To get from the paddock where Merc lives to the arena involves a mini expedition. We wind our way up the track, keeping left; a trail of water trickles down the other side, making it slightly soft under hoof. We come up past the yards and turn right, and through a covering of Manukas, alongside a little paddock where the rams live until the time comes for them to frolic with the ladies.
It’s about this point that Merc always stops. His body is still soft. He’s not concerned or worried. He’s not trying to get away from anything or to something else. He’s simply looking for looking’s sake.
And these days, I look with him.
I didn’t always join him. Some days, I used to encourage him on, saying come on Merc, we have things to do. Attached to my destination and overlooking the importance of the journey in between.
His looking, and now by default mine, I now call view finding. He stops and I check in and I know: Merc’s ok, he’s just view finding.
His view finding lets me see details I have never noticed despite walking that same piece of track many times a day. At this time of year, I see mushrooms pop up, new ones every morning. I learned recently that there’s name in one of the native American languages for the energy it takes for fungi to push through the earth overnight, and I delight that someone’s noticing and care at one point extended to giving that a name.
Our view finding lets us consider such things.
We view find on rides too, just looking, letting go of the idea that we need to be somewhere else anytime soon. Merc understands his place as part of the gift economy with the landscape and has gifted me with remembering my place also.
May we always create enough room for view finding.