Woke this morning to a clear blue sky. Joy of joys. 'God's in His heaven - All's right with the world!' etc. With a spring in our steps we set about the daily round. What a difference some sunshine makes.
A couple of mornings ago under leaden skies and sheeting rain J & H fetched the cattle off the top fields. 50 or 60 mighty beasts thundered down the lane beside the barn, their hooves churning up the already potholed surface. H was bringing up the rear with the halt and lame, toting a short length of blue alkythene pipe the better to urge on any stragglers.
We exchanged pleasantries. No news but weatherweatherweather. The land can hold no more water. It is saturated. The stock is poaching the land. It's not good, not good at all. There will be harvest....but when and what? What implications will there be for winter feed? H has told her son he won't see the like of this again. I hope this is the case.
As we stand in the rain watching the cattle pass down the lane under the morning's grey sky I detect a note of quiet melancholy in H's voice. They are custodians of the land, putting meat on the nation's table. Muck and toil. Daybreak to dusk. This is what they do. Is This not sufficient? A shrug as if to shake off thoughts of it being any other way than this.
Then as if enough were not enough she adds: 'The cow in the shed, she died in the night too.' Another blow. That's life though, this death.
I watch the herd go down the dingle and up the other side - to a field on the hill where maybe the grass is, if not proverbially greener, then maybe firmer underfoot. Perhaps it's wisest not to be too introspective but, like the cattle, keep moving on.
The 'knacker's man' came for the cow yesterday morning, collecting her papers from the shed before hauling the corpse into his wagon with little ceremony. Yes, even in death she needed a passport to travel.