|Sheep with a view|
The hundreds of islands dotting Maine's coast have been home to sheep for centuries, causing the name Ram Island to be used more than once.
During the first week in June for more than 100 years, Addison community members gather to shear the sheep.
Early Saturday morning, a flotilla of boats left the Addison dock for the short trip to Big Nash Island.
Among the three dozen passengers on board were a lawyer, a financial officer, a midwife, a blueberry farmer, a physicians' assistant, a gaggle of enthusiastic teenagers and an opera singer from Boston. "This is magical, just magical", Seth Joy of Swan's Island said of the day of shearing. It was Joy's third year participating in the annual event. "It's like stepping into the past. This is the way it has always been - community, work, food, and, of course, laughter."
Eleni and Alfie Wakeman of Addison own the 75 acre island and a diverse farm in Addison. "Every year I am terrified that no one will show up," Eleni admitted. "But they do. It's that magic again."
The worker - all volunteers - had packed a small generator to power the electric shears, burlap bags to hold the precious fleece, and food enough for a small army. Big Nash is a barren island - dotted by rocks, carpeted in thick grass and wild iris, with not a single tree in sight. Just off the landing beach of stone is a three room cabin and along one shore a series of pens....
In my words now:
The opera singer from Boston is stationed at one end of the island. When she sings a very high pitched verse from one of the operas, the hope is all of the sheep will rush to the other end of the island, where they can be caught. It worked like a charm, except the one partially deaf sheep, let's call him Larry, who runs up to the singer. He was confused by the noise and thought it was his mother bleating for him. And then one of the volunteers, a volunteer fireman, ran to the scene thinking he could see "the siren of the sea".
|catching up and holding|
|All together now...|
|But, I don't need a haircut...|
|the final act, shearing|