Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Here's Rocky. All 15 pounds and 4 weeks of him. His feet and knees slow him down but they don't daunt his travel. If he's beyond being able to walk, he will ask politely to be carried. As he is carried, he is generous with kisses. His teeth are growing in and he constantly grinds them--I think because they feel so weird. He has really bonded with Oliver. While Oliver runs and jumps and bucks, Rocky is stead fast and constant. Oliver always checks in with Rocky with a little nudge or nose to nose time.
And I guess Oliver is our 'normal' lamb. He is, at two weeks old, nibbling hay and tasting grass and anything else he happens upon. He is very aware that he is like the other sheep in the pasture and I find he struggles with the choice of staying with me or going and visiting with every last sheep. I encourage his curiosity and urge him to befriend the older ones. He really takes the ewe's head-butts well. I don't think the girls mean to hurt him as much as remind him of his place, but he bounces right back for more and that tells me he's ok with it all.
And oh how I love that little white lamb.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
This was taken at Nile's basketball game this morning. The weather was cool (50 degrees or so), misty, and foggy. The perfect combination for staying home in bed reading old books and entertaining lofty musings. But here I was in a small, incredibly loud gymn filled with stampeding 11 and 12 year old boys and grown men with whistles. My new personal hell.
Then the brand new baby arrived. So tiny, so pink, so NEW. She was born 5 weeks early and weighed in at a hefty 4 pounds. She was perfect at 5 weeks old. Her birth date was supposed to be Valentines day but she knew better. Her cherubic lips pursed in sleep oblivious of the chaos.
And that took me back to when the kids were born--their little selves all balled up for the first few days; their bodies remembering their confined quarters and slowly realizing they could stretch all the way out, arms and legs flailing; sleeping babies with arms over their heads, hands even with their ears, open mouths.... and now look at them. Forrest is going on 17, is taller than I am, is ready to fledge the family as long as we support him. THERE'S a never ending stuggle!! Niles is having a well rounded puberty with playing basketball, playing percussion in the middle school band, and learing the hard way his mouth really is the source of many of his problems. (I have no idea where he got that!). And then there's Lillie--little Miss Thang. All things girl and she can deliver a punch too. First grade never looked so good.
And then there's the thought that life is so fragile. I don't think you think of that when your their age, but, when you are older and have chosen to deal with death on a pretty regular basis, you think about it frequently. On the whole, I see death as a blessing, a reprieve. A Release. I'm not solid in what I feel about suffering and what exactly constitutes suffering, but I do lean towards the mindset that imperfections are not a blessing. But I've met few humans with physical imperfections so that realm is foreign to me. But the animals I have known with injuries so severe that continue to live in spite of them--not what I would call a blessing. More of a lesson for us to learn when enough is enough. More of a huge neon sign pointing to the action of release. On behalf of that animal. A teaching moment.
And there are plenty of teaching moments to encounter on a daily basis. Just be aware.
So, long meditation short, live your life. Don't just take pictures of pretty things, take pictures of the real things. And embrace them as yours.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
His life didn't begin as sanguine and peaceful as many others do; his began with his mother's love fading behind him as he was taken from her and thrown into the back of a pick-up truck and hauled around. Luckily the driver of the truck has an inkling to stop and ask if someone wanted 'it'.
He landed in my arms. Apparently the lamb was 'retarded' and a 'throw away'. After all, sheep 'ranchers' don't have time to raise 'retarded' sheep. Sheep 'ranchers' don't have time to raise a lamb born with 4 club feet, blind, and a hare-lip. Even if the ewe wanted the lamb, the 'rancher' didn't. So he threw the newborn into the back of the truch to languish. Until the thought hit him to stop.
He didn't want to feed the lamb until the following day when I would be on my way home. Even though he was feeding three other lambs, he could not and would not feed another one. But he would bring me the bottle and formula so I could.
And I did.
Lillie named the new lamb "Mason" after a little boy in her class. After a little time passed, my sister noticed his tongue stuck out just a little on the left side of his mouth causing him to look a bit like Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky". So Rocky it was. Rocky Mason to Lillie.
I took him to work the following day and he was instantly decreed as 'perfect' in every way. What was discussed was the origination of the disfigurements--a possible virus because the sheep 'rancher' wasn't managing his herd well. Turns out, Rocky's disfigurement came from a lack of vitamin A from both parents.
Rocky took to the bottle like a champ. He began to walk on his little bent hooves almost immediately. He wasn't able to walk long distances, but he kept at it and even though his little legs and knees are bent, he is surviving and thriving. Two weeks after being born into a death sentence, he is walking, running and hopping as he should.
The cataracts that covered his eyes at birth have shrunk to over half their size, only partially covering his pupils.
He has a new friend now, a barbado lamb that came in last night. I can say that Rocky is not happy with sharing the limelight. But 'Oliver' doesn't mind.