Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sheep May Safely Graze

A cool sunny morning in September, blue sky and fluffy clouds from here to there, fields unfurling into the distance like bolts of of gold and green linen, the sturdy companionship of a placid flock of Border Leicesters at the farm of friends in the Lanark Highlands.

There is something timeless, enduring and soothing about hanging out with a flock of sheep.  It's time well spent, and no matter how I feel when arriving at the paddock, I usually depart in a frame of mind both peaceable and reflective. Who would have thought that sheep were given to smiles and expressions of blithe regard?  There is one golden eyed ewe who is always delighted when I turn up at the fence, and her undisguised pleasure shows in her happy ears and her wide grin. 
Reaching for the creaking latch at the farm gate, I find myself humming a few bars of Johann Sebastian Bach's Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd  (The cheerful hunt is all my heart's desire).  A handful of melodies from the maestro's magnificent creation have a lovely way of ambling through my thoughts on mornings like this one.  BMW 208, usually called simply Jagdkantate (Hunt Contata), was composed for the birthday of a long ago Austrian Duke.  The noble himself has not walked the earth in centuries, but the fifth aria, Schafe k├Ânnen sicher weiden (Sheep may safely graze), is gorgeous stuff indeed, perfect for clear autumn mornings and visits with woolly ruminants in pastoral settings.
Several hundred moons ago, I loved playing Bach on piano and pipe organ and later managed to produce decent renditions on my cello and alto recorder - fine musics, wild places and the company of fellow creatures like the sheep continue to gladden and pacify this old hen in her terrestrial potterings - they dish out in elemental grace and careful abundance what the British poet Chaucer called "sentence and solace".

One of these days, I shall get out the old cello - these days it seems much bigger and heavier than it used to be.  I shall park myself comfortably out by the paddock fence and play a little Bach for the flock.  However lacking my tunefulness and technique may be, I think they might enjoy it.

6 comments:

Dawn Dutton said...

Looks like your sheep are very content....

Guy said...

Hi Cate

A lovely scene.

Guy

the wild magnolia said...

You know I love(s) sheeps....they are always smiling, regal and peaceful.

Wonderful sharing.

Pallas Renatus said...

I can't help but burst into giddy laughter whenever I see a sheep smiling back at me. They really are wonderful creatures.

Mystic Meandering said...

Smiles and grins here too at your post and pictures. I bet she is bleating at you too :) Love that second picture. She seems gentle and really connecting with you....

Please *do* have someone take a picture of you playing the Cello for the sheep and post it. This I have to see! :) Ba~a~a~a~a

Janvde said...

Such a good idea, a sunny morning in Belgium after a summer of storms and rain... Bach cantatas are a perfect accompaniment for such a morning, thanks for the tip :-)