It is late. I have been having a long catch-up on the phone with an old friend. I head outside and – the stars are out. For once there are breaks in the clouds and the immensity of our galaxy arches overhead and brings up that sense of awe and wonder that only darkness, silence and a night sky can. I use the light of the stars to show me to the stables and leave the lights off as I put buckets in each. They come up silently behind me, surprising me.
I linger outside their open doors as they eat. A bucket scrapes fitfully against the floor – Ben’s. Munch, move, pause; munch, move, pause, look out. From Rosie’s stable comes a constant munching, head never raised as every scrap in that bucket is eaten.
I open up some grass. Ben, finished first, comes out to stand beside me. I stride towards the grass, through the opening and further up, hoping that my momentum will carry him with me, so that Rosie can finish her bucket in peace and that Ben will not pause, as he usually does, barring the way to the grass until he has had his fill. It does carry him with me, surprising him I think, so that he does not put his head down to this new grass until I have stopped. Through the starlight I see Rosie’s silhouette, her head is down too. The night is full of the sound of tearing grass. The air is cold on my face. They say it will be another hard winter. I leave them to it and come inside.