elements that batter and berate the thick double-glazing surrounding me.
Usually the summer evening are fine down here. The western sun glides smoothly behind the distant tors and the night sky is coloured with myriad pastels that irradiate the night sky, like slow motion fireworks drifting through time.
But not tonight. Tonight heavy thunderclouds hang over us here, threatening to unload their heaving loads of moisture upon the land, turning the peaceful, idyllic moorland into a roiling panic of mud and wind.
Thanks to my grand conservatory here, I can witness what appears to be the end-times occur from the comfort of my armchair. This is the feeling that I had dreamt of before commissioning the conservatory.
My house here is of a modest size, but the old school design of it means that its been built with heat conversation in mind, not window space. As a result, the 18th Century cottage does a great job of retaining the heat created by the Wood Burner – but I have no way to appreciate the ferocity of the outside conditions. What I desired was a place where I could experience that feeling of being protected from within a storm – like I was the very eye of the needle itself.
That feeling of complete serenity is something that I have been chasing for a long time. My earliest memory of it is from when I wasa child. 8 years old, I remember visiting the Zoo, the thrill of seeing such exotic animals in the flesh had all but exhausted my little frame. On the long car journey back, I remember resting my cheek against the warm black seatbelt and allowing the pitter patter of warm rain drops hitting the car window to send me off to sleep. The murmur of my parents’ conversation and the background hubbub of the radio provided the landscape for my dreams – sending me off to the most peaceful sleep that I can remember.
I’m sure I’d be just as exhausted by a trip to the Zoo today, as I was all those years ago. In recent years, I’ve been searching for that familiar feeling of absolute sleep and ease – although it’s relatively easy to set up the physical parameters of the situations – it’s the psychological conditions that are harder to emulate. At that age, I was completely at ease in my parents’ presence (unaware of their imminent divorce in 6 months time) and comfortable with being cared for, content in that strange subservient relationship that exists between child and parent.
Deep thought, meditation and the hammering of a storm against the transparent walls of my glass fortress here is what I need.
Still, as I sink into my armchair, focusing on the light streaming through the window, the warmth of the nylon seat belt against my cheek, the soft murmuring of my parents’ talking – one thought interrupts my concentration.
Ponies. On nights like these, I think of the ponies.
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