Friday, April 21, 2006

Spring Creeps Over the Windowsill



Ever since I was old enough to notice the world around me, I have looked for signs of spring. As a child, my older brother and I bundled up as soon as the worst of the bitter winter had eased and set out with a vague but intense mission to find signs of spring--any signs of green among the dirty remnants of snow and slushy half frozen puddles. Cracking the skim ice on puddles with our boots became the goal of the quest to hasten spring's arrival. We went home muddy, cold and wet and satisifed that even if we had not seen the signs of spring, we had urged it along.

Daffodils and birds building nests and the last snowfall after everyone has decided spring has come are common signs of spring whether in the middle of Indiana or in Caithness. And mud and sometimes slushy half frozen puddles. I walk now between the fields or along the beach but I still look for signs of spring and frequently come home wet and cold and muddy.

For most people in Caithness, spring means lambing. The first sight of lambs in the fields with their mothers certainly betokens spring, a season of new growth and hopefulness.

For me, the season begins when the cattle move out on to the grass. The oldest cows, walking slowly like well endowed mature and respectable citizens, kick up their heels no matter who is watching for the sheer joy of feeling the air around them and the fresh green grass beneath their hooves.

Even the brand new calves, who have not yet seen grass, frolic and dance after seeing their mothers kick up their heels. And for me it now means that my first glance out the window in the morning will be watching the cattle. After all the years of looking for signs of spring, I learned from the cows what to look for.

3 Comments:

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous molly gunason said...

your words are filled with such emotion I feel like I am in your shawdow, just quietly watching and enjoying the show.

 
At 7:54 PM, Blogger ZACL said...

There are lambs from late November on, at the sheep farm behind our house. The sign of Spring, apart from daffodils, really fuses and disappears as lambs at the back end of the year don't quite gel with the seasonal psyche. For us, we know the weather pattern is stabilising when the farmer can constantly leave his sheep and lambs out overnight. This is now late April 2006, and it has not happened yet.

We have had regular supplies of home grown swedes (rutabagas)since winter started and we are still getting some, in particular when the sheep (ewes) are getting extra nourishment for the care of their lambs. Caithness is a strange place for weather.

 
At 7:26 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

So glad it brings you close. I really want to share these experiences.

 

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