The Pillowbook of Prudence . . .
Things that bear closer observation:
Whilst having a midmorning cup of tea, we sat on the back verandah in the sun and watched the resident swallows. Have they flown all the way from Russia, we wondered? They have renovated their nest above the security light and twisted my horse’s tail hair all around. They take it in turns to nest, one in, one out. Whilst one is in, the other sits on the powerlines and they sing and chat with each other. Occasionally they fly off together, not far, but with aeronautic tricks and tumbles. They are old friends and we welcome them every Spring. We also noticed that the ewes and lambs had pushed a gate open and let themselves into the paddock that they had begun lambing in seven weeks ago.
They had to be mustered and moved back to where they belonged. One ewe on her own had magically produced triplets when we had thought lambing was finished. Four of the rams, reared on a stud during a drought, continue to engage with any bucket of feed that comes their way, even though they may be surrounded by spring grass. Seven of the rams were moved to new pastures and one who is lame and beyond the mating game stayed with the horse for company. I learned not to turn my back on him today (the ram), as in a minor moment of bad temper, he stamped the ground, backed off and charged. (he’s normally quite tractable and follows the horse and I around).
I sidestepped but remembered in a moment that fellow farmers have had hips broken by charging rams. Today also, it pays to closely observe one’s Facebook account and make sure one hasn’t been hacked. One should also observe one’s manuscript before one get’s behind.
Things that don’t bear closer observation at all:
The snake that lay coiled next to my elbow as I leaned on the landing in the barn. The mice that scampered from underneath the hay. (Which is probably why the snake is in the barn anyway) The size of my ankle after seven hours work in the farmyard. Junkmail. Birthdays, not at my time of life anyway. Some Twitter messages. What’s not in my wallet. The scales when I weigh myself tomorrow morning . . . if I can either be bothered or brave enough. The fact that weeds grow far too quickly. The offal pit. What might be underneath the stones around which I worked today. The horse-manure that we picked up . . . a trailer load.
In this middle week of the second best month of the year (February being the best. School’s back and the coastal village is blissfully quiet and the weather stunning and filled with time on the water) everyone is conscious that Christmas approaches rapidly. For friends overseas, the weather draws in whilst our own days extend and warm and we unfold and get freckles. It is a time where I am mindful of things that I have observed: that a woman I know has my respect because she volunteers at Ronald Macdonald House one day, a residential home for the elderly on another day and the Dog’s Home on a third day and yet has the time to communicate and be a friend to all her friends. How can one not admire her? I am also struck in this middle week of the ten month, with the issue of exclusivity. Of social clubs for people who believe they are better than Mr and Mrs. Average and of sports clubs that foster the idea of exclusivity. I thank the Fates that I belong to a sports club where we come from all walks of life, where we pay little to join and where we don’t wear brand names or use brand name equipment and we don’t take ourselves at all seriously.