LOSING SHEEP

Friends sent me a St. Pat’s Day animated eCard: a dog chasing a leprechaun and letting out a flock of sheep in the process. It reminded me of this experience: We were spending my first sabbatical in England (going home again, for me). We lived for six months in a typical West country village, with 13th century church, garden cottages, a manor house–the works. Behind the church was a path through the woods on a carpet of bluebells leading to a lovely hill with meadows for grazing sheep. I hiked up there one day and finding a wide spot in the wire fencing I climbed through to the meadow to enjoy the view from the hill (the sea was visible on a clear day: only about eight miles as the crow flies). As I went through the fence there were two sheep standing there, just watching. Once in the meadow I lay down amid the flock and fell asleep (it was the first warm, sunny day in weeks: literally). When I awoke and looked around there was not a sheep in sight! Apparently, the two sheep watching me go through the space in the fence had called the attention of the rest of the flock to the portal to freedom. Did I go look for a farmer to warn that the sheep had made a break for it? I did not. I made a break for it myself before the farmer or shepherd came along and found me in the meadow and the sheep gone. I’ll never know where they ended up.