Tuesday, 20 March 2012
I have several favourite words that are with me always - words like honeysuckle, friendship, love; but some words I love come and go with the seasons. Today of all days, the day of the Spring Equinox, when day and night are of equal length, my favourite word has to be 'vernal'. What wonderful, green imagery it conjures up.
And how our forefathers must have rejoiced in it - the day when officially Spring has begun. Does anyone know exactly when we knew this to be so? The day when greening up is set to begin; when, however chilly it is we know that warmer weather is only a puff of wind away. I might not know when we humans first knew this to be so but I am jolly sure that the birds have always known. Blackbirds are scratching in our front lawn, which the farmer has mown this morning. The birds are coming up with beakfuls of moss to line their nests - they are not slow to get started on the great breeding game.
Furthermore, the sheep are getting really itchy feet. Bother this lowland grass - we want to be back on the fells - back where the sun shines and the wind blows and the air is free for all of us.
This is all very well, but did they really need to knock down this fence in their agility trials?
Not much in the way of thanks to the farmer for a Winter of food and comfort is it.
We meet them when we are out on our walk. They are torn between coming towards us to see if we have any sheep nuts or hay for them to eat, and running away from a dog. Tess finds something = maybe a nest of baby rabbits - in the wall and barks madly. That decides it - all the sheep turn tail and run into the next field. Any day now they will be going home. And not a moment too soon says the farmer as he sets out once again on his tractor with his hammer and a bag of nails.