Last night as I was shutting up the chicken house & the goose shed for the night, I stopped and just breathed for a minute. It was dusk, and a beautiful full moon was just cresting the horizon in a clear sky. Birds were singing what sounded like a thanksgiving at the end of a beautiful day, and a tawny owl was heralding the onset of night with quavering 'hoo-hoo's. Spring was unmistakably in the air.
Sometimes - usually when I'm sliding around in the rain and mud, cleaning out the chicken house or when the slugs have just polished off my entire lettuce crop overnight - I wonder 'Why on earth did I think this was the life I wanted?' But on evenings like the one I have just described, there's no question why.
This evening was a different story. As I went to shut up the chickens & geese it was absolutely pouring with rain and blowing a gale. Despite my raincoat & wellies I was soaked through in minutes, the ground had become treacherously slippery mud, and Angel the gander is getting very stroppy as the breeding season approaches and hence thinks aiming vicious pecks at my legs instead of going peacefully to his shed for the night is a great idea (funny what testosterone can do to a chap). Yet I still paused after shutting them away and thought how lucky I am.
Why on earth did I think this was the life I wanted? Sometimes it's very hard to say exactly why. But I'm in no doubt that it is.