Two Sheep

My neighbour has a large vacant block between us covered in grass complete with a couple of small trees that never seem to grow taller.  During spring, that is, this time of year, it is said in these parts that you can see the grass grow a couple of inches overnight.  Yellow daises also tenaciously return each spring to randomly dot the greenness as if trying to take over, but how would I know.   Both the grass and these bright new flowers, seem to be sprouting up taller and taller, neck and neck. Pretty sure though, that the grass couldn’t care less about these newly arrived flowers.

Five years ago my neighbour successfully replaced his frequent use of lawn moving machinery with the purchase of two new sheep.  Each morning as I habitually inspected my garden to see what was blooming and what had died, these two sheep would look up at me and wait, not saying a word, as if they were expecting me to talk first.  Some days I would wave back at them to say hello, hoping no one else saw me wave to them.  Either way, whether I waved or not, they both remained standing there still as the tree, calmly looking at me.  Like they were waiting for me, to perhaps move first, certain that eventually I would.  And I would.  Neither of them ever changed this silent five year dance, nor I for that matter.

A coupe of weeks ago, in the afternoon one of them died.  I noticed this one was on their side with their head laying on the ground, not moving.  I had never seen either of them lay like that before.  The one left behind, stands, head up, looking out beyond and resolutely ignoring me until I insist on interrupting for a moment.  And not a silent staring out, no !  Baahing, baahing repeatedly never-ending, like a sheep.  A familiar sound I thought, from my faraway partially hidden youthful past, that was accompanied here with the thought that I had never heard this sound from either of them before.  Now, this was my turn. To be still, to be silent, and simply stare.

A week later my neighbour had found a new sheep and now there are two again and our previous routines have returned.

The new sheep is much smaller than the other one but they don’t seem to be concerned ( as a problem for their ongoing relationship ) with plenty of grass to catch up on, intertwined between quite times looking out.

© 2020, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.