I've BEEN THINKING... SAYS COLIN RAYNORFri 12th June 2020
As a writer I have never agreed with the proverb ’ a picture is worth a thousand words’.
I think it means a picture can spell out a complex situation without the need for a lengthy and wordy explanation. I have a picture alongside my article in this month of June, which, I hope, will lift your spirits as you look at the little lambs doing what comes naturally, taking milk from their mother. But there is another tale to be told about this picture that you would never know unless I spelt it out for you.
The name of the sheep feeding her two lambs is Stevie. This is where the story behind the picture begins to unfold. Stevie is now four years old but the observant and caring shepherd realised soon after her birth that, like many sheep, this one not only had poor eyesight but was virtually blind. The shepherd was used to giving her sheep names and it seemed right to name this sheep after the famous Michigan born singer Stevie Wonder who has also been blind since birth. It soon became clear however, as the little lamb mixed in the pen, with the other ones born alongside her, that she was also totally deaf.
Over the past four years Stevie has grown to be a sturdy sheep but a loner. Unable to know where the other sheep are in the field, she uses the fence to get her bearings and then grazes quite happily. She has a heightened sense of smell and now uses that with her lambs, along with her touch. In every way the caring shepherd has treated Stevie like the rest of the flock, including shearing her when the season was right to do so. Not until this year however has she being allowed to mate with the ram and as the picture shows she has proved to be a very good mother., unlike some sheep who will have nothing to do with the lambs they give birth to, Steve is a natural and her lambs know where their mother is at all times even though she cannot see them or hear their bleating .When the shepherd enters the field it is natural for all the sheep to rush towards her but not Stevie. She remains in her own little world although now she will know she is a mother. Due to a shepherd, who diligently cares for all her animals, Stevie, despite her innate disabilities, is having a life that, in other circumstances, she might never have experienced.
There are thousands of people in this land who are caring for members of their family with life long physical and mental disabilities. At this particular time, because of the virus that has meant a change in all our lives, some people have lost the daily support that has, over the years, enabled them to carry on. There are many reasons why we all want to see an end to this time of sorrow and disruption but in this instance, let us give thanks for the caring people in our society who, like this shepherd, strive to give the less fortunate, a life they can enjoy and fulfil to the best of their limited abilities.