Can you ever cuddle too much? We don’t think so. But we do believe that to increase the pleasure of the cuddler (not the cuddlee), a washing sometimes is warranted.

So on a sunny day, we took James outside. James is a water-shy-sheep. They do still exist, sheep like that, and you recognize them because you hardly ever see them around water. If you put them next to a bowl of water, they just hop away, so you have to put them in the water. Take and put. But then in a more lovely way.. it was taking by the hand and putting to repose. But first we just ook him to the water before anything. It was a gentle walk, for both of us. We felt so happy being together, surrounded by green and color, we have this in common, sheep and herder.

But all this rationale did not quite help James much, for he was still so little that he could not understand much language. He preferred to be cuddled, for he knew that love is expressed that way. Smiles go a long way, as do friendly nudges and hugs.

‘Pota.. I am scared. You know I am a water-shy-sheep, that although my name is James and I have been with you for so long, I think that somehow my middle name is water-shy.’

We were so proud of our little mäh to feel his fear and express it. It showed trust. Therefore we did not ask anything of James but just look. With whatever means he choose to look, he could look at the water. He could look with his eyes, with his mouth, his nose, he could look with his ears even, with his senses, the only thing we invited him to do was look. We did not ask him to dive just right in, although we promised he would not drown, but we knew we had to start small. Just look, James.

We warmed the water with our finger. A herder can do that, you know. And then the weirdest thing happened. There were many pictures lost, a story untold, perhaps for a later time, but we suddenly saw..

.. James putting his feet in the water. He exclaimed it felt as if he could walk on water. He had his herder with him and asked for more water. Now that he had wet feet, he was getting his feet wet! And he wanted more.

So we guided him.

We rejoiced in this, perhaps even more so than James did. We just loved how he chose to let us guide him into this water, how he kept his eyes on us all time..

.. and how proud we felt when saw he was coming to the understanding that letting him to in this water would not mean he would drown. It would mean something totally different. He would be cleansed.

And oh boy.. how he got excited about the whole thing. Because we cuddled him so much, he was extra dirty. And because of him being extra dirty, we got to spend an extra long time cleaning him. And when we cleaned him, we talked. We talked and talked. James said where the lost pictures were and that indeed someday the missing story will be told, but like with hugs, not everything has to be put in words.

At one point we stopped the washing. James said it felt like months or years that he had been gone, and how much time had passed.

We told him that time with us is not measured in seconds or ours. Instead, we showed him how dirty the water was. He understood. ‘Oh, that long, huh,’ he bleated.

Who would have thought.. a water-shy-sheep, saw his middle name being blotted out, by exactly he was afraid for.. and that is water.

And although so much had changed, so much uncountable time had passed, it was still us, a herder with a sheep. And so it will be. Sheep for life.