Dear Curiosity Journal,
One of my favorite pastimes on the farm is watching the sheep, especially when they aren’t aware of my presence. I’m fascinated by the shifts in animal behavior associated with the gaze of another. My inner child still expects to walk around the corner to discover the livestock talking to each other. I was pretty obsessed with the book Charlotte’s Web as a kid. The winter storm presented the perfect opportunity to perch behind the barn wall unnoticed. I hopped the fence, creeped behind the hay, and peeked out to see all of the sheep still shoulder deep in the round bale, which assured me that my sounds and smells were masked by the whipping wind. I successfully settled behind the wall and peered between the boards for an up close and personal view of the gals. Betty and Cauliflower lifted their heads and paused from chewing their cud when they locked eyes with me. They froze, looking puzzled, disconcerted, and unsure of what they were looking at. Their shift in behavior alerted Peter whose eyes bulged out of his head when he looked in my direction. Soon the entire flock was paralyzed and perplexed, so I stood up to show myself and wool flew in every direction. My intention was never to startle them and I felt terrible, so extra handfuls of oats were in order. While I dolled out the treats, the girls pushed me over, and I probably deserved it. It’s the price you pay for curiosity.