Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wild and Wooly

A few years ago,after our return from our Pacific sailing adventure,we found two feral sheep were regularly using the woods and grassy glades on the lower slopes of our little home farm.Shaggy, and very shy,they rushed off through the underbrush at the least sign of interest on our part.We called them Wild and Wooly and were friendly but not pushy.Perhaps because we ourselves had led a wild life on the ocean for several years,it never occured to us to rescue or domesticate them in any way.We remembered the story of the starving wolf who chose to keep it`s freedom rather than accept food and shelter if it came with a collar of ownership. Last year,Wooly turned up on her own and spent the winter in a sheltered lea under some cedars.Often we saw her standing, looking up to the house for hours on end.How lonely.For a flock animal it seemed too much and yet when our neighbours flock broke into our fields ,Wooly made no move to join them.We called out"Hello Wooly" as we walked past and left her alone. This week I found Wooly upside down in a bushy hollow.Cast,she could not get up.A common end for sheep without a shepherd.Perhaps she had been on her back for a day or so and lucky so far not to be eated alive by eagles and ravens.I heaved her back on her feet and struggled to keep her propped upright for the next hour.Her heart was beating wildly and her legs trembled so I left her for an hour to see how she would do.Nope, back down on her side against the fence so once again I got her up and watched her crop the grass on trembling legs After half an hour I let her be. The next morning I walked the glades and trails half wondering if I should have brought my shovel but no sign of her.Its interesting to think of my own life:independence,freedom ,versus the obligations of community and the likely outcomes that go with those often unthought through life choices.Its a wooly world.