Monday, March 4, 2013

Traditions: Lambs!

As March marches on, we are cashing in its annual promise and moving from lions to lambs.  It may be a little early to start celebrating the transition to milder weather, but looking ahead is what gets me through these final days leading up to the season of Spring (or to those of us in New England, Muck Season: the soppy thaw between snow and sun).  Nevertheless, there are still things to celebrate.  For one, this time of year brings new lambs to Swan Bay Farm!
Growing up on the farm, lambing season is always an exciting time.  You never know what you're going to get.  Now, when I am pregnant, I want to know everything about the baby as soon as it is growing inside of me: gender, name, eye color, personality, favorite song, future vocational path, how often they'll call me when they go off to know...the basics.  Because I like to be mentally prepared.  But when it comes to lambing, I'm much more comfortable with the anticipation of not knowing.  Boys or girls?  Black or white?  Singles or twins...or triplets?  We don't exactly ultrasound the sheep.  So we never know.  We don't know how many we'll get, how many we'll keep, who will be the strongest, who will have the best wool, if we'll lose any of the moms or the babies in the process...  It is all a big mystery.

I suppose there's something mysterious in all the seasons--the open adventure and limitless possibilities of summer days, the emerging brilliant colors of fall, the stillness of winter as if the world is holding its breath--but as spring emerges, mysteries are carried on every breeze and held in every budding tree.  New life bursts into bloom.  It's a fresh start for the whole of creation.  It is completely beyond our control, and yet it happens every year.  The earth begins again.  It's a reminder to me that no matter how long winter was, no matter how loudly it roared, the One who is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb who was slain is seated on the throne, doing His work of making all things new.

At Swan Bay, our annual tradition is to celebrate the coming of spring by welcoming lambs into the flock.  We recognize that it may not be feasible for you to imitate that particular tradition (although, if you would like to start your own lambing tradition, I know a shepherdess who could get you started with a flock.)  :o)  But there are plenty of other ways to celebrate the annual emergence of new life.  You could plant a garden.  You could plan a trip to a national park or forest preserve.  You could take a "mental health day" on the first day of nice spring weather.  (Alright, maybe that's not a very "responsible" idea.) You could get a pet or raise a butterfly from a caterpillar or go to the zoo.  Whatever you do as March turns from lion to lamb, I invite you to embrace life in all its mysterious beauty.

Yes, that is probably where this post should wrap up.  But all this talk of lions and lambs...I just can't resist introducing you to my favorite lion-lamb-related story.  Meet Lambert the Sheepish Lion.  You're welcome.