Old Moss - I
In the village I grew up in, there used to be two sheep for each human living. We knew the human population by the board set up at the edge of town. As for the sheep population, no one could know except for their farmers. Years ago, they used to keep their tallies to themselves. But one Thursday night they had a meeting arranged during sweet summer evening hours, and before he had even greeted the person of his first encounter Jonathan had announced that he had just, by the fragrance of the air, estimated how many sheep are currently under their collective supervision. The guests chuckled, then laughed. Murmurs were heard that he was confusing the smell of sheep with that of flowers, that his spring infatuation once again had fell on his animals, that he had had one too many glasses of apple punch. But of course, all wanting a challenge the statement and all wanting a win, they made their guesses.
Paula was the closest. I can see that. I can see her standing silently to the side, looking at of her co-farmers at the time. Making an estimate, based on the state of their clothing, the hard work on their face, their mood when in coming in tonight to review the season. Then adding them together, cross-checking, and waiting for the roof of the hut to come back down again.
Then, Charlisa made the connection. She had climbed up to the board to change the population number earlier that day. “There’s two to one”, she said. “Human being and sheep beings. One to two!”. It was just a funny coincidence, complimenting the chatty, tipsy atmosphere. However, as the night progressed, the hut got warmer. The human-sheep thing grew from funny to substantial to great. And like any enlightening get-together, the group could not wait to meet again.
For the next review meetings, they always started with a retally. Whether the population of sheep shrunk or rose, somehow that of the humans followed too. Always two to one. It’s been years now.
It was always an incredible thing and been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Maybe I thought the same things applied for all towns, or it was a natural relationship, just how the planet turnt, the world worked. I never checked between the monthly meetings, and often many of these meetings would pass and nothing was said. If it ever changed, we would have been told.