The Groaning Time

I feed the sheep at 6:15 each morning before I leave for work.  Though the dawn encroaches at that time of day, I still must turn on my truck headlights each morning to illuminate the barn.  Groggy sheep blink back at me.

Now, when I reach the barn in the smokey pre-dawn light, the first thing that catches my attention is a subtle chorus of groaning.  My sheep are groaningGroaning, I suppose, because two or three lambs are persistently poking them in the rumen, or pinching the nerves in their hips.  Groaning because getting up is almost a full-time job at the moment.  And groaning because ewes experienced in lambing are surely aware that they have a few weeks yet to go before their relieved of pregnancy and burdened with newborns, instead.  Whenter they can impart that knowledge to their first-time lambing sisters is unknown.

Dalek gets up gingerly.  Back legs hoist her rear into the air with a flourishing stretch.  A redoubling of her focus gets her two front legs under her, and one more forward lean and a little tail wag have her ready for action.  Or ready to waddle around the barn, as it happens.  She sees the hay and that prompts more whiney groaning.  “Eehhhhh”  “Mrmnnnh”

I feel guilt because I am relieved from pregnancy’s burden.  My health condition, while under control, would make getting pregnant possibly challenging and likely would increase my risk of complications to my overall health.  So I will probably never bear a child, and yet I ask these ewes to do so every year.  That said, I have to suppose that absent a greater guiding philosophy, sheep are Darwinists who believe in propagating their species and spreading their genes.  Doubtlessly, though, Tardis and Dalek are questioning right now whether having triplets is working too hard towards that goal.

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