I remember the old sheep. Gone for a week now, but their spirits have stayed behind. I look at the photos, the gift they gave me and I remember them. Someone e-mailed me that they thought I was just using the sheep to photograph and then sent them away. He was right. This is true.
People do not understand the lives of farm animals, and why would they? Farmers never both to explain them. A woman asked me on Facebook why these sheep would be sent to slaughter if they are so old. I realize that she didn't know that almost all farm animals are slaughtered, they don't die natural deaths or get funerals – nobody can afford that. I think in urban America, there is this notion that all animals can be kept alive in a "no-kill" world, but that is not the world of animals on farms or in the wild, not the idea of animals on farms. Few sheep ever get to live as long as my old sheep and the only question is when they will go to slaughter, not if. Even old sheep can yield food, mean, oil for soap, feed for other animals.
I see that many people do not know that these animals have to die, that they are too expensive to keep alive if they are not useful. How wise is the gap between the people who make food and the people who eat it.
I think of the old sheep. Perhaps they can teach others as well as me.