And, sometimes, it comes down to the “Third Rule”

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My job is simple: get around the fields and feed and shepherd the different flocks of ewes— dealing with any issues that arise.

First rule of shepherding: it’s not about you, it’s about the sheep and the land.

Second rule: you can’t win sometimes.

Third rule: shut up, and go and do the work.

~ James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape.


Notes:

Tradition

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My grandfather is asleep in an old brown armchair that is for his use, and his use only. He has read the local newspaper and fallen asleep in it after his midday meal. He is old and tired because he starts early and works too hard for an old man. But I wish he would wake up. Sometimes when he is not working he tells me stories. He loves to tell stories. True stories. This is how he passes on his values. How he tells me who we are. They have morals, these stories.

We don’t give up, even when things are bad.
We pay our debts.
We work hard.
We act decently.
We help our neighbours if they need it.
We do what we say we will do.
We don’t want much attention.
We look after our own.
We are proud of what we do.
We try to be quietly smart.
We take chances sometimes to get on.
We will fail sometimes.
We will be affected by the wider world …
But we hold on to who we are.

It was clear from his stories that we were part of a tradition, that long pre-dated us, and would long exist after us. The stories left you feeling proud to be part of that tradition, but very aware that as individuals we were bound by duty to carry it on, bound to try and live by those values. His main lesson was above all to get along with people; don’t burn your bridges or they will stay down for a long time. Having the same families live and work alongside each other for many centuries created a unique kind of society with special values.

~ James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape.


Notes:

Sunday Morning: You Have to Maintain What You Love


“The Horsemen: The traditional ‘Rounding of the Mares’ has been with the Almonte horsemen for generations. Over a thousand horses are driven across the plains and through the towns of rural Spain.  Being a horseman in Almonte is to live the tradition of our ancestors that has existed for over 500 years, to maintain the balance between nature and man.  It is something so rooted inside of us, in our blood, that we are born horsemen and our children are born horsemen.  The first thing they want to do is go to the marshlands with their fathers and grandfathers.  For us the marshlands, the field, the nature, is a religion, a way of life, an identity.  It’s a proud responsibility to because you have to maintain what you love.  We are horsemen, living in unity with nature and our values.  It is a community and a union, between animal and man.  I think for a man, where he has lived, what his elders have passed onto him, if he doesn’t preserve this then life has little meaning.”

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