I squeeze the lavender wool, knead it with my paws as my little cats do—soft and clean now, dyed the most lovely shade of lavender, no lanolin left—and I’m standing in the chute of my uncle Lynn’s sheep barn as he opens the gate and lets them in. I stand there with dozens of sheep squeezing past and around me, and no matter how many come through and surround me, no matter how hard they push, I feel no pressure—only soft, greasy wooly puffs, fluffy and furry and frantic, with legs. They bleat and lean together and I squeeze their fluffy backs and am surprised at how greasy my hands are.
My uncle tells me I can feed the little orphaned lambs. I hold the bottle in both hands as they tug and suck the milk, so insistent, so hungry, perhaps with a little anger at their mothers for deserting them.
Why, Oh, why, take the life of such an amazing creature—for meat. One who stands in green pastures, in the rain, and grows wool for us to shear, to knit, to wrap around our necks as soft lavender scarves.