2 February

Being Sheep

by Jon Katz
Being Sheep

A lion doesn’t concern itself with sheep, wrote George Martin. It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life, wrote Elizabeth Kenny.

For centuries now, sheep have generally taken a beating among writers, including me. I enter the pasture every day with two border collies at my side, and this is the way I have known sheep for years now, we really have had no other relationship. I am the man with the dogs. They are the object and purpose of the dogs.

With the arrival of the Romneys, the gang of four, that has changed. Romneys don’t concern themselves with dogs, they are too busy being independent and imperious and I respect them for that.

There is something noble about the sheep. They are stoics, defenseless but accepting creatures, they harm no other animals and treat one another with dignity. They have walked with humans for many thousands of years. I’m not sure it’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.

When I see the sheep spread out in the pasture, sitting so calmly, chewing their cuds, I think it might be okay to be a sheep. Lions, like humans, have complex lives.

Sheep, unlike humans, have very simple lives, they ask for little, need little, require little. They serve us in many ways, and always have. Sheep,unlike humans, never mean to do harm. They just want to get by.

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