There was nothing I could do but retreat – the house was under siege and there was nowhere to go but back inside, muttering curses.
Brazen had brought the other ewes and all the lambs; Sobranie had followed his hens to my door; the two dogs were looking optimistic, and the cats were springing through the trees like squirrels.
All but cats belong next door, but they’ve learned that my door is a temple of treats. Entirely my fault, because I give veg peelings to the sheep, bread and rotten tomatoes to the chickens, biscuits and bones to the dogs and – when they appear – carrots to the horses.
So everybody got fed, and once sheep and dogs had retired, I sat on the steps with a cup of coffee, watching the cats leap about and the chickens crop the new grass. The trees are in bud, about to burst into flower; the spring grass is coming through the winter matting and wild flowers are waking beneath the damp soil. On the mountain slopes the beech forest is pink, the new leaves still furled tight in their rosy sheaths, and silver birches are bright with golden catkins.
Life is bursting everywhere, and it’s impossible to feel lonely when everybody is so full of energy and excitement. Humans are just another species enjoying the spring.
In the city, you may have to look a little harder, but concrete and glass can’t stop wildflowers exploiting every crack in the paving, and wild birds filling the quiet streets with song.
If you’re feeling lonely, go outside, find life and celebrate Spring.