Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Sunday, April 6 – Shepherds Tears

Grown men don’t cry, but even a hardened old shepherd can sometimes get a little misty.
Before this wretched power cut, back in the days when there was television, if we were following a reality TV programme in which a male contestant became tearful, Martin and I would both yell – Stop blubbing!
But now, although his eyes did not fill with tears and his chin didn’t quiver, I think I have seen a grown man’s heart sink, for today another lamb died. And this time it was not the fox, it was not a sheep rustler, it was just nature.
I saw it first. A white lamb lay beside its black mother, its legs outstretched, so still that I knew straight away that it was lifeless. I went back again after ten minutes and felt sure that it had gone and that I had to tell Neil. He was mending fences with Martin on the furthest field and hadn’t noticed. And when he walked across, slowly, so the mother would not be startled, I could see his face fall. He glanced at the little body, then picked it up by its legs. “I hate it when this happens,” he said as he looked the lamb over.
I left him then but we talked later and he said the lamb was only born yesterday. A healthy lamb, a good weight, but not able to survive. Luckily most of the ewes and lambs are doing well and only one other ewe has lost a newborn and she was able to adopt a triplet, so she is not bereft. But the dead lamb’s mother is still searching and calling for her child and must feel her milk bursting.

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