Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grace & Mercy


A bazzilion years ago
in a land
that seems
Far Away...
i drove this road between home, that never felt like home
and college...
one of several attempts to finish with some sort of vocation or degree.
This is what it looks like today,
it looked much the same when i drove down it in my 62 Volvo pt.1800.
i was checking road conditions to see what kind of greeting we should expect should we make a run up to see family who still live up in this neighborhood.
i remember this spot in particular because my sporty little bucket of bolts, bailing wire & chewing gum was threatening to take a dump
Right here X.

i was going to follow through with a long desired dream of becoming a
horse trainer.
The college offered a course that was supposed to prepare a person for the business aspect as well as the business end of Horse Husbandry.
i learned more about Sheep, Cows, pigs and operating various tractors and farm equipment as the Horse program was on the decline the year i attended.
The advisers who promoted their 'Farm management program'
Declined to inform me of this fact.
For the most part i did enjoy being the oldest student living in the farm dorm with a mess of snotty nosed barely out of high school kids who
 of course
 Knew it all.

i learned
 Never: turn your back on a sheep...they're not as soft and cuddly as they look.
They're also not too bright...and when not acclimated to people... they're really tough to shepherd.
i never knew and animal to run away from feeding time but it was quite a sight to see a whole flock .... flock to the opposite side of a field..
it seemed even stupider to me to have to run around to that other side... and chase them back to the waiting piles of hay...but we tried waiting them out and they would not come to eat even when we were gone. Of course in the soggy conditions all that hard work racking, baling and hauling would be spoiled if left for long.
The farm students grew and processed all the hay used for livestock so we all quickly learned the value of a single bale of hay.

These ewes had been on range before our term to work them began in the fall.
All had been bred
and all would have just as soon stayed hidden out in the rough to forage but with lambing season due at the end of our first semester we had to have them in on pasture and supplemental feed to ensure
a healthy springy ...Spring for all.
Our farm manager knew about sheep and some of the other students knew about sheep.
 i knew
There was one person who Really Knew *Boom-mate*.
(*our laughter was explosive*, according to our co-dormies)
We spent many hours laughing Loudly..about the rediculous things in life.
College students and farm animals.
there wasn't much difference.
Nothing seemed to faze my Boom-mate ...not even our know it all young-uns who ignored her wisdom and obvious shepherding prowess.
One evening she warned that a number of ewes were showing signs of lambing...
the other farm students had better things to do that night than round up a bunch of unruley sheep.
They vetoed her call to bring them in from the field they were sharing with the cows.
 Before the rising of the sun 'Boom-mate' and i were awaken to calls from our early morning revelers
"come quick "....
"Your Sheep are dropping lambs like bombs!"
(Funny how they became OUR sheep at this inoppertune moment.)
indeed they were...
and like a bomber in the sky these skittish would-be mama sheep were hightailing it away from thier precious dropped packages.
The ever curious cows were mooving in to investigate the blessed events happening all over their field and the Ewes weren't sticking around to protect their babies.
He tends His flock like a shepherd;
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them
close to His Heart;
He gently leads
those that have young.
Isaiah 40:11

Hindsight is such a thing isn't it?

Looking back i can think of a million things we
coulda/shoulda done differently.
 Wisdom pointed us to follow the one who had proven herself
a Shepherdess: my Boom-mate,
and we learned more about people and sheep that day than in the previous months all running in our own directions.

What a mad dash it was to find these little puddles of just birthed lifeforms.
All we could do at that time was to hope to match babies to Mama's
try to get mama's scent onto lambies so they could attach and recieve the all important colostrum ...first milk... that ensures a thriving, healthy lamb.
We didn't lose too many that day
or after as we moved them all into lambing stalls.
But we learned
the value of a single

When He saw the crowds,
He had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a

Matthew 9:36

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