pt.3 of Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson

On the first day we arrived, we had barreled down winding forest roads, past beautiful ocean vistas until we arrived at a gated road. The old gate was creaked opened and we drove down an unpaved road with small patches of valley on each side that were hugged by a thick forest. On our right was a forest amidst huge mossy boulders, and climbing along these rocks were a flock of white sheep. I had never seen sheep amidst the forest before, and seeing their white fur contrast with the darkness of the forest and the green of the trees and the mossy rocks was something mysterious and beautiful, like something from another land. 

Since seeing that I very much wanted to return to take a deeper drink of it all. So I took off early in the morning to take some photos, first exploring the sea shore and then heading over to the sheep barn.

As a child, my mother often took me, in Spring, to the sheep barns to see the sheep being born. I remember it pretty well. It was always something I really enjoyed. It felt like the whole event was covered in the fresh innocence of something new and beautiful coming into the world. It was a precious affair for my mom and I and I'm grateful for our many Spring outings. Outside of that I have never spent much time with sheep.

My first lesson about these sheep, was just how skittish and nervous they really are. Within minutes of being near them, I learned the definition of "sheepish." I walked into the barn while they were eating and quietly inched my way closer to them, hoping on the very slight chance that I could pet one. Well, that never happened. While I mostly moved painfully slow at first, just getting near to them made one of the sheep so nervous I could literally hear his heavy breathing as he looked at me, still chewing his hay.

They kept their eye on me for quite a while, and I stood there silently, unsuccessfully trying to put them at ease. Sheep are such vulnerable creatures. Being around them I realized they really have no way of defending themselves, and I do pity them for that. But it also strikes me how very dumb they are in light of their inability of defending themselves. For within minutes of me ( the possible predator) standing there quietly, they would just go back to their eating until I moved again, and then they would back up, quivering with fear. When danger comes to humans or many other animals, we usually fight or flight (leave). These sheep, did neither for the most part. While they initially shyed away, they allowed me to get so much closer than a defensless animal should. In some of the photographs I took later on in the day, I was sitting an arm length or two away. Astounding. 

Eventually, on accident, I scared the sheep out of the barn and into the field. As I said in earlier posts, these sheep were free range and would roam all around the many acres of land. So up into the woods they went, grazing and rubbing their itchy heads and bums on trees and stumps. The little lambs jumped and played and it was PRECIOUS. 

I sat with two little lambs who snuggled up with one another. I then finished my time by walking back towards the house were I saw little sheep jumping over a stream and a more mature sheep chomping away at grass and giving me a good stare. I realized I love to watch grown sheep jump, like little puff balls of clouds bouncing through the air with those legs stiff straight. It never ceases to make me laugh.

I enjoyed my time with these gentle creatures and learned a lot about them. I hope you enjoy the photos and learn something for yourself.