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Down on my knees - Anna Rosenblum Palmer
There are a few good reasons to be down on one’s knees. Scrubbing buffalo sauce off of a sheep skin rug is not one of them. Four years ago I got a sheepskin from a family/friends farm. It was a particularly Vermont moment when they unpacked their maple syrup, sheepskin, and side dishes from their woven baskets. This gift exchange was during the heart of our local eating, when the kids still called their beef Marilyn after the first cow we dined on. I felt a literal and figurative warmth for the sheepskin. I thought about the way the animal had been raised, its humane slaughter, and how they had been used from tip to tail. When I curled my toes into the dense fur I felt connected to the earth, and protected by it…probably the way the sheep had before we killed it. I wasn’t the only one in the house who was drawn to the pelts. After washing the soiled skin gently in warm water using the lanolin soap left over from my wool nursing pads I laid it out to dry. When it smelled a little less like the animal it had been, and like the animal that had marked it I draped it over the back of a chair rather than setting it on the floor. The next day it had been marked again. The culprit sat curled in the corner purring. I went through the washing and drying routine and then stored it away for another time. Years later the time has come. The last of the cats is gone, and the replacement cat seems to pee only in her litterbox. As I brought up the menorahs and ornaments I unwrapped the sheepskin from its storage and wore it up the stairs. I might or might not have pretended I was a warrior from the olden days…one who had a collection of menorahs. Once I made it upstairs and back to present day I smoothed it out of the back of a chair in our front room and patted it. Early the next morning I had a friend over for tea, and as she picked her way over pine needles to the front door she plucked the sheepskin from the chair, tossed it to the floor and sunk her toes into it with a look of comfort on her face. Clearly it needed to be on the floor. So I wandered around the house, wearing it like a cape, and picked the barest spot. The area in front of the sink. I knew it would get splashed…but this isn’t silk, sheep get wet…then they dry. I stood satisfied and looked at the contrast of the long cream colored hair against the grey concrete. Very pleasing. That evening I watched Oliver throw away everything in his binder. When he finished it was no longer 8 months pregnant. The recycling overflowed as he pushed his papers in without care or strategy. I watched a yogurt tub bounce ...