Sunday showed up rejoicing in sunshine, flowers and most charmingly spring lambs that bounce and flounce around the meadows and fields of Shiddingfield. The local farm held an open day and it was treat to visit to see patient ewes and their offspring playing.
During the walk to the farm, I spied black thorn, cherry and apple blossom. Magnolias were trumpeting their beauty against blazing blue skies. Forsythia lit up verdant garden borders. The verges bloomed with celandines, daisies and primroses. It was so warm I took my coat off and slung it over my shoulders and made my way to the busy lambing shed.
A young shepherd held a lamb gently in his arms, allowing an enraptured troop of children to stroke the creature’s felt-bound body. It dozed in the shepherd’s elbow while he told tales of shepherding and caring.
Then he lowered his tone and described how one woman had tried to make off with a two day old lamb. “Under her coat - like that,” The shepherd turned a fold of his jacket over his arm and the lamb disappeared. We all gasped in horror as we learnt how she and her daughter had tried to smuggle the tiny thing out before being apprehended, lamb handed so to speak.
Later walking back, I pondered the madness behind this cruel attempted theft. The infant sheep would not have survived long without colostrum and hourly feeds. Still, I thought, it would have looked very lovely on Instagram for an hour or so.
Whenever I have seen lambs born, I am impressed by the strength of the ewes,, tending to a new-born while still birthing another. We think of Spring as a season of fragility. The trees hang with tender blossoms, prey to every frost and storms. But still, I consider, the flowers have pushed their way up through cold soils and bulb. The sheep too are like spring in that they look fragile and a little silly with their panics and bleating. Yet in truth they are fiercely tough - pushing out new life. Promising renewal and love, chasing the cold winter away. No wonder we rejoice when we see them.
Enchanted England has a print dedicated to spring lambs, blackthorn blossom, blackbirds and cowslips. It celebrates this beautiful season. Please see our spring print here.