I know it sounds clichéd;
but this really has been one of those days when I think to myself, “what a wonderful world”….
Dawn reveals a stunningly beautiful morning as the sun spills liquid golden light over the tranquil shadows of the slumbering valley. The daffodils dance against the bright blue backdrop of the cool, clear morning sky; their delicate bisque petals shimmering in the fragile tenderness of an unseasonably warm winter sunrise.
After tackling the chores in mellow mood & after an easy, tranquil milking, it’s time at last to introduce our first three tender little lambs of 2008 to the Big Wide World outside the lambing shed. The first pair proved very difficult however as the ewe – Camilla – panicked & ran outside, searching frantically for her lambs; apparently unaware that I was carrying them, even when I put them right in front of her nose. And could I get the little blighters to bleat….? Certainly not, they remained stubbornly silent! It seems the mothers respond most effectively to their offspring if the lambs call; particularly with our flock, smell seems to play little if any part in the bonding process between ewe & lamb. Eventually I managed to persuade the ewe to join her lambs, in the field.
Meanwhile I was dreading moving the second little family unit: Acacia & her offspring Chickweed, who is a remarkably quiet lamb – unlike his little friend Corncockle, who is (usually) the loudest lamb of the lot, his lungs in rude health as his bleats bounce echoes all along the valley to the great confusion of his poor mother. But to my surprise Acacia duly trotted alongside me as I heaved the disproportionately-huge woolly bundle into the field with his little chums – who are, literally, only half the size of him despite being a day older.
I used this as a rare opportunity to ‘stop & stare’, leaning against the stable wall in the sunshine & observing the little ones, who were soon bombing around the field in glee together. It was a lovely sight as they kicked up their heels & bounded, bounced & bucked in ebullient play against the backdrop of the mountains & the sun-filled valley.
Being such a beautiful & unseasonably mild morning I opted to take my lunch – a steaming bowl of soup with a chunk of warm, crusty wholegrain bread – in the orchard. I sat at the creaky old wooden table set above the wildlife pond which looks down across the garden & to the mountains beyond.
The willow screen is shivering with silver catkins; jonquil, crocus & wild primrose peep in punctuating bursts of colour from the grass, & rich green buds are promising to unfurl on the stark brown canes of the summer-fruiting raspberries. The flowering currant is resplendent with dense, magenta-tasselled blooms, starkly contrasting with the adjacent vibrancy of the deep, lemon yellow of forsythia flowers. Curiously the forsythia is a member of the olive family; prized in Chinese herbology, its wood is used to bow a Korean stringed instrument called an ajaeng. The sun bathes the sweep of fields & hills in honeyed radiance; & the Frenni Fawr’s wooded peak is a dappled, moving canvas of shadow & light as lamb-soft clouds drift lazily in the cerulean sky.
I pause after my simple meal to idly peruse a book for an hour or so; such beautiful tranquility deserves to be savoured. There’s work to do, an ever-growing list of tasks labelled ‘Urgent’, ‘Very Urgent’ or ‘Do By Yesterday’; but if you don’t seize the day, if you don’t live in the moment, then it’s already too late, it’s passed; & like so many moments, an opportunity lost in time.