‘Narrow paths appear across the fields. The sheep follow one another so as not to trample the pasture. I would never have thought of that.’
A literary graduate curtails his doctoral studies to move with his family to the fully working farm he unexpectedly inherits where he is responsible for a flock of sheep. He starts keeping a record of his days in the field, recounting the joys and sorrows of life in the country, the big events as well as the seemingly trivial.
Spending time with his flock turns out to be a very different experience from what he expected, as he goes from a grudging lay-farmer to fully appreciating the wonders of the little world he now inhabits. As he follows the season with the sheep, he wonders whether he really is the one caring for them, or if they are the ones actually keeping him? The answer, perhaps, lies somewhere in between.
In this contemplative and irresistibly delightful little book, Axel Lindén delves into the small wonders of our world, demonstrating to the us that it’s often the little things in life that mean the most, while leading the reader to consider ourselves and our place in the universe. After all, seeing oneself through an animal’s eyes, renders new and highly surprising perspectives and insights.
‘I’ve been thinking about my relationship with the sheep. In a way there’s not much to be said for it. We stand and stare at each other for a few minutes every day. But taking care of living creatures is about more than relating to individuals. They are under my care and this is only partially apparent in the mutual staring. Most of the caring is done without the recipients’ involvement – the fence, the winter feed, the mucking out, the water. Sheep have been domesticated for 11,000 years, they say. We look at each other, the sheep and I, and it’s like we look down into a deep well of experiences, problems, possibilities, worries, sources of joy – life in all its dimensions and inconceivable scope across time and space.’