August 6, 2016

Sheep of New York.

Photo by Christopher Althouse Cohen

My son Chris texted me this photograph from New York City. It's on Mulberry Street. So... as we say in kidlit, And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.

ADDED: Here's an explanation, in The Wall Street Journal: "Sheep May Safely Graze, in Nolita/Three ewes fulfill a pastoral vision set by the church’s pastor; ‘it adds this very bucolic element to an urban environment.’" The church is the Roman Catholic Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, dedicated in 1815. The groundskeeper retired and...
“From the very beginning when we mentioned, ‘Gee, we might get sheep,’ we’ve gotten ear-to-ear smiles,” said Msgr. Sakano.

The first set of lambs arrived in September, got acquainted with the grounds and chewed the cud for a month before returning upstate, according to parish leaders. When they left, parishioners immediately asked for another set.... Cuteness aside, sheep are deeply woven through Scripture and religious imagery. Psalms, Chapter 23 starts, “The Lord is my shepherd.”

And as part of the Communion rite, Catholics pray, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us.”

Sheep “are a symbol of cooperative life,” said Msgr. Sakano.

The sheep also hold special appeal to young parishioners and other city-dwellers who have “been urbanized, separated from the elements that have surrounded human beings for millions of years, have sustained them and given them comfort,” he said.
Beautiful.

31 comments:

Laslo Spatula said...

LonelyWebcamGirl15:

I know it was a stupid thing to do. Stupid, stupid! Like a dumb sheep, expecting only to be shorn...!

His emails seemed so nice, and he even read my poem -- he said it was beautiful, just like me...!

At first I didn't want to meet in person, but it seemed like he was scared to do it, too, which made me feel it HAD to be safe. His nervousness was so sweet, I felt like maybe this WAS a Connection...

So we met at Starbucks, because how can anything bad happen at a Starbucks? He asked me what I wanted, and ordered it for me -- he even remembered that I had mentioned on one of my WebCam shows that I like extra caramel on my Macchiato...!

We talked about movies and my WebCam show and poetry and whether dreams mean anything; he said he really believes dreams instruct your Life, and I told him I felt exactly the same! He also said he gets shy easily, and sometimes had to look away from the computer when I took my clothes off -- that was so adorable...!

Then he said how he remembered that I once had mentioned that I like ducks, and said we should go out to the Lake and feed the ducks -- there are few things better than seeing happy ducks, he said -- and he even had bread in the car...

I hesitated -- I knew better, I KNEW BETTER -- but I climbed into his White Van and we headed out to the Lake, except we passed the exit, and he explained he was just following a sneaky path to the far end of the Lake where it was MUCH more beautiful...

We fed the Ducks until the bread ran out. It WAS like a Dream: the sunshine, the clear blue sky except for one little puffy white cloud. He said he had more bread in the back of the van, and that we should go get it. So we did, except he then pushed me -- hard -- into the back of the van, and slammed the door shut, locking me inside. I KNEW I knew better, dammit...


Laslo Spatula said...

We drove for awhile, and I could hear his stereo through the wall behind the front seats; Neil Diamond -- my Mom LOVES Neil Diamond --, and he was singing along, like he didn't have a care in the World...

"Take my hand in yours,
Walk with me this day
In my heart I know, I will never stray
Halle, halle, halle, halle
Halle, halle, halle, halle
It's Love, Brother Love, say
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
Pack up the babies
And grab the old ladies and ev'ryone goes..."

I remember us driving over a rough road, and then slowing to a stop. I could hear him crunching along the ground as he walked to the back of the van. I knew this was my chance -- I had to run, to run far, fast, faster than I had ever run before. But when he opened the door he immediately hit me in the head with a tire iron and I blacked out...

Now I am lying in the dirt at the foot of a big tree: looking up, I can see the blue sky through the tangle of branches. I am bleeding, bleeding from so many stab wounds on my chest and legs, I don't remember even feeling them. I know this is it: I am going to bleed out any time now, I feel myself get weaker and weaker, and it is harder and harder to breathe...

He is sitting cross-legged on the ground a few feet away from me, just watching. I feel like I should be scared, but I realize it is too late to be scared. Stupid, stupid...

Then he says that, after I die, he is going to fuck me in the ass because HE gets to decide how and when things end. I don't want to be raped, even if I'm already dead: I'm not sure if that makes sense...

I hope my parents don't find out about my WebCam Show, but they probably will: it will break their hearts. I wish I could tell them that I was sorry, that it was a stupid thing to do, but I know I will never have the chance: God, it sucks to die Sad...

Maybe they'll read my poems, at least. Maybe a LOT of people will read my poems, now. Wouldn't that be funny? I have to die for people to read my poems? Maybe I'll even become famous, a talented poet tragically cut short before her best work could be done. I doubt it. But I'm there: I am there in the poems. I hope they find me...

I am Laslo.

mockturtle said...

Another poignant post, Laslo. It sounds right. It sounds like what we would think/feel in such a situation. You always seem to get it.

Laslo Spatula said...

I am tying up loose ends.

Sheep in the City.

Sheep on the Internet.

We ignore the Shepherd.


I am Laslo.

Mrs. X said...

Who dares follow Laslo?

But I feel I must announce that I used to sing in that very lovely church, and the picture made me wish I still did. ("For we, like sheep, have gone astray..." Messiah, GF Handel)

Fernandinande said...

Google street view with sheep - the church, with a 4.5 out of 5 rating, is about one block to the right.

Douger said...

They sang "the sheep may safely graze" at our wedding 33 years ago today. My fraternity brothers all giggled: seeing that I that I was getting married, they laughed that the sheep could graze safely...

Adamsunderground said...

Lamb of gawd, you take in the sins of the world, grant us kinky fleece

tim maguire said...

Sad that the WSJ feels the need to tell us about basic Catholic prayers. The Times, yes, I could see that, but the WSJ has educated readers.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"Sheep “are a symbol of cooperative life,”" Not sure how far I'd want to follow him in that train of thought.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Beautiful? Sure, until the anthrax and brucellosis and Q fever start spreading.

Seriously, though, there's a Mennonite church near me that rents sheep to clear land and a private company (called Ewe-niversally Green) that does, too. Sheep apparently love kudzu, and we have plenty of that here. There are several goat rental companies, too--a school on my route to work had a flock for a couple of weeks and they completely denuded the areas they were fenced into.

LYNNDH said...

Tip Toe Through the Sheep Shit

roger said...

Tastes like mutton........

I am not a robot.......

coupe said...

Lizzie Borden had Mutton for two days before her parents suddenly died of brain hemorrhages.

F said...

But the lambs, the little lambs -- do they really eat grass and weeds? I was raised believing little lambs eat ivy! Oh, and a kid! A kid'll eat ivy too! (Wouldn't you?)

David said...

Sheep doing the jobs Americans won't do? I think not. Just a money saving job killing replacement of a human with sheep wrapped in urbobucolic trendiness and elitist cute.

"The Lord is my Shepard. I shall not want." Other than one groundskeeper seeking a job in New York.

(I am not kidding about this. My brother in law was a groundskeeper for a convent for over two decades. He had a family to support and had taken no vow of poverty. They slashed his meagre benefits, capped his wage and cut his hours enough that he had to leave. No compassion. No gratitude. Bye.)

David said...

OK, Lazlo, you creeped me out. Not in a funny way.

bagoh20 said...

Poseurs.

Kathryn51 said...

Very symbolic, idyllic and even "beautiful" as Professor Ann says.

HOWEVER, how many here have grown up on a farm with sheep? I did - a small little gentleman's farm established by my granddad. When Grandad and Grandma went to Palm Springs every winter, the remaining family needed to make sure the sheep were rounded up into the barn each night and fed. In the middle of a northern winter (albeit fairly mild), it was no fun. The neighborhood dogs would frequently chase and kill a sheep (we were in the middle of '50s suburbia). Sheep were a big pain actually.

Except in the spring when the lambs were born and they were cute for a few months - until they disappeared and quite a bit of lamb would end up in the freezer.

When Hubby talked me into buying 5 acres (also in the middle of suburbia) 30 years ago, I said No Livestock. NO LIVESTOCK. So he built a bunch of ponds and the wild animals take care of themselves.

Paddy O said...

Love this.

James Pawlak said...

Jesus the Christ very firmly declared that He was the "Good Shepherd". What then does such a person do when wolves attack to take away or kill the sheep, lambs and (Like myself) "old goats" of his flock? Why, any good shepherd will use his rod and staff (Both weapons!) or, like the Psalmist David) some other weapon (eg A projectile weapon called the sling) to drive away or, better yet to prevent future predation, kill the wolves. The good shepherd will realize that it is useless to "reach out" to wolves or to forgive them as they remain what they are and that without mercy or consideration of the rights of the shepherd or his charges NOR any willingness to reform even if "forgiven".

Today, those wolves who attack Jesus' flocks are usually: Those who obey the horrid teachings of the false prophet Mohammed; Aggressive "secular humanists" (ie Atheists) who use the force (Too often of civil law) to inflict their goals upon Christians and other believers; And, that especially rabid sub-group, those who perform elective abortions and those who support them.

Those of us who are willing to be "Assistant Good Shepherds" (Or even sheep/guard dogs) in the defense of the flocks of innocents should recall what good shepherds do as to predatory wolves! Attack and destroy!

Quaestor said...

Cropping grass in a silent and unobtrusive manner, this is what sheep should be doing. Unfortunately in Nooyawk too many sheep are registered to vote, and do. Ipso de Blasio.

Quaestor said...

Aggressive "secular humanists" (ie Atheists) who use the force (Too often of civil law) to inflict their goals upon Christians and other believers...

Use the force? Are my midi-chlorians sufficient?

Check you history, and I think you'll find Christians are more likely to use "the force" against secularists than the reverse.

jaydub said...

The Spanish word for sheep is "chicks."

Quaestor said...

Next time I visit the neighborhood bar I'll say I'm there to check out the ovajas.

tim in vermont said...

Can you make money with sheep? I have an area on my land that would make a nice pasture, with a well I could pump water from, grass, etc. If I could justify them, I would have sheep.

tim in vermont said...

I guess I could rent them out to churches...

Johanna Lapp said...

NoLIta is the NYC shorthand for the neighborhood North of Little Italy. Just in case that contraction puzzled anyone. I think it consists of the two blocks of Mulberry Street north of Broome Street and butts upon SoHo, the neighborhood South of Houston Street.

Paul Snively said...

Dr. Althouse: And as part of the Communion rite, Catholics pray, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us.”

Uh, all high-church Christian denominations do.

Unknown said...

Brought to you by Keens Chop House!