I heard a great story recently. Sat on a table at a friend’s wedding, a guy was telling us about the farm he works on, and specifically about a field of sheep that he looks after. Each day he has his lunch in a corner of this particular field, in view of the cattle grid that marks its entrance.
So one day he’s sitting there, watching the sheep – heck, who am i to judge his preferences. He does live in Lincolnshire, after all – and he sees one go right up to the cattle grid, and just stare at it. Next day, the same. And the next. The day after, it goes up to the grid, stares a while, and then rolls right over it, getting back up on the other side.
Great story. I sincerely hope its true. But it’s also pretty terrifying, because I reckon we’ve been underestimating ‘dumb’ animals all these years. You ever seen a herd of cows? The way they stare right at you, follow your movements with just an incremental loll of their heads. Very frightening. But the ones near me – they’re smart.
They have three fields in which to roam, right, and the one nearest my house is up a hill, the furthest from the farm – and their food – that they could be. Every day I pass this field in my car at pretty much the same time – 4.15ish – and every day they’re there, by the fence, waiting. Every day. This, irrespective of the season, and the position of the sun. Any other time of the day, they aren’t there. I know this because i’ve checked. Every time I’m off sick, I check. All day, nothing – until 4.15. Right when i’d be returning.
I’m awaiting their knock at the door, any moment now, surely. Or a letter, anonymous, but the hoof-prints still clear.
So anyway, could it not be that we’ve been hideously underestimating these animals all these years, that maybe, right now, there’s a BMW with blacked-out windows heading down the M11 en-route to Westminster, filled with sheep with a list of demands? Don’t just dismiss it. Only last week came the announcement of the parrot with a vocabulary of over 900 unique words, and the ability to deploy them in context. 900 words. That’s more than most of the people I know. Heck, that’s enough to edit The Sun.
So I no longer fear global warming at least. Sure, humanity may die. But the animals? They’ve got a plan.