Thursday, May 9, 2013

To the festival! The festival? The festival! The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival?

Who knew Sondheim and sheep would ever collide. I sure didn't. And yet, here it has.

Blogs: bringing weird shit together.

I recently returned to New England after spending a week back at Shepherd's Hey Farm. Having a few weeks in between gigs, I was overjoyed when my time off coincided with the infamous Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival's 40th Anniversary weekend. For many years, Lee has shown and sold sheep and fleeces at the festival. She also volunteers to help run this massive event, which collects vendors and sheepsman/woman from around the country. Seriously... People drive out from California to show their stock at this festival.

It's SHEEP PRIME TIME, at its finest.

Having had won sheep-showmanship at the Guilford Fair my senior year of high school (one of my proudest trophies), I was so excited to be in front of a crowd with a sheep by my side. I also knew this to be an exciting yet tiring time for Lee, so the extra hand I would be, helping feed the still nursing ewes mornings and evenings, plus the 5+ bottle babies she has at the farm. Yes, back to feeding lambs bottles; I had missed it.

This weekend is a true celebration of the sheep and all they have to offer. Sheep provide us with some of the most sustainable factors: food, clothing, and mowing the lawn. But seriously, look at sheep for a moment. I dare you to find out all the ways sheep affect our world - more importantly, your world.

In this/my year of the sheep, I am cultivating a relationship with these creatures whom I first believed to be quite dumb, spastic, and delicious. When working with sheep, you have to take away an aspect of our United States humanity: we must be patient beings.

This is something I uncovered early on this year, but it took a new form this past week. All of a sudden, patience didn't mean waiting for these passive creatures to calm down before taking them by forceful surprise. Patience means coming to the level upon which they stake ground, understanding what they must be going through, knowing when and where to apply pressure, and more importantly knowing when to release. It's the release that immediately sends a direct line of trust and compassion, producing a bond of honest affection: being there for one another.

Now what would theatre be like if we could tap into that kind of patience? What would humanity be like?

Thank you to all the volunteers who made the 40th Anniversary of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival such an amazing weekend. As a first-timer, I look forward to many years to come. And thank you to Shepherd's Hey Farm for letting me join in with their award-winning sheep and wool! What a blast!

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