I talk about city life pretty regularly here on my blog, so you may or may not know that I grew up in Madison County– a fairly rural part of Virginia nestled at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Folks (including me) are still trying to figure out where exactly I got this huge dose of city-love that’s pretty much the polar opposite of my childhood experience (save for a week every summer with my grandparents in Roanoke, and lots of weekends with my friend Karen in a very walk-able suburb in Maryland– maybe that’s all it took?).
Anyway, all that to say, as a result of growing up on a farm, I had some awesome experiences, such as raising sheep for a 4-H project. Now, twenty-something-ish years later one of my friends, Becky, has a daughter who is raising sheep to participate in the very same 4-H show her mother and I did when we were her age. Naturally, when I was in my hometown last weekend, I had to go visit. Because– sheep. Sweet, kind little creatures that I named and fed, and walked and groomed and loved immensely. (Insert nostalgic sigh and wistful smile.)
Here’s a nice picture of me walking one of the sheep:
And here’s pretty much what the rest of the afternoon looked like:
Georgia and Martha the sheep didn’t particularly want to walk. When they moved, they ran (usually when I was least expecting it). But mostly they wanted to stand still. And nibble on flowers in the yard, also maybe snack on a little kale in the garden. And throw themselves on the ground like cranky two-year-olds, in defiance of the command to move. Oh, and it’s also possible that they may have had some indigestion (perhaps the kale/rosebush/lily salad?) which meant they were just the slightest bit messy.
But here’s the thing, those sheep I had all those years ago were sometimes (most times) dirty and stubborn too. That’s just not what I remember. I remember hanging out at the farm show with Becky, whitening their fleece with baby powder and laughing about that and everything else. I remember taking them for early evening walks on our farm with my Dad, when it was cool and the dew was beginning to settle. Just like what I’ll remember about last Saturday afternoon is how hard we laughed when they flopped on the ground and refused to move and when I tried to keep up with them in my sandals and dress as they tore through the field. Mostly I’ll remember the precious moments spent with my dear friend and her daughter.
Because sometimes that rose-colored tint we give the past is precisely perfect.