This week one of our little flock jumped the fence.
It was an extremely cold evening, with blustery, biting winds and of course completely dark.
This lot always seem to choose the most inopportune moments to create excitement here on the farm.
As I have become more accustom to this occurrence, I am now calmer in my reaction whenever it happens.
I know that they are just as surprised and as scared themselves at being on the outside of the fence, as we are in wanting to get to them quickly, to keep them safe.
Until we learnt how to really sort out the fencing when they were lambs, jumping the fence could be a daily incident.
Now it is more of a struggle with mounds of snow that sadly should have been shovelled lower. :/
As they always seem to be playing the game “king of the mountain”…the jumping over bit usually occurs accidentally.
The outcome of their game is predictable.
Someone is jumping over someone at some point.
When one of them decides it is their turn to be king, the other is abruptly pushed down too quickly, and....over they go, right over the fence!
I would say now, unfortunately, I am very experienced in dealing with escaping sheep and sheep shenanigans.
On this cold dark night, however, this particular incident gave me pause.
I took my time after getting out, to simply observe their behaviour and their reactions.
Just remaining calm, I let the situation unfold naturally to see what would happen.
And it got me thinking.
The cheeky sheep that jumped the fence was just going walk-about on the farm.
Curious, roaming, exploring this wide open area…not really escaping at all.
He stayed rather calm, seeming to enjoy this extended adventure on the outside of the fence.
At times he seemed to look back over at the fenced area at the other sheep and what he had left behind.
A bit scared, hesitant and unsure of himself at where he stood now.
Maybe considering how he might return to the others?
The other two sheep were standing at the edge of the fence just staring.
I imagined that they were thinking, “What’s going on? Why are you there? You should be here!”
After some time, I slowly wrangled said sheep back to the barn area and back within the fence and in the end all was well.
Of course it is quite funny thinking back on it now.
We’ve laughed at the hilarity of their endless games and the jumping the fence situation repeating itself over and over again.
But seriously, isn’t it true when you think about the act of jumping a fence?
It is really a metaphor for life…for change, for the searching of something different out on the other side.
That leap of getting out of your comfort zone to the unknown, the un-contained, the unbound.
Taking the chance of a lifetime.
Of course there are always people on the inside aren’t there?
Standing there confused by what you are doing with your jumping.
Judging you, in sheer wonder and surprise, at what you are really doing out there.
When you should be in here, in your place.
How could you jump? That’s not safe!
Always someone there trying to herd you back into your fence.
To conform you, to be who they think you are and where you should be; where it is predictable and expected.
It is a bit daft maybe to connect the sheep jumping the fence this week with real life.
And I might be unsuccessful at articulating my thoughts clearly.
But the whole scenario really struck a cord within me.
It had me digging deep into the reflection of my own experience.
My life, like so many others, has been and is a bit like jumping a fence.
Making a change…taking a chance.
Being on the other side, the place one has no control of the events to come.
No way of knowing what is to happen or what we will face.
It is, as the sheep behaved, a bit of a scary. unsettling feeling of doubt.
There you are after jumping, looking back at where you were…that safe predictable place…the place where there is routine and consistency.
That doubtful voice inside your head, endlessly asking, “Have I done the right thing?”
Even contemplating, “How will I get back there?”
But what I am discovering with each passing day, is that rather than looking back, once we have decided to jump, we must set our focus, determined in only seeing the wide-open possibility ahead.
That place where only true fulfilment can be found, out here on the “outside”.
We must be strong enough to resist all of the voices internally and externally that try to bring us back into a defined conformity.
We must be open to explore, to be curious and to take new and unexpected paths.
We must get quiet, breathe deeply and focus on the self-care needed to heal the anxiety and manage the worries that will always arise to do the work of further crippling our lives and thwarting our dreams.
If we are going to take this risk to jump our fence, we must also be prepared to get lost, to keep trying and to start over again and again.
And we must even be willing and prepared to fail.
The outcome though, in the jumping, and the possibility that beginning attempts will not at first succeed,
is that we will know that we will have failed magnificently at something that really matters!
Something that speaks truth to who we really are on the inside.
Something that gives real meaning and purpose to our lives!
Yes, it’s risky.
Yes, it’s scary.
And in some cases you can’t ever go back inside the fence.
But jump, you must!
You must really jump the fence, trusting the process to live your truth and be the best version of the real YOU!
The YOU that sometimes only you are aware of!
Have you ever thought about jumping your fence?
A few quotes I have recorded within my knitting bag book this week:
“Everything will be alright in the end. It it’s not alright. Girl, it’s not the end!”
“Change nothing…nothing changes!”
“If there is no wind, row!”
“Those who don’t jump, will never fly”