Sheep

Filed in Episode 3 by on May 12, 2017 0 Comments

Today we were walking along a narrow path by the river. The path is 2 people wide with a fence on one side and the river bank on the other. You step over a low, electrified fence to get on the path and climb over a gate at the other end. A few sheep graze there. Today two ewes with their lambs were standing right at the beginning of the path as we approached. We walked in single file and one ewe was smart enough just to slip past us, taking her lambs with her. The other, with her lamb, ran some 30 metres off in the direction we were walking. We walked on and each time we got close, she ran a bit further way. Digital CameraI was wondering what was going to happen when we got to the gate at the other end. Would she panic? Every now and then we stood still, making a bit of room for her to come past and rejoin her friends but she wasn’t having any of it. “Typical sheep” you might think.

Then suddenly the other ewe (and lambs) came running up behind us, bleating. We thought she might want to get past to be with her pal but that appeared not to be it. Something else was clearly supposed to happen. So we just stood still to see what would happen and sure enough, her pal then walked quickly but calmly past us. We were suddenly no longer a threat. The sheep were re-united and all was well.

Is there a point to this story? Well, it’s just another in what may become a series about encounters with other species in a shared environment. I’m not offering any insights into sheep consciousness or drawing staggering philosophical conclusions. I’m just struck by the fact that the one sheep was communicating a definite and specific message to the other in a manner that was completely opaque to us. I can’t tell one sheep “bah” from another and have no idea how “bah” would translate into “come on Doris, these people are harmless and it’s much nicer back where we were before they came”. But something along those lines was said. That’s all. I find it interesting to write about this and admit it sets me wondering what this can tell me – not about sheepness or gooseness or humanness but about beingness.

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