Monday 11 August 2008

Sheep shit/ Thought shit



Dublin this past weekend was pouring pouring rain like a monsoon pours. It was kind of fun, taking pictures of people huddling together under umbrellas while running, like eager three legged race runners. There's a kind of pitch of excitement that happens when there's a real downpour, a gorgeous smell in the air, something about it I love.

You know, it's cold here in Ireland this past couple of days. Actually cold. Tights weather, boots weather, though I am holding off. There is constant and heavy rain. My mother speaks of Egypt like it's calling her to its heat. Only two weeks ago I was living in shorts.

Today on my wet walk through the local wilderness here in Clare, I met some wildish horses, some were mares suckling their foals, and there was a stallion who was sniffing deeply, savouring the aroma from a dusky mare's hind quarters as she carefully positioned her rump in front of him, and twitched her tail. God, the things women could do if we had tails.

I stopped to watch them. He sniffed at her, then rubbed his nose against the grass, against his legs, sniffed the air, she danced a couple of graceful paces ahead of him, twitching that tail, and stood before him once more. He followed, she led, thus. I wondered why he wasn't mounting her. I was standing what I considered to be a subtle distance away from them, but clearly it wasn't subtle enough: he craned his neck around and stared right at me for several seconds. I moved on, looking behind me every now and then, to see one or other of them looking behind them at me.

Then it was my turn with sheep, to get up close and proximate. A sheep's baa up close is a different thing altogether, you can feel the baa, rather than just hear it. There were lots of mothers calling to their smallish lambs, their teenaged lambs, and lots of smallish and teenaged lambs baaing back (different tones). Sheep tend to move in a flock, and they're not too keen on humans. Maybe this has something to do with humans' peculiarly keen appetite for eating sheep's babies, who knows, but they tend to run in a hobbledy kind of way when a human is in their path. And so I climbed a little down the hillside, and let them pass, baaing and hobbling and jogging with the bright blue and red splodges of spray paint decorating their backs.

My shoes were covered in shit when I got home. It occurred to me that sheep, goats, horses and cows, any animal that lives in fields principally, shits and eats in the same place, but they probably don't get sick because it's just grass, cycling itself. Sheep shit, horse shit, even cow shit, doesn't smell bad to me. It's rich with wildness. Sure I get thrills from big cities too, but these long walks I take around here are such pleasures.

I was plagued with intense thoughts of the kind that insist themselves but can never be resolved as thoughts. Maybe some day they'll just go away. I'll take sheep shit over thought shit any day.

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