It is a small herd of three. I think their collective spirit must long for a more ample assemblage, and that is why the cud-chewing crew has adopted my Mini Cooper as one of their own. I used to enjoy a relaxed drive down the quarter-mile lane to the gate that separates our property from the county road. There are many observations that can be made while enjoying a slower pace: budding trees, nesting hens, the thickening layer of moss growing on my husband’s old Chevy clunker… But now I have to essentially rocket my sporty little car to the gate before the sheep catch up. Otherwise, I am forced to launch into a silly dance of back-and-forth while I get out of the car, chase back the sheep, unlock the gate, chase back the sheep, open the gate, chase back the sheep, get back in the car, get out of the car, chase back the sheep, run back toward the gate, chase back the sheep, close up the gate, chase back the sheep, lock up the gate, and finally drive away. This exercise requires a great deal of patience, and more than a moderate degree of stamina, neither of which I possess in abundance. By the time I drive away from our property, I’m grumpy, sweaty, and breathing hard. As I drive away, I can see them in my rearview mirror looking dejected on the other side of the gate, stuck in their Edenesque 14-acre prison of prime grazing pasture, yelling at their Mini Cooper friend in bleating sheep-speak: “Wait! Come back! Don’t leave us! Take us with you!”
Months later, I was winding down after a long day at work, scrolling through Facebook. And there they were, two of my rapscallion, escape-artist sheep. Whoever had shot the photo only captured two, Cleo and Alice. It’s a cute photo, might make one ask, “Why did the sheep cross the road?” It made me ask, “How did the sheep get on the road?” The picture had been posted earlier that morning after I had gone to work and before Dave had left — A 20-minute window. They had done it! They had escaped! I could imagine Cleo, the ring-leader, enticing Junebug and Alice, “C’mon team, now’s our chance. Let’s just go take a quick look-see…Maybe there’s a bucket of grain out there. Just maybe.” Clearly, it only took moments to realize there was no grain, nothing at all enticing actually, because they were back on the property of their own volition within that 20-minute window, and they would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for that meddling Facebook.