Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Screaming of the Lambs

Over the weekend Terry and I went to Chuliota to visit Eileen and Lewis. Eileen gave us a wonderful driving tour of the surrounding area and she pointed out some areas I should return to sketch. When we got back to the house Eileen and Terry sat on the porch and gossiped and I knew they would be occupied and happy for hours. I decided to wander up the street to see some of the livestock that live in the neighborhood. I wanted to do a simple bucolic sketch.
When I approached this holding pen, all the sheep bowed their heads down in alarm. When I put down my artist chair, they all scattered and ran to the far corner of the pen. If I moved they would run to the oposite corner. I decided I would never get just the right angle so I stood and just started sketching.
When I was halfway finished with the sketch, an unexpected drama unfolded. Two rams who were in the larger open area behind this pen started ramming the door to this pen with their heads and curved horns. A male sheep on the inside tried to stop them by ramming the door in the opposite direction at the same time. The door was thrown open and the 2 rams charged in causing all the sheep to cry out and run. The rams focused on a single female sheep and began chasing her relentlessly. I wondered if I should run to the farm house and warn the owners, what was happening was criminal.
All the other sheep ran out of the pen leaving just the female sheep as she ran from the two rams. One ram would butt her in the side to direct her while the other pursued from behind. Luckily the rams were not smart enough to ever isolate her in a corner. As you might have guessed by now I simply kept sketching. The young sheep who had broken free screamed Maaaa Maaaa at the top of their lungs. It sounded to me like they were screaming for their mother in alarm. The female never let her pursuers corner her. The chase broke out into the larger holding area and the second ram gave up, leaving just one pursuer. When the sketch was finished I saw the female still trotting at a safe distance with her tongue hanging out. The ram was equally exhausted and overheated. She had worn her opponent down. He was to tired for any more advances.


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