Once there was a sheep.
He had overheard a word. The word was growth.
He didn’t understand the word. Then somesheep else said: “when you’re grown, you’ll understand these things.” But that didn’t help much. Because the sheep didn’t know that word either. Grown? Things?
Sheep was too little to understand.
What is it like to be grown, he thought.
And what are these ‘things’ they talked about.
He read human books about growth, but those books told him what to do about unwanted nose hair growth, how to make your money grow, how to nurture the trust in relationsheeps so it can grow. He even saw a book on how cake grows, but that was a children’s book that didn’t want to use the word leaven, or rise. Otherwise children would always think they would bloat up like bread when they heard their mother say ‘rise and shine!’
When all the books were read, sheep still didn’t know anything about growth, not his own growth anyway. He saw how it became dark when he closed his eyes and when he kept them shut long enough. Later he found out that it became dark all around him too. He noticed this because he one time secretly had opened his eyes after his herder told him to go to sleep. And sheep had learned that sleep equals closing your eyes.
And in that darkness of his closed eyes he thought how he saw the sun change into darkness, and he wondered: was that growing? That light turns into darkness and when you forgot to keep count on how many sheep you counted it is light again?
In the light he watched the herder being busy on the field.
He saw seeds were put in the ground.
And when sheep saw many days grow by, he eventually saw a green whisker pop up out of the soil. With more passing of light into darkness, more counting of sheep, and a sudden appearance of light again, he saw the green whisper grew hands. And eventually the whole green thing got a face. Sheep knew that his herder liked flowers. Was this what growth was about? Putting stuff in the ground to then see it become something else?
Eventually darkness grew back into light and sheep saw that the flower had little seeds in its cheeks, its face surrounded by these flames of yellow, it was just amazing to see. It were the same seeds as the herder had put in the ground countless of count sheep in the dark ago. Sheep thought would he have many seeds in him too, or perhaps he had many little sheep inside him? Should he should burry himself in the ground too, to grow? Thinking about it gave him a warm feeling, because he had always liked the warmth of the sun, his wool beaming with a heavenly temperature he called home. He also did enjoy nibbling on the seeds when the herder wasn’t looking. One time he even found a seed in his own wool, jay!
Sheep decided to ask the herder about growth. But first he asked about the flower, because he liked it when things had a name. It was quite handy to have a name in the flock, that way the sheep always knew the herder called them and not the 99 others that were flocking all over the place. Funny thing is that the name calling didn’t work all the time though, because when he heard someone else than his herder call out for him, he just kept on grazing. When his herder called, it sounded.. well.. it sounded right. He couldn’t quite explain it. Luckily the herder never asked.
It is a sunflower, the herder said.
‘How does it grow?’
Tell me what you see him do, the herder said.
So the sheep observed first before he answered. He saw that the flower enjoyed the nutrients he got. The sheep also noticed that the flower’s face followed the sun. In the morning the flower looked to the east, and in the evening its face stared to the west, silently saying goodbye to the light, as the light grew into this darkness again. It was always around this time also that the herder got up and went to his own shed, saying “I’m calling it a day”. That is how sheep came to understand another concept they first didn’t know.. what a day was, it was darkness lighting up and become dark again. Herder called it first. He called it a day, and it was so. If sheep would have called it first, he might have called it growth; then we would have had seven growths in one week.
‘Your flower is a follower’, sheep finally said to the herder. ‘Does he grow because he follows the sun? Is that why you call him sunflower? And should I follow the sun too,’ sheep asked, he started tripping over his own thoughts, too many questions came out, sometimes when sheep open up, they are fearlessly limitless, it’s like you leave a fence open, before you know it, all the sheep are gone.
‘Should I follow the sun too, then I have to stand here all day, won’t my neck become all stiff then?’
The herder replied short. Yes, he said.
‘Yes to which question?’
Yes, your neck will become all stiff if you must follow the sun standing still here all day. That’s why I have something better for you. You can still enjoy the sun, and you can still eat the seeds that I sometimes see you nibble on when they fall out of the flower’s cheeks you think I don’t see you nibble, but that’s quite all right, little mäh, because I have planted them especially for you. I also chose to not sheer you, so some seeds hide in your wool, and in time you will find them and enjoy them.
‘So, I don’t need to follow the sun,’ sheep said.
‘What do I do then’, sheep asked.