I woke up and went straight out to the barn. Her head was down and my worst fears were realized. There t were her eyes - fixed and lifeless. Lilly had died in the night My heart ached. What could I have done to make her live a little longer? All the mornings and nights with buckets of warm grain in her belly. All the pounds and pounds of apples for a night-night snack. Lilly was the only sheep that knew her name. The only sheep that came running at the sight of me. We were so bonded. So many years together and so many stories we could tell each other. As I stared at Lilly who was still under her blanket I heard a banging and thrashing not far away. What was that? The barn was still dark in the morning but I could make out something black shaking and kicking by the old wooden stanchion wall across the barn. I ran toward the sound which could not be anything good, and there was my lamb, Cinco, born last May 5, with his leg caught in between two boards. I climbed over the wall and freed his leg. Who knows how long the poor thing had been there, perhaps all night. That wall is where I stand with the pig buckets to let the sheep lick the grain on the bottom. I pulled him up and steadied him. He swayed back and forth in a daze. With very little time before I had to leave for work - ugh! - I made sure he could walk and left him to get his bearings. My heart was very heavy with the loss of my friend Lilly, but the fact that I saved my lamb from a horrible fate told me the rest of my flock needed me. I took it as a sign that I can't go off the deep end over a sheep who lived a long and happy life with my total devotion over the last 13 years. I have too many other lives I am responsible for. Little Cinco is okay, with one eye swollen from lying on the dirt, but otherwise fine. His lovely hogget fleece was ground into the dirt with his thrashing, but will wash out fine. No broken or sprained leg that I can see. I have several old girls like Lilly. They have yellow and red tags. I don't tag sheep anymore. Can't stand to do it to them, and the tags rip out or fall out over the years. I know who they are. Even if I can't remember their names I know who they are. We are bound together. I promise them that they will never be "shipped" or gotten rid of, and they make me happy in return. As long as I can work and feed them we will remain happy together. Matt took care of Lilly tonight for me. When I got home from work I looked at her again, somehow hoping she was alive and I was wrong when I found her this morning. She is not up on the ridge, at the sacred place where we offer up our dead to the wildlife to go back to the earth - she is grazing on a pasture that is forever green and lush, where the apples are so plentiful the boughs almost touch the earth, and the spring water is cool and sweet.