Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?

One of the unexpected aspects of getting older is the way anniversaries accumulate.  Barely a week goes by when one might celebrate this or mourn that, or simply wonder where the time went since some event of significance sped by on the ever-accelerating time-space luggage carousel.  If I don't soon get some kind of mental screen-saver installed, the words "How can it possibly be XX years since..." will have been burned permanently onto my synapses.

I have never particularly enjoyed spring as a season, and can find myself experiencing a back-to-front SAD syndrome, anticipating without much pleasure the coming months of relentless solar radiation sunshine. The weeks that surround that moveable feast, Easter, in particular, contain a cluster of anniversaries that predispose me to "that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts / Bring sad thoughts to the mind" (Wordsworth, "Written in Early Spring").

You don't have to be a practising Christian or pagan to recognise the profundity of the rich mix of literal and metaphorical rebirths, deaths, and resurrections that characterise this time of year.  You do have to get out of the house, though.  Soon, we'll be in mid-Wales again, where the lambing sheds will be ringing with loud new life, amid the stench of blood and shit, while the crows and kites peck over the heaps of little carcasses outside.  It's a lot more real than the racks of chocolate eggs in the supermarket.

I'll never forget the Easter when our son, aged about seven, asked the farmer's wife -- who had offered us the chance to feed some lambs -- why some of the little lambs died.  "Because their mummies don't want them, that's why!" she boomed, tossing another one onto the pile.

Talking of resurrections, I was over at the Viaduct on Sunday, and I detect the preliminary signs of a conservation effort.  Fallen bricks have been gathered into neat stacks and covered with sheets of polythene, and scrub has been cleared in places.  I suspect this signals the beginning of the end of this particular project.  Ah well, one door closes, another door opens...  The trick is not to let either door shut in your face or hit you on the backside.

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