A fallen comrade

December 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

By the time they find him it is already too late.

He came to rest in the lane, so you wouldn’t have seen him from the fields at either side, not with the high stone walls and that steep banking leading down. The snow so deep too, easily up to your haunches.

It would be easy to say that it was because he was old, and tired, but such statements imply that deaths are expected; even though knowledge of that reality exists within us, we shrink away from its truth at every turn.

So this sheep is lying in the snow, and even though it’s only been a matter of hours, the crows have been at his eyes so that there’s no blank stare, just a cavity into which the empty gazes of his flock are drawn. They could be soldiers wondering how to repatriate their comrade, they could be rubberneckers at an accident. They could simply be sheep, bewildered once more at the freshly-whitened world and the simple fact of their colleague turned forever upside down.

They will still be standing there an hour later, having reached no conclusions.

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