I’ve been privileged during this wonderful spring weather in the north-east of Scotland (where I reside during the weekdays) to see lambs gamboling in the field next to the house. It is a heart-lifting sight. But when I think for a moment, it is also a ridiculous spectacle. I presume it to be a form of play but something about it doesn’t look quite right. You will see a little woolly critter trot along then without warning or any visible means of stimulation, vault as high as it can into the air without any vestige of amusement apparant on its face, then land, and continue on its way. If any of its peers catch sight of this they likely to repeat this vertical move to the point that there could break out a short epidemic of the behaviour. You might, if reason deserted you, wonder if the field that is their home had perhaps become super-heated phenomenon underfoot for a moment or two, or whether some species of invisible and hitherto unknown species of wasp, with a fondness only for lamb, had invaded their home. I resolved to google the issue.
Next day, all I could find out on the world-wide-web was that gamboling is a form of play.
Well, that’s simply not good enough. There must be some evolutionary purpose to them having developed a panache – and indeed an enviable skill – for spontaneous vertical motion.
When I was thus watching and wondering one evening this week just past, my neighbour ambled (note: not “gamboled”) alongside me and we shared some pleasantries. (I was careful not to breathe the business end of a bottle of Chianti in her direction). We watched these bouncing lambs for a spell and she wistfully informed me that they’d be fattened during the summer then delivered to the abattoir for slaughter.
Have your day in the sun, dear creatures, and whatever the cause of your gamboling; jump now! Jump high! Jump often!