Saturday, September 21, 2013



A young man is walking along a stony beach on an island in the Outer Hebrides. It is chilly but there is a spring smell in the air. The beach is cross hatched with an occasional scarp. Farther down the scarp meets the water and the young man will not be able to walk further on the waterfront. But before he reaches the end of the beach, right around the place he first intended to turn and head back, he spots a very white baby lamb half way up the scarp. It is bawling piteously and very white but smudged with dirt and a little redness. It is in distress. The man, wearing a perfectly aged pair of Vasques, and happening to have an old thin pair of leather driving gloves in the pocket of his oiled cotton Barbour Mac, climbs somewhat carelessly, but with years of experience to support his efforts and grabs the baby lamb. He continues to the top of the scarp from which the lamb has fallen, carrying it over his shoulder and trying to hold its two back legs when he doesn't need both hands to keep his purchase on the craggy rock.

After he reaches the top and begins to walk over the barely perceptible path leading to his ancient but picturesque cottage, he examines the lamb and sees it is fine except for a few abrasions on its haunch from falling against the stone. He puts the lamb in the yard with the other few sheep he owns, some who have recently lambed. None of the ewes will let the baby nurse so the young man drives his little red car to town and buys special formula for abandoned lambs. He loves the lamb. The lamb loves him. The lamb thrives under his care and is always a bit brighter, a bit bouncier, a bit larger than the other lambs. Sometimes the other lambs, now young sheep, gang up to tease him, but they know he is the leader and usually they let him lead. He is a good leader anyway, they know. The next spring, when it is time to shear the sheep, the young man notices his favored lamb has a more lustrous, healthier looking crop of fleece than the others, so as he shears away, he keeps the wool from the special lamb separate. The wool goes to market as is usual. Walking around money. But the special wool he takes to his aunt's house who lives the other side of the tiny village. "This is wondrous wool," she says. "I will make a special sweater." And she does. Then the young man goes out in the world wearing the special sweater. As he progresses through the world many people say, "Hey, cool sweater." "Oh, what a lovely sweater." "Is that wool bleached? It is so very white."

Then one day the young man is on his way back home. He never stays away for long. He is on a pedway in an airport. Approaching on the opposite pedway is a lovely young girl. The pedway is very crowded but she looks up intently at the oncoming traffic as she notices a certain evocative scent of aftershave that gets her attention, and she spots the young man. "If I didn't have to run for this stupid plane, I would vault over this wall and make a move on that guy," she thinks, and gives him a delicious smile which he hungrily tastes as he moves past, returning a glimpse of self satisfaction over what might have been, as they both well know. As she moves on, the young girl, too busy to feel regret, thinks only, "God, that sweater he had on was gorgeous."

The End

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