“You care enough, that you want your life to be fulfilled in a living way, not in a painting way, not in a writing way... you really do want it to be involving in living, corresponding with other living objects, moving, changing, that kind of thing.”
The first order of business after returning home was visiting with family and friends. Then was a visit to the orthopedic for help navigating the shock I put my spine in by walking 1,000 miles over the alps, and then, on doctor’s orders, a few days of air conditioning, movies, writing and editing photos from a resting position.
But I repeatedly had the urge to delete every picture from my phone.
I have a dream to write a book about my travels, but I feel a struggle. I don’t want to relive the past. When I begin to write I want to be as engaged in the present time as possible. More excited about the project of writing itself than the subject matter which I’m explaining.
After months of being outside and seeing things and meeting people and following signs, it is hard to make my primary project and engagement from behind a screen again.
I felt this yesterday, and I couldn’t take a walk, so I took a drive in the country - what freedom!
I had the idea if I simply went a way I hadn’t gone before, I was sure to find something colorful.
My route memory, though took me the one way I knew - across the highway to pass my childhood home and back again. I felt a certain suburban emptiness from my teenage years. I didn’t want to go shopping, or eat something. I parked my car to answer a text messages. I saw if one of my friends was home (she wasn’t). I accidentally bought tonic water instead of a seltzer and started to drive back to Greenwich.
I missed an exit.
I thought I found the direction back, but was distracted by a sign on the road, “POLO TODAY”.
I have had the dream of going to a polo match for a long time. One of the remaining items on a Pinterest board of summer dreams that’s 7 years old. Maybe I had the idea of coordinating a group of friends and planning a picture perfect outfit back then.
But there I was, alone in the car, feeling extra fresh because I took a shower and put on a sundress and flip flops (pilgrim black tie), with a completely dead phone/camera but readiness to go anywhere on earth alone if I saw a sign and felt moved.
I turned in.
Another sign “POLO 3PM”
Then “HAVE YOUR TICKETS READY”
I didn’t have a ticket or the time, but I went forward and asked the ticket takers the time. It was 3:10PM and I could buy a ticket there.
I parked and stomped my havianas towards the field.
“Hi! What’s your name? Are you working here too?” the teenage parking attendant said
“I just came to watch, but do you need help?”
It was okay, so I continued to the game.
I found a hay bale to sit on right in front of the field.
Since I wasn’t drinking, or eating, or with anyone, I could give my complete attention to the game. The dangerous looking falls, the thrill of a fast play, the spirit of the horses whinnying as they galloped by to warm up.
At half time, I followed the crowds onto the field to stomp out divets, a beautiful Easter egg hunt.
And though I was at a loss without my own camera, it seemed I found a lot of work as a freelance photographer when people looked around for a stranger to take their group picture.
Every angle was beautiful.
By halftime, I met the women sitting beside me on the hay bales, and they were wonderful to explain the nuances of the game and who was who on the field.
On the speaker system, they made an announcement. Someone I already knew was in attendance too- the most famous polo player in the world, Nacho Figueras!
What a special day!
Nacho Figueras and his wife, Delfina Blaquier, have been interesting celebrities to me for a few years. They are famous in fashion and photography, but are real horse people first.
I am inspired by images of them, and of their family piled on horses bareback, no helmets, galloping across their ranch in Argentina. They represent something real, that can’t quite be approximated by models or fashion or artifice. Though fashion loves them. They represent a way of living that’s a little wilder and freer. I think this is the energy designers like Ralph Lauren seek out Nacho and Delfi to bring to their brand.
Anyway, I felt that much better than buying something Ralph Lauren black label for this energy would be a chance to briefly meet Nacho after the match, shake hands, stay for the massive asado, kick a soccer ball with his kids, and just enjoy what a magical day out a polo match can really be.
I smiled for a picture, and couldn’t stop.
“He wasn’t supposed to be here today. He hasn’t been to the club in 8 years when he was here for a championship match”
One of my new friends with the authoritative scoop informed me over blood sausages on a picnic table.
She was translating from Spanish to English for me what he said in a a brief interview..
“He was just visiting some family in Greenwich and saw the “POLO TODAY” sign and couldn’t drive by”.
images via @nachofigueras