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Saturday, January 25 2020

I received this little needlefelted donkey in the mail last week. He was a gift from a friend - a friend I have never met. Like others among us, we are bound together by sheep. Our friendship is one more string on the web of women tied to each other by this  mystic connection between women and sheep.  There is something about sheep, a magical something, an earthy something, a something that only another touched by that magic can understand. From the shepherd who tends the wool on the animal, to the fiber artist who creates with that wool, the wool tendrils of the sheep bind women together. 

There is magic in wool - the magic of friendship. The wool leaves the hands of the shearer and the shepherd to continue its journey. Each hand that plunges into a bag of raw wool sizzles with magic as that fiber carries the sunshine of the sheep with it. The wool waits patiently for the touch of another woman destined to be part of the web, part of that network of women joined by the magic of fiber- the smell of the sheep. 

Sheep connect women. Many years ago a stranger came to my blog, drawn to me by my sheepdog and my sheep. We were soon joined by an invisible web of fiber as she became my elder, my Sheep Mother, and led me along the path of sacred sheep, teaching me the ways and the magic of this life. There I found other women, dear friends of hers, women whom she had never met in person, women who had bought wool from her sheep, women who were now connected to her and her sheep, and as happens, now to me. 

Last summer a large box showed up at my front gate. Too big to fit in the mailbox, it was left on the ground beside the gate, where it patiently waited for me. Puzzled, I carefully cut the box open. There I found magic.

It moved me to tears. I cried for the woman who sent the box - a woman who had lost a mother. I cried for the mother, a dear friend of my Sheep Mother, women who had never met in person, but were bound together by the fiber of sheep. Theirs was a friendship borne in sheep. Just like she and I, they were spun together to form a yarn of close friendship. They had never touched fingers, and yet they are forever entwined. 

In the box was a drum carder, a most expensive tool used to process fiber before spinning it into yarn. As I gingerly lifted it from the box, tears welled in my eyes. A woman I had never even spoken with sent me this because such is the tie of sheep that holds women together. And in time, I will also pass down this drum carder to another woman bound to us by the sheep. 

I see the patterns in this spiderweb of women and sheep now. The sheep and the wool bind us, but as we age and lives change the daily care of the sheep moves to younger women who are led by the wisdom of our elders. In turn, we share these sheep and their wool with them. The sheep are not ours to own, but belong to the community of women bound to each other. The wool we harvest is shared with our elders who no longer manage their own flocks. In turn they share their wisdom and their stories with younger women along the web. And at the center of the web, is the humble sheep, this gift from the Creator that cares for and binds generations of women together.

Posted by: Forensicfarmgirl AT 10:27 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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