I wish you were here, so that I could hold you and reassure you that everything will be okay, but you are not. You were always a curious little one, spending your time close to the edges of the fields looking into the tall grasses for that which was sweeter and more tender. You would stick your nose in just far enough to smell the succulent shoots of new growth. You were smart enough to know they were there and once you tasted them, there was no turning you back.
The first time you actually put your face into the tall grasses you raised your head with a loud sharp baa! Backing away from the edge of the field you turned and came running to me. I sat down on the ground and pulled you onto my lap. I wanted to laugh at the way the burs had stuck to the wool on your nose, but I didn't. I just gently spoke to you as I pulled them out.
It wasn't long after that, you pushed your way into the tall grasses, not caring a stitch for the burs. You knew as long as you kept your face higher up, you could find the sweet blades without getting a nose full of prickles. Unfortunately, you began to wander farther and farther away from the fold. I watched you go, knowing that I could pick you up, and carry you back, but I also knew the next day you would do the same thing. I let you go. Usually, you found your way back, always with your wool full of burs, sticks and dirt.
One day, you did not return. The sun was getting low in the sky and it looked as though rain would fall before night was over. I moved the herd into the fold and closed the gate, then I went looking for you. It was nearly dark when I heard your loud baa crying out mournfully. I found you tangled in a sharp thicket. Your muzzle and legs were bloody from where you were thrashing to free yourself. The sight made my heart hurt. I gently spoke to you as I began to cut the thicket away. Then, I picked you up and carried you back to the fold.
This behavior happened again, and again, and again. You would wander off. The day would draw to a close and I would come find you. No matter what circumstance I found you in, I would talk to you gently, get you out of the mess, and carry you back to the fold.
The last time you left, I could not come looking for you. I had a birthing ewe and had to stay by her side throughout the long, dark night. It would be the first time you were gone all night. I hoped that when morning came, you would be back. I hoped that the light of dawn would pull you back to your safe place.
You haven't returned. I have called another shepherd to come take care of the herd. I am coming for you.