Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Grounds

The sheep got out following a stormy night. This is the second time I was out early rushing through static fog looking for them. A wire, the source of electricity to their fence was broken and far flung down to the ground as if a deer or moose had run through it. No fence posts were disturbed, nor were there any definitive tracks to follow. So without a trace of evidence to suggest which way they might have gone, I cruised around some nearby fields on foot with no luck. Too foggy to see a fluffy white sheep anyway. So I asked my neighbor, a hunter, for help with tracking the sheep. We studied the fence perimeter for signs. Nada. Last time they got out they traveled a whole mile up through woods. With that capability for wanderlust fresh in mind, we decided to search the closest fields of our neighbors farm and the forest between. We agreed to meet up after an hour and so we set out through the woods.

East Hill Farm sits on a dome-shaped pile of rock at one end of East Hill. Fields were carved down and all around out of the beech tree forest to grow corn for dairy cows, back when the price of milk was good in the 50s. The house we live in was built with milk money in those days. With so many possible places, finding sheep on any given day would conjure the old needle in a haystack saying. Add fog and we've got 360 degrees of nothing.

The sheep left no trace. From home I notified the town clerk, the police, and all the neighbors I could think of, just in case. Lucy came home on lunch from milking cows after I had just finished my egg and toast. Though concerned, we tried to relax and wait, helpless in the blinding fog . We plotted our next search with a topographic map at the kitchen table. Suddenly, Lucy looked up from her coffee and said calmly, "there they are..." And there they were chewing cud outside our window. The fog was so thick you could hardly spy them. A sight for sore eyes! They came and got us!

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