Sunday, March 12, 2006

I found a new lamb in the flock this evening. He was easy to overlook, being nearly identical to one of the other late arrivals; all black except for a patch of white at the tip of his tail. It was a mild evening last night and a warm day today. Usually ewes find the foulest weather possible to give birth. In addition to other blessings I add today a thanks for unseasonably good weather and a healthy lamb. All in all a fine day in the barnyard. We do our best, and pray and hope for the best, but farming is never a sure proposition. At times I envy those of earlier ages who warded their fears and expressed their hopes unselfconsciously in song and prayer. The following is from Alexander Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica, a collection and translation of traditional Highland prayers, hymns, blessings and incantations preserved at the end of the nineteenth century:


May Mary the mild keep the sheep,
May Bride the calm keep the sheep,
May Columba keep the sheep,
May Maolruba keep the sheep,
May Carmac keep the sheep,
From the fox and the wolf.

May Oran keep the kine,
May Modan keep the kine,
May Donnan keep the kine,
May Moluag keep the kine,
May Maolruan keep the kine,
On soft land and hard land.

May the Spirit of peace preserve the flocks,
May the Son of Mary Virgin preserve the flocks,
May the God of glory preserve the flocks,
May the Three preserve the flocks,
From wounding and from death-loss,
From wounding and from death-loss.