Sunday, March 13, 2011


I know some people count sheep in order to get to sleep. I say why wait until bedtime. I am surrounded by sheep all day long. 1. There's the curly ram that rides in my car. 2. The bank given to me by a friend that sits in front of my placemat at the table, a companion to each of my meals. 3. The card I bought at the Holly Meade studio that T and I accidentally stumbled upon when we got lost in Maine. (She wrote and illustrated a family favorite: “John Willy and Freddy McGee.”) 4. The knitted sheep that came from Columbia when friends adopted their son. 5. The wooly slippers that adorn my feet when the temperatures drop. 6. The lone glow-in-the-dark sheep that has somehow survived after all of the other flock has gone. Where I'm not quite sure and as I'm not a shepherdess I don't know how to call them home. Perhaps they are helping other kids to conquer their fear of being alone in the dark. Or maybe they are off having adventures like the sheep we used to read about when T was little. They were often: on a ship, in a shop, and our favorite, in a jeep. As with the adventures in the aforementioned guinea pig tale, there are lines I can recite still.

If for no other reason, I love these fuzzy animals for the wool that they give, allowing me to knit the hats, scarves and shawls that I bestow to family, friends and brand new babies. If I could, I would most certainly have a lamb (or two) in our backyard. But when the weather turned, I would want to bring it inside, and I just don't think we have the room. Quite simply: Sheep are sweet. Sheep are super. Sheep are swell.

All week I have been wondering about sheep. I considered writing about my summertime stints as a waitress at the GyroWrap Cafe in Georgia where lamb meat was shaved off giant, ever-turning spits and delivered to tables where large parties tipped badly and spoke so thickly sometimes I couldn't quite catch the meaning of their words. Or I could write about the plea posted to the town's listserv by our local sheep farmer for all of us to keep our eyes out for a missing sheep. Which was sad. And then a bit scary as we all pondered (digitally) what might be large enough and motivated enough to drag said missing sheep away. I could write about wool, my mother's constant clicking needles guiding that wool into sweaters, socks, shawls, hats. I even thought about riffing on Shaun the Sheep. How I envy that solitary farmer, set in his ways, fermenting in a damp stone cottage with only his faithful dog and independent farm animals to interrupt his pizza and telly. But March is already long, the days are still gray like the ropey coats of dirty farm animals, and so this. A lovely label on a delectable wine, shared with family on a night that feels almost feels like spring. Almost feels like it's time for the lambing.

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