Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Sheep Fold

Colonial Williamsburg. December 2006. Sheep safe within the fold.
(Click picture for larger view)
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Slumber Song

Drowsily come the sheep
From the place where the pastures be,
By a dusty lane
To the fold again,
First one, and then two, and three:
First one, then two, by the paths of sleep
Drowsily come the sheep.

Drowsily come the sheep,
And the shepherd is singing low:
After eight comes nine
In the endless line,
They come, and then in they go.
First eight, then nine, by the paths of sleep
Drowsily come the sheep.

Drowsily come the sheep
And they pass through the sheepfold door;
After one comes two,
After one comes two,
Comes two and then three and four.
First one, then two, by the paths of sleep,
Drowsily come the sheep.

~ by Louis V. Ledoux (1880—1948)
Sheep are not the brightest of creatures; if you get one to walk down a path through the woods, all others will follow. They are easily lost and will stand bleating plaintively, out of sight from the flock but only a few steps away and yet unable to find their way back. This picture of sheep safe in their fold is comforting. It reminds me of the cold Illinois winters when we visited my grandfather's farm. Every evening he would gather the sheep from the pasture behind the barn and from the pine grove, leading the old buck towards the barn. All would follow and soon they were safe, shut in away from the cold wind and snow with fresh feed and soft hay and the milk cows for company. Here they stayed safe and sound through the night. Each morning he would slide open the heavy barn doors and they stood looking out, blinking in the light as if they had never seen the barnyard or the pasture before. Each morning brought the same reaction of surprise. Finally, one would take a tentative step across the threshold, then another and soon the whole flock, one after the other scampered back through the pine grove to the pasture beyond.

Submission for Tuesday Challenge topic "fold". (end of post)

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