I lie with my newborn son in the room where an old shepherd died. Light and night pass over the window; gulls ride out to sea.
This was the shepherd’s room for ninety years before we came to lie in it. How that time must’ve flown for him in a rush of business; he was a man of action and sound judgement, matching his labour to weather and chance. When he woke in the morning, the window showed him everything he’d need to know for the day’s work ahead. He could tilt his head from the pillow and plan accordingly. In sheep and life, there was always more to do.
But in his dying days, he lay where we are lying and felt slack water pooling around him. He was sick and bed-bound, suffering in his lameness. Hours slipped and work fell undone as he gathered news from the window, piling it uselessly in a list of missed opportunities. Drifting and dreaming, he waited for an outcome.
Now I lie in the same room with a child so unready for the world that his view from that window is meaningless. It could rain or blare down bright sunshine; my boy will bide indoors regardless because he is soft and the sky seems to baffle him. So he sleeps across my shoulder and his twitchy fingers pluck the unmarked hours.
Today brought a grand, beckoning view of hills which begged my son to come and see. But there is nothing for old souls and new but patience.