Every day I have the best commute to my daily job. We live in a farm area that allows us to enjoy our bird dogs and be in a great school district for my musical-obsessed-teen. We only have one child remaining at home, other than the fur-babies who thankfully will never leave me.
While writing soothes my soul, my day job allows me to flex those important brain muscles. I think for a living and I love my job here in our lovely new state of Colorado. I have a wee little commute from our home to my office. It’s the best 23 minutes ever. I’m kinda an expert at commutes. In San Diego, I had a 45-minute commute to go a simple eight miles. In Texas, I had a 12-minute commute to go 24 miles.
My first third of the commute sees me pass a sheep farm. I have never in my life seen so many sheep in one place. It’s literally fluffy bodies as far as the eye can see. Now as I don’t eat lamb, this wasn’t a big thing for me. Until one day, a few weeks into my commute, I glance over and there it was ... a llama. Head up and looking around as clear as day. Every other animal around it for many pen lengths had its head down and eating. But this llama, it was calmly looking around. Checking out things. It was on watch.
I have a long-standing fascination with llamas. To me, they are magical creatures and for years they have been my very favorite thing. I have kitchen towels with prancing llamas on them. When I taught, my classroom had a llama mascot named Tina. I may own several sweatshirts with the words “Spit Happens” and furry llama faces. Throw pillows, a phone case and well perhaps a few other llama things sprinkled around my life. I adore them.
It was my second week in my new commute when I happened to cruise through with the windows down... hearing the silent hum of the sheep, smelling the horrible smell of their poo. .. when I heard it, the llama hum. A loud but very clear hummmmmm, and wouldn’t you know it, I speak llama. I spent many of livestock fairs walking through ignoring all the bleating animals until I found the lone llama. I became the llama whisperer... humming to them and cooing over them until they let me pet them. Turns out years later, that llama call still works.
I slowed to a very still crawl on that empty highway, both sides of the highway covered in sheep as far as the eye can see. Yet there in the middle, was a black, happy llama with its head up watching the clouds as all those around him were focused on the feed. I pulled over and watched for a full 10 minutes.
There were literally thousands of sheep on this property. Feeding, sleeping, living and yet in the midst of them were a few random llamas. Over the next few weeks, it would become apparent to me that they were the watchdogs of the herd. Regardless of time, every commute produced the same results ... the llamas were the only things within miles that had their heads up looking around. In a world of sheep, the few llamas were the ones watching for the trouble, those that didn’t belong, those that would wreak havoc to the herd. They were the ones that enjoyed the company of the many and the feed given but couldn’t just bury their heads in the crisis. They were the ones that spotted the danger and led the alert.
Considering the world, we live in, there are so many of us that live heads down. We are in a circuit of sleep, feed, work and sleep. We aren’t looking for those that stand out, we aren’t looking for the watchdog, we are simply one of the sheep. Doing what sheep do, wait for next feed and the next cycle. I guess the point is that in the midst of the sheep, someone has to be a watchdog.
For those that have stood the watch, we thank you.
Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Now living in Colorado, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.