Saturday, 14 May 2011

My deep recesses

There's been something quite strange about this early spring and the unseasonally hot weather. Don't get me wrong. I've loved the sun and have welcomed the opportunity to soak up it's vitamin D-making rays. I always knew it made sense to be exposed to a certain amount of sunlight.

But this year, lovely as the weather has been, my instincts have alerted me to the fact that such clear blue skies are not normal. It has engendered in me a primeval flutter of concern. Perhaps even more acute has been my underlying concern for water. Maybe we notice things about climate during our lives that we aren't even aware of. Could my brain have logged the fact that when the sun is in such and such position the norm is near-galeforce chilly winds and torrential downpours?

It's probably not just weather that we're tuned into. There have been a couple of occasions in the past where I have found myself inexplicably tuned into the behaviour of animals. I'm not an "animal person" really. My keenest interest in animals is our cat and my frequent shopping in animal charities' charity shops!

The first incident was where, driving back from the next village probably around this time of year, I noticed a sheep at some distance from the rest of the flock. It was sitting down. For no reason that I can explain I actually stopped the car, reversed back, parked, leapt over the gate and walked up to the sheep and took a look. It merely sat there and looked at me. I even rang the owner who said it was probably sunbathing: "they do you know". Feeling very foolish I forgot about the matter until three days later I heard that the animal in question had been found dead that afternoon. Wierd or what?

Similarly a few months after that a retired hunter was lying in a meadow nearby our house. It was about eight-thirty in the morning, the sun was out, the birds were singing. I had an inexplicable feeling of concern. Again, almost the same thing happened. The owner's husband said: "don't worry, he'll just be enjoying the sun." That horse died just a few days later.

I can't explain what caused my concern for these two animals, just as I can't explain my unease about our current unlikely weather patterns. But I can guess that somehow my 60+ years of observing what is around me leads me to notice when something is odd. Maybe in all the flocks I'd observed I'd never seen one where a sheep was sitting so far from the rest; maybe I'd never seen a horse lying down at that specific time of day. My subconscious has probably recorded the fact that I've never experienced such intense rays of sunshine and such scarcity of rain at this time of year before. These instincts are surely the ones that have kept homo sapiens alive and kicking. Hm, perhaps it's time for a sacrifice or two to the rain god?

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