I spend a lot of time looking outside the windows. The views are truly spectacular: mountains, trees, silos, cows, woodland creatures, fairies and llamas.
Okay, I took it too far. Everyone knows we don’t have llamas, we’ve got sheep.
Funny enough, the windows I’m most drawn to are the ones that look over the sheep pasture. I’m so curious to know what keeps those mammoth woollies busy all day long. Occasionally, I’ll try to sneak up on them, to catch them by surprise. They never seem surprised. They’ve got the Art of Zen down pat. They even blink in slow motion, although it might be the arctic temperatures that are slowing down that bodily function.
They’re brothers, even though they look nothing alike. But heck, I’ve got three siblings and none of us resemble one another. However, there was a high turnover rate of postmen on our lonely stretch of road while I grew up.
Our sheep, Toot and Puddle—named after two fairy tale pigs—refuse to be farther than a three hoof stride from one another. They wander the meadow, chew grass, get caught up in the search for better tasting grass, raise their heads and snap back together in some strangely choreographed rubber band dance.
At times, I see them both with heads high, still as statues, staring in the same direction. I crack the window and listen. Wile E. Coyote? Bumbling bear? Livestock snatching Scotsman? I am regularly left with no answer and they simply both return to the heads bowed position. Perhaps it’s sheep yoga. The stretching of tired neck muscles.
And that brings me to their favorite pastime. Ramming. Talk about needing beefy necks. Or would that be lamby necks?
Whatever the terminology, it remains unfathomable to my brain that they continue to sustain this brutal level of continuous impact, a collision so violent I’m left hearing birds tweeting carousel-style. But as is customary, they both seem to agree that the best thing they can do after a good head bashing is … repeat the experience.
The sound alone is volatile enough to crush the tiny bones of my inner ear. It is a thudded clunk, a muffled wallop, a thwack that only the crunch of bone jarring against bone can create. But to them, it is akin to the tinkling tones of the ice cream truck coming up the street, for it sends them leaping into the air with glee, bouncing with legs like springs.
I’m guessing the only thing saving their brains— what little they do possess—from spilling out of their ears, is the giant cloud of wool they are encased in. I suppose it’s a little like taking two large cement blocks, wrapping them in pillows and forcing them to merge at breakneck velocity. Or magic. It’s the only other explanation.
But it is quite the show. And I think it’s my squeals of protest and elevated anguish that ratchets up their fun factor. They’re showing off. By having a pillow fight with their heads.
The other thing I find unendingly fascinating is that one of them refuses to talk anymore. Now, lest you think I’ve been joining the ramming riot, I’m not suggesting these yahoos can string a sentence together and quote Shakespeare. They hate the bard. Especially Leonardo’s version of Romeo and Juliet when we showed it on Movie Nite last week.
No, what I mean is that Toot used to be vocal, and being the bigger brute of the two, we thought he’d be raucous and unruly, an intemperate bulldozer.
But as we’ve come to realize, size isn’t everything.
He ended up sounding like Mike Tyson with a case of croup. Raspy, high-pitched attempts to communicate generated uncontrollable laughter from the crowds we sold tickets to. And herein may lie our mistake. We may have overscheduled him with shows.
I thought he possessed more confidence, but I’m guessing he took much of our mirth to heart. I feel terrible. So I’ve decided to start a rehabilitation fund with the proceeds. Of course, we first had to pay for the overhead, because bleachers and popcorn vendors don’t just build themselves, but everything remaining thereafter went straight into his account. Mostly.
I’m determined to make it up to him. And to the folks I’m refusing a refund.
Regardless, the sheep have taught me a lot over the last couple of years and in no particular order:
– Once hay has fallen out of the hay rack and touched the floor, it is inedible. They’re worse than me with the ten second rule.
– Everything is a scratching post. Fences, trees, the bookcase that holds all of their favorite poetry … everything.
– Wool is waterproof, soundproof and nearly bulletproof. And I mean nearly. It’s super close to being there.
– Sheep hold a grudge. Forget to feed them for one measly week and they stop talking to you. Won’t even get up to greet you at the paddock door.
– There is no lamb language for, “Excuse me.” Head butting gets the message across super quick and you don’t even have to stop chewing whatever’s in your mouth to communicate this.
– I would like pajamas made entirely out of sheep lips. Seriously, it’s like a new fabric made of jelly and velvet.
– Sheep have no teeth in the front part of the upper jaw, which for the first year I found incredibly upsetting and thought was a result of the barnyard brawling, but apparently, this is considered normal.
– Sheep refuse to fetch.
In closing this week, I leave you with an old bit of farmer wisdom, handed down through many a family: Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And always drink upstream from the herd.
Don’t forget to check out what was cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott’s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone–click here.
6 thoughts on “O Brother, where art thou brain?”
I’ve finally realized that after you took the road of two less traveled, you actually did end up just down from H.D. Thoreau’s cabin. It makes complete and total sense now; talking to your garden (alone), watching your sheep cue talent night times for your enjoyment (alone), discussing in depth Carl Jung’s analytical psychology with Haggis and weather or not he is extraverted or introverted… I can only imagine his take.
You talk of having family, others around periodically; however I often do wonder if you live in that castle alone, remote, away from the masses of anything other than your animals and imaginary friends. Ah, the life. I too often wish of the ability to live in such zen (careful what you wish for, eh?).
I have met your off spring (or in theory) and what one would legally define as your hubby (I still think that was just for the green card), although maybe it’s truly just for show when we visit the Sackier mountain top.
That’s it! You’ve hired a Gypsy group to stage as your “family” when I visit. That would defiantly explain the young lady who plays violin better than Perlman ever could. No one except a Gypsy has that much time to practice a violin and be that good. (Does she do your laundry too?). I’ve seen that when I lived in Prague by the Vltava river.
And truly, living alone with such a grand imagination, talking to the wildlife, rearranging the corks on your wall… it’s been facinating reading into who you are over the past year. I thought I had it down during the first 18 years together. Keep writing, talking to your “friends,” and consider walking down the mountian into town now and then to experience life where the others live. I know they’re different, but no worries… I’m sure you’ll fit right in.
Ah, life with the village people. If only. I would seek the company of others, Steve, for witty banter and chewing of the philosophical fat, but sadly the jabbing pitchforks and the oil-soaked flaming arrows have effectively sent a message of, “Stay put witch of the woods. Keep thy evil contained!” I shrug, but now know chanting such things as, “Thrice the binded cat hath mew’d” is going to raise some eyebrows down at the Crossroads Cafe. Ah well. Zen it is. 😉
Stunning post!… The sheepspeare is a great one, indeed 😀
All the best to you Shelley. Aquileana 🙂
My heartfelt thanks, Aquileana, I’m so happy you enjoyed this bit. And I adore these cartoons. Any time Rob sketches the sheep I herniate a disc from laughing too hard. I think they’re one of his specialties.
Cheers, my friend!