Wednesday, April 13, 2016

perpetual winter






It's been unseasonably cold. We're in the middle of lambing at Worlds End. Coming up to my office to write this, I check the calendar because I have no idea what day it is. April 10.
The stream is frozen slightly, a crust breaks on the stones when I cross it to check lambs at 3:30 and 6:30am. The dogs don't come with me because they are lazy; one eye on me as I prep in the dark; a memo received: not in my job description.



At dinner last night we all discussed naming genres for this year's lambs; suggestions welcome. One of my sheep mentors named all of her lambs after Russian authors one season which I thought was so smart. I like the idea of Russian literature because it seems so serious, laced with pain and vodka.

I'm reading about the big bang again. And the idea of the Ekpyrotic Universe.
Which I like because it rhymes with 'erotic.'  Minus a syllable.
In the Ekpyrotic model you might imagine the universe as a rubber mat with lots of people sitting on it, stretching out infinitely - everyone becomes the center of their own universe on this rubber matt; there is no middle. When you reverse it, you are traveling in time back to the singularity, everyone gets closer together. It gets hotter. Then everyone is right up against each other. Then everyone's atoms are inside everyone else's atoms. At that moment the universe has nearly infinite density and temperature. I read this line and it makes me feel a rush; my chest feels physically full for a minute. I realize I am very exhausted and feeling all the things more than usual.

Next day.



3:30 I find a baby white ram lamb standing next to Dotty in the light of my headlamp. After a lot of commotion I've got them inside the barn in a lambing jug, Eric is on the way up and a second lamb is presenting really perfectly thank god; last year Dotty had a lamb stuck in her and both of us were elbow deep inside this ewe before we could get it out.



The second is born, black with white spots.
Dotty cleans her second baby off and then oddly rejects it - headbutting it around the stall like a football. Watching this is horrific. All this cold, confused newborn lamb wants is to be next to its mother. In her inexplicable hormonally charged rage against her second lamb, Dotty pinns my wrist at one point between her horns and the sidewall. Eric asks me if it's broken because I'm crying and being dramatic. Part of why I'm crying is because I'm tired and feeling sorry for myself and wanting to be tougher but just not being very tough right now.

When you are in the middle of learning a lesson, you don't realize it until after it's over...




During the daytime, I take walks in the woods in between lamb pen checks.
I'm reading about the ancient greeks and stoicism.

Stoicism: nature as divine consciousness. The order (and 'disorder') of the universe is behind the mystery of fate. Stoics taught that people could be free of suffering and achieve peace of mind through true objectivism. By bearing witness to nature we can see the equanimity in it's highs and lows.
That in passion lies the root of suffering.

I am reading this stuff and I'm not sure I like it.



Spring will be here soon enough. All lambs will be born and either live or die, everywhere. Mud and snow will dissipate; perennial weeds appearing first, almost impossibly through water logged beds where nothing should be able to grow. City girls will toss their tights and start ordering rose wine in restaurants with greater frequency. Ramps and rhubarb clouding every epicures brain. People will think to start biking again. Dopamine and melatonin levels rise and statistically more people will be falling in love.

I find some semblance of rest in the cycle of it all. Or in my ability to calm down, watch this baby lamb, help it the best I can and then walk away without the emotional anthropomorphized baggage of the story of what's happening to it.

Zooming out slightly, to see the whole scene. Springtime. All the millions of times it's happened here.


17 comments:

Suzonne said...

Thank you for this gift. My heart feels physically full after reading your words, and I am there, caught up in that cycle of life and seasons with you.

annie B said...

Beautifully written as always. Left me with a lump in my throat.

lydia @ lupinelydia said...

name your lambs after russian authors, and name the best one nabokov for me! "existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece."

Shelley said...

Read The Swerve/ You might prefer Roman Epicureanism.

laughtrack said...

E.B. White characters. Bring the real back to anthropomorphism. :D

Mairead Travins said...

Although I do not own a flock of sheep, I do come from a land of many sheep, so I suggest:

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Norse_gods_and_goddesses

michellemybelle said...

Man. I don't think I will sleep now thinking about what happened to that baby lamb.

Anonymous said...

Pretty pagan Buddhist - buddist? - Shinto, but mainly it is Spring in all its raw cool radiance,

cara said...

Beautiful, and awful. Cheers nature.

Stolen Flowers Farm said...

There's nothing sweeter than a rejected, and bottle-fed, lamb. xoxox

Veronica Roth said...

One of my friends in England bottle raised a rejected lamb called Niblet, who now thinks he's a dog and comes to the back door baa-ing for Harry the Labradoodle to come play. Watching the two of them romping around is hilarious.

Marsha Splenderosa said...

I would so love to experience life as you're describing it. The lambs. What a wonderful, beautiful process, even when the mother shuns her baby. This way YOU get to experience being a mom for a little while. The photo is wonderful !!! Keep posting, we all love it!!!!

Diggin' it said...

Ugh, thats all great! Have you read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle?

Rachel said...

If you write a book, any type of book, I will buy it and read it.

Alexa Johnson said...

Giving birth is a return to the wilderness. It can be a crazy crazy thing. ...It took me two weeks before I finally looked down at my baby daughter and felt the bond, the deep connection and undeniable love.

Dottie and her lambs are lucky to have you watching over them. You're lucky to have them as your guides. I imagine you know this already.

Let the lessons come, yes? When we resist, they get even messier.

Heather said...

FOR PETE'S SAKE YOU NEED TO WRITE A BOOK! :-)

Heather said...

You make me cry every time. You are an amazing writer. Thank you.