Leave them alone, and they’ll come home
Reasons to like sheep
If you had a couple in the back garden, they’d crop the grass in no time.
Counting them helps us to drift off – allegedly. As an insomniac, I can’t verify this, though the sheep do their best, tumbling over a notional meadow in digital formation.
They are good listeners – sit in a field one day and share your problems with them. Unlike other ruminating herbivores (cows, horses, fellow human vegetarians), they have endless patience and are not skittish. And, just like the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin their own wool, but give it up with good grace.
Their arias will guide you through fell and moorland fog.
The old English word for sheep is scēap. The Irish word is caorach. A black sheep is caorach dubh. And something to aspire to in any family.
They are clouds of wool reflecting the clouds in the sky. The writer Valerie Laws explores ovine poeticism in Quantum Sheep: http://www.valerielaws.com/quantum-sheep—the-poems.html In these haik-ewe, words are written on the backs of sheep. As the sheep mingle and move about, so the words are constantly dispersed into new formations, a randomness echoing the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics. How lovely. How sheepish.
No animal is more poignant and self-effacing than a lone sheep.
They are relatively easy to paint and pose without being self-conscious or narcissistic.
A sheep cento
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Up in the blue, blue mountains
Dewy pastures are sweet,
Filled with the lamb’s innocent call
And the ewe’s tender reply
Leave them alone, and they’ll come home,
By the stream and o’er the mead;
In a sheltering cote, white as snow
There were ninety and nine
I counted them all under cover of my eyelids
And maybe here’s Bo-Peep…