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Unafrailed

Sheep had barely opened and closed the door, when he flung something inside the room. In it rolling our way, we saw gravity wrestle with cohesion and we saw it coming to a halt near our feet. It looked like square balls of fiery hot coal. It almost burnt our feet. ‘Here’, he said. ‘I don’t want it. I know it’s mine, but it’s totally uncontrollable. Besides,’ he said, ‘it can’t tell time, what am I supposed to do with it then, since I can’t escape time! It’s like continuously having to adjust my pace to a non-year old. It doesn’t age! And at the same time, as I age, it grows bigger! Here! I don’t want it!’

You can’t just make something that is yours not yours, the same way you can’t divorce your own voice. But we knew there probably would be a wiser way to say that. ‘Where did you find it?’ we asked.

Sheep shivered and moved closer to our feet. Not sure if he wanted to sit closer to us, or to the heat. In any case, his face was glowing. ‘I read about it in a book,’ he said. ‘If I hadn’t, I would have never noticed it, and it would have never bothered me.’

We wondered what sheep would do with his rounded squares. He hadn’t answered our question either. Where did he find it?

‘Apparently it’s an eternal and heavenly gift’, sheep grumbled, rolling his eyes. He dared not stamp on the floor, afraid that the hot coals would roll his way again. But angry he was. ‘Apparently it’s something like a boundary, the same as skin can be. But this thing seems to have a life of its own, I can’t control it!’

We looked at the coals at our feet. They didn’t seem to be minding nosheeps business, doing no harm, and the more they lay at our feet, the cooler they got. Their color was gradually changing rom glowing orange to grey-ish. It resembled charcoal. ‘I think I see what’s the problem’, we said. ‘You can use a gift in two ways, the right way and the wrong way, the same you can use your hands to hurt or to hug. The fact that you’re hurting, tells me that you used the gift the wrong way.’

‘No, I hurt because those sheepin’ balls got so hot,’ sheep said.

‘Those eh “sheepin’ balls” as you call ’em, are a part of you, so if they fire up, you fire up. See that they’re cooled off now, now that they’re at my feet?’

Sheep looked at us, then at his feet, then at ours, then at the rounded cubes. He suddenly remembered being born and receiving this gift. He was silent for a while. He thought why he never received a mähnual for it. Then he was sad for a while, thinking about how there had been a manual, but the sheep reading it spoke a different language. Some of them had misunderstood their gift and manual as well. Sheep felt tears welling up. Our heart went out to him; if he’d cried sooner, we thought, he would have cooled off his own sheepin’ balls himself. ‘Why did it have to come so far’, he asked.

‘So close you mean?’

‘Close to what?’ sheep asked.

‘Close to Me.’

‘Huh?’

‘I am the one who gave you this gift. It’s called anger and it’s a boundary. See how now that it’s cooled off, this charchoal can be used as a pen? If you let it write, it tells you and the other person what’s really going on. Sometimes it communicates to somesheep else, sometimes to yourself. But if you don’t use it, anger cannot release its energy and then all the energy gets stored up inside, making it as hot as you felt when you first barged in. And you are right: anger doesn’t tell time, it always lives in the now, regardless when it was born, as should you.’

Sheep took the charcoal away from our feet. He said: ‘I am going to let it write a story, and it will start with how I had barely opened and closed the door, when I flung something inside the room.’

 

 

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Different versions of mäh

‘Me’, sheep said. He was scolded for swearing, but didn’t understand why that was. Sheep knew how the name of Jesus Christ was sometimes used as a swear word, but in his own case it was just putting two alphabet letters together; how could that be considered to be swearing? Couldn’t it just be called a pronoun? Or better yet: couldn’t it just refer to himself? He was just a sheep, nothing offensive about that.

‘Mine’, sheep said. He heard that it wasn’t allowed to be self-centered. One should always be on the lookout for the needs or welfare somesheep else. But, sheep thought, what I call mine, somesheep else calls yours, so can’t we go with that point of view, me being so fluent in relationsheeps that whoever is talking decides whether what I have is called yours or even his?

‘Myself’, sheep said. Even the mirror disagreed this time. What sheep called right, the mirror would answer with no. For him it was left. Unequivocally. Whatever sheep called left, the mirror again would answer with no. Even the distance sheep tried shortening by moving closer to the mirror wasn’t fully his, for the mirroredself moved in closer as well. Who am I, sheep asked, if I can’t use any pronouns referring strictly, only and married to me?

‘Mäh’, sheep said. The world around him sighed and calmed down. Sheep had uttered that one sound, that only word that only he could have made, stating who he was. It felt as if every molecule in his blood was singing along, lining up to twirl together multiple strings of DNA that made up him. He finally found his pronoun. A pronoun that nosheep could steal. A pronoun that was him. It was his essence.

 

Stop not swearing

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So much seventh

Oh, the amount of trying. If we could carve each try in the wall, counting up from below zero, there wouldn’t be enough stone left to echo back to us to stop wanting to be somesheep we’re not, because all the grit would be on the ground. If one could pretend that to be an ash heep, it would be perfect to sit on. Sitting on high even.

‘You’, a voice said.

Sheep dreamt of versions of him that he had to leave behind once he woke up. All of him was nothing he set out to be. If molecules of tea pots manage to stay together, serving him the quenches to his thirsts, why couldn’t he do the same, being himself, serving others, or himself maybe? He couldn’t fall apart even if he wanted to. The wants had the same effects as the tries. They had left no stone unturned.

‘You are’, a voice said.

Sheep saw all of his senses talking over each other, as if nosheep bothered to put them all on different tracks on a mixer, so he could put the audio on mute from time to time, or put a dimmer on his visuals. His skin hurted, and he hoped that the past tense of the verb would catch on, because the world was due some refreshments in language. Could he pull the plug for the electricity, so he would be a day without input? That would be such a welcome holiday. Not leaving the house, nor the country, but to be on hold for a second or two. Not just the absent of visual, tactical or olfactory sounds rocking back and forth into his essence, into his presence, into his awareness, as if he was having his first sleep over at the beach near Litochoro, where Gods unrelentless ebb and flow, and eb, and flow, and eb.. eventually made him to just get up and leave, for he couldn’t sleep having God awake next to him.

‘You are made’, a voice said.

When sheep looked closer, he saw a specificity in emotion that lacked definition. The way foam heads find their origin in the end of water and the beginning of earth, so also he couldn’t grab what was going on. It was a whiff of expectation with a film of sadness on a bed of boldness, covered with a fear that he should have seen for what it actually was: a thing unknown. It was as if he had been given a spoon without knowing soup exists, so he carried the spoon in his winter coat, together with his tries and wants.

‘You are made in’, a voice said.

Would it matter, sheep thought, to look from afar or from aclose? The only thing that seemed to disappear where the freckles on the ground. He wished he had lashes or lids, to cover his eyes. When was the last time he hadn’t been awake? The voice filled his head more, and it started repeating itself, filling all the ladders of DNA he tried climbing. All of his cells were held together by the voice. Sheep had to let go, that was the only certain thing.

‘You are made in My’, a voice said.

Somehow the pronoun(c)ed capital sounded like golden thread sown into his tapestry. How was it possible to hear (in) capitals, sheep thought. And what was up with the four brackets all of a sudden? He remembered a poem that he learned by heart years ago.

“Alone, alone, all all alone,
alone on a wide wide sea.
And never a saint took pity,
on my soul in agony.”

‘You are made in My image’, a voice said.

Sheep gasped. Good thing he wasn’t in the water, otherwise he would have drowned, by expanding his lungs like this. He noticed a huge tree and sheep felt surprised by his own surprise that until now he never noticed it. Did he actually mute his visuals back then, way back? The tree sang, not only in the rustling of the leafs, but also in melody of birds that flowed freely from every branch. His gasping made way for awe. This is more than  beautiful, sheep said.

‘No, you are’, He replied.

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When God is on the move

The small letter probably didn’t come unexpected. The dictionary had been contracting ever since the observation that fire doesn’t necessarily warm everysheep that is sitting close by. Some coldness just seems to come from inside, where outside flames can’t expell it, even if you would choose to let yourself be burnt so that closeness would become an option. A thought entered, or perhaps it was a question, and it was mostly sad to think it, let alone vocalize it to the outside. There would have been multiple ways to continue the letter, we felt stuck in the options of what the next sentence should be.

We didn’t choose to write option one.

Nor option two.

Or three.

Perhaps we should just make a joke and be done with it?

Out of the black and blue an eight year old message fell on somesheeps door. It talked about the gift of being able to temporarily but at the same time completely fold yourself over another, like carbon paper, see-through in its existence, with the feel of the thinnest woven cotton, and from that position draw the contours in order to see the other and understand the point of view of the other. And if time was folded together it was somehow exactly how we felt and were gifted, perhaps being made in the image of that other, not sure if it was us under that veil, where our paper would contain letters, in contrast to the one of this other sheep that was not us. She was mostly and bestly understood in silence, she always said. But that’s not us at all. On our paper letters would hug together, forming words like powerless, and the word very would precede it. We also read painful, pushed forward by the word extremely. We read sad. That word didn’t need pushing. Where our paper differed was that -perhaps as a primal survival mechanism- we felt compelled to give words to it, to out it, because then it would almost literally be ‘out of us’.

Sheep understood his written word so much better than his wordless, formless thoughts and while writing he discovered the hidden, that thing that was actually bugging him. It was as if on paper he would finally mold into that shape with which he could completely coincide, as if that was his mirror, not one that with bad lighting and wrinkels would condemn him to his unstoppable increasing age, but one that would reflect the real him, embodying timlessness.

And when the birth was over, the book closed, the words were pushed out and finally the letter could continue with the best option, which was the unuttered sad thought that turned out to be more a question to us than to the one we posed it to.

And so we read: Will you let us love you?

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Subtitles deleted

‘Speak without words’, he said.

We remembered how the scent of burnt paper filled the room, the hallway, the whole building even. If we could follow the smoke back to the first sparkle of fire that we set to it, we could read our blacklist, made up of incidents of hurt, as if with every verbalisation we stitched the exact places where we could tear the paper, as if it were perforating tools, not poking holes in our hearts any more, but on paper, and with every word the piercing got more profound. Does paper cry when it’s torn? Trust it all to paper, as if you just spilled coffee, only more intentionally. Tear it all up, burn it, let the smoke of blackness arise to the Creator who knows how to distinguish darkness from blackness. The One who made fire. The one who knew us before we knew ourselves. Let him have it, our nostrils are not made for inhaling this way of living. Please don’t let us suffocate in the guilt that fills us now that we throw all of our sh.. onto Him, we thought.

‘The more you throw, the more visible I become,’ he said. ‘Let Me have it.’

Don’t let us suffocate then by the lack of oxygen that surrounds us in swirls as we surround ourselves with the fire burning our blacklist. Let me start with new beginnings, let me close my eyes and forget that I dance in a singular pronoun. Confuse us, scramble us, sift us, burn us, hold me, forgive me, love me, let me follow You so that the shadow your back casts on my life lights up my blackness, call me out of my past, Father, I am done living there.

‘Wake up,’ he said, ‘you are talking in your sleep again.’

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For all – stand tall

‘Talk to me,’ he said.

Our vocal cords strung together like wet rope that had held a ship close to shore a day too long. If we would let go now, not only sound would drown, but we would also exhale control, losing our voice to call it to come back to us. If someone would be able to sow a flag from the letters H E and L P, we couldn’t even plant it as a banner, because of.. because of.. because of what actually?

It wasn’t the talking he specifically asked. Nor the talking to. It was the me that had the emphasis. Or perhaps it was just his voice that gave the sentence importance. Knowing him he needn’t see us balancing our vocal cords, holding a speer to prevent our smile from collapsing, as if it was the pole that held up the tent that Sarah was hiding behind laughing – perhaps in unbelief – at Gods promise of a child, as if it resembled the speer that would one day pierce another promised child. If only it would pierce us, we would use the wet color to write on walls, not talking in words, but talking in cries.

‘Talk to me,’ he said again.

He gave us a secret language to use, that was as if we were covered by a veil, making us not invisible, but inaudible, and therefore invisible to everything around us, if only we would close our eyes to it. A secret language, derived from and having direct relation with that white stone that he had in mind, and already laid down, if it were possible even stronger than the cornerstone he used to build his house with, replacing tents for something so much stronger, a promise that would come into being, with a whiteness that was as special as the name that was written on it, to be known only by me and him. That name had the same length as the language he gave us, no vocal balancing needed, speer broken.

We couldn’t even say thank you. The words would cut through glass, rather making it bleed than us. When glass shatters it cries too. We couldn’t even say thank you for yesterday, for beginnings outside of time so it would be a certainty we never had to worry about seconds lost, for he would collect those seconds as he does tears. Not sure if it was us in that ship, or us standing on the shore.

‘Let go of the rope,’ he said, ‘and you’ll find out.’

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What if part 1 wasn’t the start

‘Just start’, he said.

Start with what, we pondered, for if we don’t have words how can we know if we’re even alive to talk about what is bothering us?

‘Just start’, he said again, ‘words will come later.’

But if words would come later, what would precede them? Would it be stone cold bricks laid out as a pavement for the marching of words stringing together to form a sentence at the end of the road? How could we even start building a foundation that would be strong enough to hold the weight of pain?

‘Time can’t captivate pain, you’re stalling by trying to throw chaff up in the air, hoping that the breath of the world will keep it in the air long enough for you to go unnoticed; move along, just start’, he said.

And so we did. We drew a square so we could sit in the upper left corner of it. The square was closed so nosheep could come in, not realising that we could only close the sides of it, and never the surface looked at from above. If we would have painted that black as well, we couldn’t see ourselves any more either and that thought was the only one keeping us sane. No matter how much multiplying of sheep we would fool ourselves with, we would never find recognition in one of them that hinted of being the exact duplication of the one that existed before part 1. If we weren’t throwing up chaff in the air, what was it we were doing here? Can we sling our tears up to heaven, so God would be drenched in them, covered in them, making Himself more visible to us by becoming a drop of water? Can we throw away regret? Can we burry hope? Can we heat up illusions? Can we be intelligently dumb?

It turned out that God was in our square as well, covering all the angles we called corners, looking at us with an endless invitation that could hardly be matched by a loved one’s embrace. We found ourselves trapped in – or captured by – His logic, for we had been unable to draw that square while breaking the rule of all His lines being perpendicular onto each other.

‘I can’t even be me without relating to you,’ we said.

‘Indeed, lucky you,’ He replied.

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My K

James woke up with pain everywhere. It felt like a flue pain, but then spiritual, felt physically. It was as if the pain from a dream got stuck to him, as a piece of chewing gum can cling to hair like there is no tomorrow. In this case, there was no tomorrow; there was only today. And he was stuck. It was hard to watch him, he thought he was in love, but didn’t know who with. It felt like he was being inflated from the inside out, and had no way of decompressing; the more he breathed out, the more full he got. It was painly pleasurable, but barely bearable. Again, it was hard to watch.

He remembered a letter mentioning the mispronounciation of the word lieve, and was invited to look at this all white wearing captivating scene from yet another sheep of view. Since eternity exists, you can actually repeat yourself in a past experience forever, he knew, and he regurgitated the words, the hugs, the sitting down. How was it even possible to be known only by written words and pictured frames? Was the person who invented the pause and rewind button actually a hero or a villain?

James heard the clicking of the pavement that was trodded upon, a path that lead up to a deepening of a reality that earlier he knew he’d rather digested as an illusion, just to keep his heart safe. But hugs don’t lie. Warmth is measurable. Words butterfly into your heart. There is no protection from that.  For the first time ever he knew that sheep can only be known layeredly. He was proudly boasting always that he could live with few regrets, but saying no to be stroked was one of them. But his fur hurt, as did his heart. Don’t touch, just embrace. And don’t ever let go.

Could he go back and retrace all the steps, as to delete them, by imprinting them on the ground with a different intention, a different sound, a different state of heart? Would he not only meet the other there, but himself as well, watching behind a looking glass that quaranteened his heart ever since he felt  it shatter? Would scents blow overseas if a hurricane was strong enough? Was that the reason he walked outside so often?

Can two sheep coincide with what comes from their mouths, like grieving tears on blotted paper which immediately immerse and burry themselves into the thinnest of papyrus God probably ever made? Was it a coincidence that the tears did the actually tearing up of the papers, adding to a second pile of regrets?

Great sheepness.. it was so painful to watch and we felt helpless for comfort. We needed seven hands and arms to hold all the pain James was hushing.

But then James spoke.
It’s not my pain Pota, he said, it’s yours.

 

 

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Forced to tolerate

The press release was postponed. In buying time -as if that were possible (or affordable)- they hoped to insert a correction ribbon long enough to stretch the patience of sheep and flock, so they could build in this extra layer of disclaimers, saying that if some took offense to the article, he or sheep was just plain wrong in feeling that way.

Sheep had experience with correction ribbons, they were a bit comparable to the umbilical cords, that can always pull you to a different side when you wander off. Correction ribbons don’t just pull you the other way, they delete what was just said and start anew, trying a different route to steer you. These things take time. Sheep knew about time. Sheep knew that if you postpone something to infinity, you enter a new reality where the concept of canceled doesn’t exist. The same reason that something is only lost when you have stopped looking for it.

Sheep knew the printed opinion was controversial, even though it was presented as a gift and a door to freedom; it talked about equality of sheep. How every sheep has to have equal rights. In voicing it that way, it deleted the thought that the flock was equal all along, and changed that to the thought that sheep were now dealing with unequal rights, so ears were pointed to hearing the good news.

It was as if the article said ‘tolerance matters’ and the correction ribbon hid the fact that this was a self-defeating claim, for the article read that sheep were not allowed to disagree. If you preach tolerance to be the holy grail, then by default you would have to accept – or be tolerant towards – others who do believe something different.

But, as said above, the press relase was postponed. Sheep didn’t need papers; they had truth written in their hearts.

And sheep knew that if you spend a long time together, your hearts start beating in tune, and the rhythm of that is more divine than any typewriter could ever accomplish.

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Resetting a default

What would be lost if you dove under the surface of this turbid veiled identity and noticed yourself being smothering in the fabric of the woven scarf that once was that umbilical cord that pulled you to the one who gave birth to you, and discovered that what you always took for granted and labeled as common unexpectantly became peculiar.

Sheep was faced with a conglomerate of decisions throbbing together to make up a city that he once admired from afar. If only walls could talk, he thought, these very stones would cry out, as if with their vibration they tried shaking off the chalk that called them names they never wanted to listen to.

So much dust fell to the ground, chalk dust. Breathing was nearly impossible. The barenness of the walls would make one think they returned to their original state, but there is no way resetting a default. When sheep coughed, little fluffy clouds of memory bounced against the walls.

All this time, standing tall though unseen, why did nobody tell him his true purpose? It went far beyond the question of who he was. What if the concept of knowledge in itself was an illusion and it was him who was covered in clouds of dust of not a building but a sheep that just got torn down? Does truth exist? How could he ever know for certain? What evidence could wipe out the contrary? Would evidence stand on itself, as his city did? Or would it present itself only in the shimmering of what you could bare to understand. Could he see truth and live?   I want to know, sheep said. I need to know. Even if it costs me my life.

 

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All kidding aside

When you have a best friend, you don’t have to see each other daily.

When you have a best friend, you wonder about different things.

When you have a best friend, his courage can outsmart your pride.

When you have a best friend, his thoughts may come before yours.

When you have a best friend, never invent new superlatives.

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She loves me, she loves me not

Waking sheep up in a state of disarray was how Wednesdays sometimes presented themselves. It was as if the morning silently rehearsed what was about to be in the news 7 hours from now. That collision of thaw and sleet. A tsunami of unbelief gushed upen the eyes of all the sheep that had until then been sleeping standing up, including McDreamy.

Six eyes covered him. Four eyes were locked in a staring contest.

Then both of the four eyes lost the staring contest and looked away.

McDreamy knew: it was time. He told us about a dream he had.

In his dream there had been a field full of female sheep, all bleating their love for him. The sound drove him crazy. if one female sheep was heavy enough, imagine a whole field of them! He needed out help to sort through them all and so we decided to write down everything he heard. For every sheep a new piece of paper.

He hung the loudest sounding female sheep in the middle.

In his dream he also remembered that he himself had a piece of paper.

He remembered how love was written on it.

What he heard in his dream was every female sheep bleating her love for him. All of them! They sung, they bleated, they were in and out of tune, it was one big cacophony of sound, as if was a huge wall that surrounded him.

And he knew he had love for her, too, but he didn’t know who the ‘her’ was.

So McDreamy decided that half of the female sheep were not being truthful, since it is almost unthinkable that EVERY female sheep would love him. Sure, he is the catch of the cattle, but McDreamy thought that perhaps some female sheep were just practicing their seduction skills just to practice. So they can be cancelled out. Especially the loudest, he decided, she loves me not.

And so he silenced half of the voices in his dream. She loves me. She loves me not. She loves me. She loves me not.

Even though now McDreamy only had half of the female sheep as option for love, he still didn’t progress one bit.

It’s not about who loves me, or who loves me not, he said. It’s about what is written on MY piece of paper.

And with the same ease a dream awakes, he turned over his paper and read what was written on his waking heart. The four eyes of his slippers couldn’t see a thing. This name was for his eyes only.

Oooh mäh sheep! It’s her, it.. is.. her! McDreamy yelled. How could I have not know the name of my love?! What was I, asleep or something? Curious as we were, we asked about the name on the paper. But the four eyes of the slippers had a new task for this sheep: to keep this information hidden for a little while.

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Who he is

What I decided to teach my little mäh?

My little mäh just happened to me, to be honest with you. I didn’t set out with a list of things or skills that I wanted to teach him. I think the best learning is done outside of gathering and retaining and spilling knowledge. If I had known in advance that I should not swallow and breathe at the same time, I would have never gotten to eat. I just learned to eat because I was hungry.

I would want my little mäh to appreciate little things. That one day he would walk in a forrest and think himself rich because all of his senses working together, producing  more than the sum of their part to overwhelm him with happiness because of where he is, and with whom. Can I achieve that by walking with him myself? Should I buy him a couple of trees?

I would want my little mäh to feel loved unconditionally by the two sheep he was born under, surrounded by the sibling and family sheep he was surrounded and familiarized with, feeling so safe that he needn’t grow one wrinkle in his face wondering the opposite. Can I achieve that by loving him unconditionally myself? By giving him siblings?

I would want my little mäh to stand proudly on all twos, or on all fours. Should I stand like that myself? Or teach him to count?
  

To be honest with you, I am not sure if I am the right sheep to be doing this, you know.. having a little mäh under my wing.. or eh.. hoof. What will become of him?

Maybe later in life the little mäh will remember how I swung him around, holding him by his limbs. Will that stick to him, and will that part of him never really grow up and be a blessing to others who sadly did? 

Will he remember how we would walk around, with him sitting on my foot, holding on for dear life? Will that mold him into a sheep that has the ability to hold on TIGHT and love HARD? Will I remember his gravity?

Will he remember how he in so many ways looked like me when he was young? 

Will he remember all the times that I did have his back, even though he never saw or felt it? Will he then finally see that when people saw him, they saw the greatness of me behind him, backing him up?

What can I teach him, since I am but a sheep myself.

I hope, Pota, that you will give me the honor of not raising this sheep, because I myself am a sheep, and I need a herder myself first. The thought of building a legacy of values stops me in my tracks, and shows me I am not grown myself. What can I give the little mäh but a peek of the world from my point of view, sitting on my shoulders. He would be as silent in certain situations as I am. Is that enough? Does a little mäh only need air, food, water and time to grow up?

Will I ever walk him down the isle? Would I then first have to show him what marriage is?

Will he remember how I deliberately almost never went to a dictionary to find out about things in life, but converse in him, to pick his brain, talking for example about the difference or connectedness between selective bias and cognitive dissonance. Will he then learn about these two concepts? Or will he think of engaging others in the future like this?

Will he remember that both of us look like dorks with a hoodie on? Or will the both of us not hear this memory because our ears are covered underneath a dorky hoodie? And why did nosheep tell us this?

All the learnings in life don’t compare or sum up to the experience of ‘him and me’, regardless of a raising or teaching issue. I love him for life. He makes my pupils widen every time I see him. His love for life affirms my waking up in the morning. I can’t wait until he starts remembering who I am.

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Move over, sheep got game

When it turned weekend, sheep saw but one option.

The option that he saw, was to ice dance through the day. The last days had been incredibly cold, even the hash tag showmageddon appeared online. So what do you do when things are slippery? You come up with moves that make you look in control when you go skating.

We would recommend this move if you lose your balance putting on your skates. It also gives you that extra check if your jacket isn’t zipped too tight.

This move can combine a couple of things in one go : check the time, check out that cute girl, and hide the hesitation if you would have been better off staying at home because it’s really cold.

This move can be made for putting on that other jacket if the former was indeed too tight. Or for showing the jacket to others for sale if you don’t want to wear it yourself.

This move hides the fact that you forgot to pee. It makes you look smart and sheep will think you are amazingly comfortable being by yourself.

We would recommend this move ONLY if you have seen others do it. You will find out why.

This move is highly unusual for boy sheep and can easily be mistaken for something else. Try to avoid this move, no matter how old you are, even if you have to pee. (By the way: there is another move for hiding the fact that you forgot to pee)

To do this move, you have to be comfortable with the ice for a little longer. Better do this move when you’re at home.

The other sheep will LOVE you for this move. It shows your dominance, your incredible balance and swag, and the number underneath your hoof. A general move if you don’t want to stand out.

A specific move if you don’t want to blend in.

And the last move: This one is done after skating sessions. Recommended to do this either on the grass or a blanket.

 

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My feet, my sheep

She’s cute, she’s cute,
She’s so so cute,
She’s so much cuter than me..

And never a sheep took notice of
her hoof in agony.

If she could name one thing, -we found this out this morning- that Elsa would want to change about herself, it would be her right hoof. It wasn’t as perfect as the rest of her. Her wool had perfect hue of love and white, the shape of her inner ears were perfectly tuned to the world, the butterfly on her head was happy, her dress fitted perfectly and drew more attention to her than it, her perfect facial expressions could have talked with us as much as Jesus’ friend John would have written if the world could have contained his books.

But still there was this right hoof. The shape was off. If it would have been a clover in a clover field, she would not have eaten it, because it had the wrong shape. Not all shapes with four sizes look like squares, she figured, and the same goes for hoofs. Elsa inspected it from a close-up. Luckily it didn’t smell weird. It was just the shape.

If I just grab my hoof like this..

Maybe I can separate myself from it..

But Elsa couldn’t separate her from her hoof. She couldn’t distance herself from the hoof she just noticed to be imperfect. All of what she thought was her identity now fell too. What is sheep to do when even two hoofs aren’t the same? How would other sheep ever believe her if she said it was her that frolicked their way?

I think you’re gorgeous, some sheep said. His name was Dean.

Re-heally? Elsa blubbered.
Yes, re-heally, Dean said.

I noticed the perfection of your left hoof, but that’s not what caught my eye, nor was it the imperfection of your right one, Dean whispered, wich I find quite hoofilicious, if I may say so.

What I saw can’t be classified in either one of those categories, he said, while kissing Elsa on her nose. I saw potential, I saw hope. Only then I noticed the hoof.

You know, all this outer exterior, how yummy I think you look right now, all this outer exterior will someday fade, Dean said. But potential stands outside of time. Hope does also.

Oh wait, is this turning into a sheep love story again?
Where they start to eh..

..come on you guys.. Let’s write something else.

You know, Dean said. Perfection is for heaven. Imperfections are living testimonies of your uniqueness, it’s as if they are breathing books. When you read a book, no page there is the same is it? Do you call that imperfection because you take one page and compare it to pages that aren’t even yours to have an opinion on? Why don’t you let the story speak for itself and read?

Elsa was sold from the moment Dean said he found her hoofilicious. You know, sheep can find that entrance in your heart by just one word, and usually it’s a word that surprises you when you hear it, it surprises you mainly because you feel your heart opening. She remembered him kissing her on her nose, saying something about clover. And now he wanted to pose with her, touching her right hoof. Life is good after all, she thought, if I were a book, I’d buy me.

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Scarfed for life

Dream sheep didn’t know the word ‘lonely’, or ‘alone’, let alone that he’d ever live in a vaccuum that confused the two concepts. What he did recognise, in both words actually, was ‘one’. That he sure was. One. One of a kind. And kind. But enough with the play on words here. We got a scarf to discover.

A while ago, dream sheep remembered, we knitted a scarf, not for any particular purpose but to knit. And when we ran out of wool, we bought new yarn. And when we ran out of grey color, we bought pink. And when the pink was ‘op’, as Dutch would say it, we were done. And that’s how scarfs are made.

Dream sheep knew that is also how scars are made. You run into life, for no particular reason, and when you hit a dead end, or the dead end hits you, you bleed, you turn and you start anew. Sometimes with a new color: blush.

The bleeding would trace him, though, like the bread of Gretchen and Hanzel did, but now as a shiny red reminder to never take that road again, as if the traffic lights forgot their memory of green that said go.

And when he did go back, the blood would cling to him, as if its life depended on him walking over it and it would silently start witnessing where he went from his dead end.

The more he tried running from his mistake, the messier things got. Dream sheep shuddered thinking about the years that he so violently walked around in life. He tried hiding in our scarf.

And when dream sheep felt safe in the world we knitted, he described to us the roads that he took and ran from.

From above it must have looked like a metro system, he said, going places, getting people from and to their destination. Sometimes he would walk. Sometimes he walked until he was out of breath.

There is life in the blood, dream sheep said. It’s so much more than meets the eye, it’s not the color, it’s not the stickiness, it’s not the seconds that it takes from your life as you watch it dry up, it’s not in a million ways you’d describe it, he said.

It’s the same when asking where morality resides within you, dream sheep said. The same when asking what carbon molecules make up righteousness or logic. The same when asking how much love weighs.

Why did you stop knitting, Pota, dream sheep asked. Why did you let the end of wool be the end of your scarf? Was it the same reason I stopped walking because I didn’t want to see my footprints chasing me, reminding me of my mistakes?

Why let yourself be defined by the million ways you could describe your life?

Have you ever looked underneath the scarf?

What happened after he dried

So, what do you do after a bath, dream sheep mused. There is always this gap that can’t be closed by jumping over it, because there is this uncomfortable period of time where you body intensely remembered bathing, but your mind has already decided on other stuff ahead in time. You are almost literally stuck between two realities, because the skin is a bit too moist to get dressed, but also too cold not to.

Dream sheep thought why so many things in life aren’t mentioned in the dictionary. Why did nosheep come up with that eery feeling of meeting somesheep and the prolonged inner shame of realising that you forgot this other sheep’s name? I mean, you can’t just call them all ‘mäh’, that would be way too conspicuous.

And why is there no word for a sheep who has lost a sibling? He thought: the feeling of actually loosing a sibling is real, why does that feeling not get acknowledgement by having the new role to be born into life by actual words?

That moment you realise that a piece of clothing is put on backwards and you’re not sure if you want to take it off fully to start again, or just pull your arms out to turn it. Added to that the realisation that not being able to choose between those two decisions only adds to the shirt being on backwards and that if you had just went with one decision you’d be done (and dressed) by now. Why did no dictionary jump into that gap? 

A snow flake hitting pupil. No word for that.

And who decided to call fate destiny?

Getting dressed was quite the chore, because of the aforementioned moist skin and every time dream sheep seemed to make progress, the fabric stuck to his fur. He started to feel like an idiot.

And not only to feel like an idiot, Pota, to look like an idiot as well. This shirt is way too small for me, dream sheep said. What is it supposed to be? A neck scarf with two arms? I look like a sheep with a red stripe! What’s the word for that?

Just look at me, Pota! What’s the word for this outfit? Oh, I know; the word is NO!

But the moment dream sheep exhaled the way he did, the shirt fell down to where it was supposed to fall down to.

Oh, jaay, just forget what I just said. I look COOL. Just look at me, with my Denmark shirt ‘n’ all. I am the prince of my castle. I am the bad of my ass. I am the potato chip on my own shoulder. I am the mäh! I can get things accomplished dressed like this. I can get around, I feel like thirty dollars!

So, this is what happened after sheep dried. He got dressed, meanwhile jumping over deep language puddles.

He got goofy.

He got endearing.

He got fierce.

And he got our attention. And he knew exactly how we would call that: love.

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What happens after you dry

We found dream sheep in his unusual ponderings. At first it looked as if he was sad. And we thought: how much would sadness weigh if it was packed in a sheep. Would it even look like a sheep? Would it even weigh anything? Where did sadness reside if it wasn’t fully dwelling in him? Did it live in us? Can we hug sadness to feel better?

(can we just love you between brackets?)

But as it turned out, dream sheep wasn’t sad. He had overheard a conversation in somesheep’s dream, that ended with something that sounded like ‘what happens after you die.’ He wasn’t sure if he was allowed to take other sheep’s thoughts and walk with it, nor was he sure if thoughts that are awake during a sleep are to be taken seriously, the same reason that dead end roads are exactly built for its purpose.

(can we just tell you between brackets that you are the best thing that ever happened to us?)

‘Hey you’, we tried, ‘thoughts can be just thoughts, okay? You don’t actually have to think them.’

(if brackets are like whispering, this is us adoring you in silence)

But something did weigh on dream sheep. His head was so full of what he overheard, that he couldn’t even hold his head up. He immediately understood why the advise to keep your head up never works with others, because if your head is just too full, the better advise would be to say to delete a couple of those thoughts. But even that was too much of a thought to hold on to, he just fell full. What happens after I die, he pondered. The thought of dying never really walked with him in life. Usually he walked alone, or with others. But never with a thought like that. Sometimes thoughts can be the silent pause between two very important words, he said. How do I know what is true?

(you are amazing and wonderful)

To discover what is actually true we gave dream sheep a glass bath tub. Both of us knew it was actually a vase, but since truth and facts are not the same, calling a vase a bath is not disturbing enough to change opinions on what we both decided this was.

(we will always love you)

We filled the bath tub with water.

Warm water, yes?  

Of course it was warm water. If a mother bathes her baby in lukewarm water, why would a herder not follow the temperature of his heart? We told dream sheep to blow upon the face of the water. When you blow in just the perfect timbre, the water surface will break, and the broken water will stay broken and hold itself together like that.

This is what we hoped to see. Broken water!

Is there more inside? dream sheep asked rhetorically and dove in deep.

There turned out to be no brokenness inside of brokenness, no.

Dream sheep stepped into the glass bathtub with warm water and brokenness. 

And the more he moved..

..the more he broke the water. He had so much fun that he finally could hear everything we had been saying to him in brackets before we bathed him. The longer he heard us talk, the more water and brokenness he absorbed.

..until he almost absorbed everything that had been in the glass bathtub.

This is what I meant earlier, Pota, dream sheep said. I feel full of the thoughts that I overheard some sheep dream out loud. There is a difference though, I also feel clean. But still full.

Ugh..

Dry me..!

And so we did. We blowdried dream sheep. 

We blowdried his hair first. 

And the longer we blowdried him, the wetter the towel got. Dream sheep look at it with surprise. This was all coming out of him?? He wasn’t even peeing, he just sat and things got wet. But the cleanness that was inside of him didn’t leave him. It was just the heaviness that dripped to the outside.

‘This is what happens after you dry’, we told dream sheep. ‘The brokenness that you created in the water you were born in the first time, became the cleanness that you now feel. And that heavy water will leave with time.’

‘You asked a question earlier’, we said. ‘Do you still want to know the answer to that question?’

I think I misheard the dream, sheep said. I think the dream said: what happens after you dry.

‘And do you want to know the answer to that question?

Yes please.

‘After you dry, you dress.’

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Married mähterial

To have a balanced flock you must have at least one sheep wearing a veil, the same way you can’t bake a cake without flour. Or butter. Or sugar. A veiled sheep symbolizes future hope (cake symbolizes nothing, though). Veilings are woven from fabric where each thread writes the word ‘uncover’.

“The words, that lifted up the veil..

..embroidered her to say I do..

..to him, until she realized.. ..this was a sheep she never knew.”

She had always been ready. She even had a belly button to show for. Not many sheep could pull this off (nor did they have dresses to pull up). When I say I do that day...
And he sings to ears so sweet..

..Does his veil too go away..
Reading: I am yours now, your help-meet?

My dearest mäh. That day will come.. ..I promise someday you will meet.. ..That heartshaped sheep that fills your void.. ..One who doesn’t have cold feet.

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Tears don’t cry

This isn’t Ben. Ben is more black. Ben doesn’t have this worrysome wrinkle over his eyes. But what  do you call a sheep that has no name? Just sheep? Him? Should we define him by his wrinkle and call him Henry? How could -we wondered- he ever think to go on a date, without having a name to introduce him by. Or could he do the same as Jesus did, saying: ‘It’s me’ and in doing so stun the other half of his perfection to silence and awe?

Sheep asked us for one pointer during dating. But we only gave him the boundaries of what could be perceived as an advise. He would have to fill in the blanks himself. And you can perceive that as a curse or a blessing, depending on your choice of where you want to end up. Sheep looked at the advise. If you love her, he read, don’t ever make her cry. He decided to first make the boundaries more visible. You can only read between the lines if you actually have lines. Black ones in this case. And there he went. Pota, this may take a while, I am not the writer of the flock, let alone that I am skilled at holding a black marker, to make boundaries for myself, for future dating. We had time. And when you have time, you give at least half of that to your sheep. So they can draw. Almost done, Pota! Well done. Now. This is the boundary we gave him. He should glean at least one advice from it. But how? sheep asked. Adjust two things on this piece of paper. Then you’re good to go. Sheep didn’t quite understand. We had to urge him for a second time. Just adjust two things on this piece of paper. The possibilites are endless. And by your chosing, you make an infinite concrete and finite and make it your advice. We had to promise him as well, that there would be no way he could make a wrong decision, because as long as he stuck within the boundary of the paper and the words, all was well.There he went. Adjusting. This is my choice, sheep said. I adjusted two things. Now it says: If you love her, make her cry. But, Pota.. how can this be advise? Because your boundary said to not ever make her cry, how can I still be within your boundary and do the exact opposite if I cross out two words, one of which is the negation that seemed to hold the whole premise together?

We had to promise sheep that he made the right decision and we asked him why he chose to take this advise from us.

Because crying isn’t necessarily a bad thing, sheep said.
Crying will always dry, sheep said.
Crying calls for comfort, which I then can give, sheep said.
Crying shows an unseen side of a smile, sheep said.
Crying is communicating too, sheep said.
Besides, I know that tears smell great and I can’t wait to indulge!

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Love mäh like you do

Of all the days past of regret,..

I know that isn’t true.

If infinity would now exist,..

I’d spend that time with you.

Replaying all the steps you took..

To capture that in frame.

And hear you whisper in my ear:

“my friend, you actually came.”

The darkness that uncovered us,..

and locked us in embrace,..

Was me whispering back to you,..

That I am here to stay.

My sheep, my friend, what reason be,
That we would have ever met.

I think my herder knew before
And prevented my regret.

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Reverence thug

How to live up to a tittle of a story that doesn’t give any direction to two female sheep who got dressed for an occasion they never entered? Rosa saw Lovelynn and Lovelynn saw Rosa. They recognized some similarities. They were both friendly in nature, a bit on the boyish side. Don’t mess with them. And as it turned out, don’t dress them as girls either.

The same feeling you get when all of a sudden you made a wrong turn into a neighborhood didn’t you foresee on the Dallas-map as being thuggish, because they just named it Oakcliff, the same feeling these two sheep gave us, when -for one of the first times- the order in which we shot the pictures turned out not to be the order they wanted to write a story with. When these to get moving, it’s more than a walk around the park.

But as we did continue to drive the wrong side of a choice, seeing South Oak Cliff Boulevard through to the end, we also figured what would have happened if we just wrote the story that was in OUR head. We would have seen these two female sheep being friendly, first of all. And the secondly and thirdly would come from it. They would have started to show an audience how much they looked alike, both with something pink in their hair.

The one sheep acknowledging this truth for the other.And the other sheep acknowledge it for the one.    They would have misbehaved, since we did drive through to where we could turn to the right on West Clarendon Drive. They would have misbehaved the same way two boys living on that corner would have done if they wanted to make headlines. The girls lifted up their shirts in their misbehavement.  The one started with the behavior and the other followed the one. Then the one would have bent over backwards, showing more uplifting of skirts. And the other would have followed the one doing the same. But, as is always the case with driving through Oak Cliff, there is a place where thugs just draw the line. This line wasn’t just on the map, this line was for Rosa when she saw Lovelynn fall over in her uplifting of skirts. This was just too much of misbehavement. So she helped Lovelynn get back up on her feet.

And folded down the hem of her dress. Yes. We should have known. We should have let these two drive and steer us into reverence thug. Because what happens when you take the outer sheep for a direct blueprint of what’s inside of them..

.. you end up with two sheep feeling totally misunderstood.   They were right, we needed to follow them, knowing it wouldn’t be a walk around the park.

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Wake up, coffee cup

Sheep have a different way of counting the days of the week. What we see as a Sunday, hasn’t woken up yet untill sheep wake up. And if they keep snoring, the day just waits until they get up.

And getting up usually takes Sheebo a second or two.

First because he sleeps with his hoodie on and second when he notices a camera, he wants to pose.

This isn’t him being awake, so you know. This is just the same pose, but then defying gravity. So, it still isn’t Sunday, Sheebo! Unpretzel your legs, good. Now the ears and hoodie? Ears. Okay. Hoodie. Check. But what’s with the weird ears now?Better. Ears should never defy gravity either. Sheebo had heard of a special trick, to call the day into being. He had heard that we drank coffee. Of course he wanted to try what that was like. And he indulged himself fully in the black gold we never called black gold. Just call things by their name. Woah, Sheebo said, I can really lean into this boost that I just received. It makes me able to stand upright immediately, I’d say, let the day begin, I am up!

Up, up up, I say, Sheebo said, not realizing that he drank a little bit too much for his own good.

I give this day a new name, now that it’s up and now that I am up, and UP and Up!Our sheepness, this was turning out to be a hyped-up sheep for the rest of our day, and we got some work to do in the garden, the yard and the balcony. I am up, Pota, I can help! I can help you out, help you up, UP! Up?

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Hurry up and hide

Little Jomo hadn’t been so little any more. His mother knew that. But both of them still really enjoyed huddling and cuddling with each other. It was times like this that Lovely was reminded of when she was young, cuddling with her dad.I wish I could cuddle so intensely that I would disappear in you, Jomo said. He was trying to find words for that feeling of not wanting love to stop flowing. He didn’t understand that in the same way that pushing an elevator button harder or more than once doesn’t have any effect on the arrival of the elevator, he couldn’t fathom the concept of love being so ungraspable, that the only thing you could do is be open to be held. Can’t we just try? I till think there is space for me inside of you, Jomo said.

The no of his mother wouldn’t have made any difference, for Jomo had to experience with his own skin what the boundaries of love were. She chuckled a little at his trying. You are way too big to disappear, she said. Whether it is in me, or in life! Besides, Lovely said, if you are in my belly again, I can’t cuddle you any more, and neither can you cuddle me. Then we would be so closely folded together that both of us are losing out on individuality. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Okay, that’s enough now, she said. It really doesn’t fit any more. Because of me AND because of you. I am not made to carry big sheep, I am made to carry little tiny ewes. You are a bigger tiny ewe, you wouldn’t want to go back to barely being able to stand on all fours, wouldn’t you?Jomo remembered those days, it was pretty embarassing, the stumbling he portrayed when he just fell from the womb, being snickered at by the bigger tiny ewe lambs who just made their first frolic. But what can I do then, Jomo said, to express how much I love cuddling with you? You can sit on my left hoof, Lovely replied. You can sit on my left leg, she said. But Jomo was off again. He had something else in mind. Something new. Something better. If I can’t disappear in you, he said, I sure can disappear behind you!And there he went again. This is getting ridiculous, Lovely thought, he is too big for life, he can’t disappear. Then Lovely heard some mumbling behind her. Jomo got stuck between her and the sheep blanket. She also felt some hoofs against her face.Nobody will believe you’re actually gone, Jomo, Lovely said. I can still hear your mumbling, I have your smelling hoofs against my ear. Now stop acting like a tiny ewe lamb and act like the bigger ewe lamb you are!But Jomo actually disappeared. Whut? Where? How? Yep. Gone. Like he wanted. Like he asked. Like he promised. I should have let him disappear in me, Lovely said. Because then I would always know where he was. My sheepness, what have I done.. I wish he had disappeared in me.. Really??