Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Sharn and Silage"

It was warmer outside than inside the house thanks to a combination of broken boiler and unusually mild weather. It was just what I needed to get me back on my favourite walk up the hill. It is so much easier to walk when not hunched against the cold and the wind or dodging rain clouds. It has been too long since I walked so I was aware of my legs and arms as they tried to find the familiar gait. I was more preoccupied with my own thoughts until I was on my way back from the top of the loch.

I had passed them without even a glance on the way up, but a half dozen lovely ladies of the bovine variety were munching away at silage and giving me not much more attention than I had given them on my first pass by. It was the smell that called me back. Silage.

Silage is not the fresh green grass of spring, but it carries with it that aroma of greenness--of warm summer afternoons tinged with the slight disappointment of the first hint of autumn. It is a reminder of summer and long warm days and it is a lifeline to be rationed through the dark time until the grass comes again. For now there are heaps of carefully wrapped bales, but no one knows how long the dark and the cold will last or how quickly the grass will come on in the spring. All that is contained in the aroma of silage. It used to be just grass to me.

Sharn. "What is 'sharn'," I asked the writer's group, having found it in a poem by the group's tutor. The country people laughed. Sharn is cow shit--in the vernacular. More particularly, it is the loose excrement that makes a suprisingly round cow pat that dots the summer pastures. Like silage, sharn has some of the Caithness summer in it.


At 7:01 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Well, "sharn" begins with the same two letters and sound as our word.

There's a town in southern Alabama called Highland Home. I'm in the Florida panhandle now and saw it on a map. Very cloudy and promises to be same for the next 6 days. Oh well, at least it's warm and we're near the beach!


Post a Comment

<< Home