So as a reality check and a contrast, I wanted to outline some of the less-often discussed parts of Spring in the rolling green countryside.
Spring is lambs and calves. It is also the animals that die during birth. I noticed a dead ewe in a nearby paddock two weeks ago, and saw it consumed over a period of days, first by Wedge-tailed Eagles, then crows and other scavengers. The dead calf I spotted on the way to work the other morning was literally surrounded by an attentive herd, some of whose members had their muzzles to its still, black fur.
The lambs that don't survive often becomes rags of lamb, strewn about the paddocks by foxes, or rotting on the roadside if they're silly enough to get run over. So accustomed am I now to seeing wool draped around paddocks that recently, I thought for a long, long moment that frost on mown clumps of grass in a neighbour's yard was a dead sheep in pieces.
The lambs that don't survive the birth lie blood-pink in the paddocks, distracting me as I drive past. More cheery are the just-born, still-yellow calves I see occasionally lying beside their own placentas while their mums lick them clean.
Spring is always, always, the first snake of the season spotted on the road when I go for a lunchtime run. Last week I nearly stood on this season's first, and, after a few breathy curses, reminded myself that from now on I'd better look further ahead than my feet on the forest trails. My neighbours say they're brown snakes, no matter how black they look. It wasn't large—maybe 40cm? A little more?—but it was a shock, as always.
Spring is foxes screaming for mates in the forest, and massacring the fowl whenever the chance arises. It is a proliferation of weeds, wallabies eating the new tender shoots on the fruit trees, the first huntsmen in the house, the first mosquitos and all who follow them.
The point here isn't to bring you down. Spring in the country is glorious. The point is that Spring is as much about challenges and risks as it is about nice weather and new growth.
The point is that growth entails struggle.
|A spring sunset|