the shearing shed

Last night I dreamed about our old shearing shed.  I sat on the ledge of a pen, peaceful and watching, my hands resting on the splintered planks beneath me. All was quiet and lazy in the afternoon. It was not a shearing day but later, weeks after the last tufts of wool had been swept to the corners and the dark patches of lanolin and oil etched into the absorbent wooden floor.

The sweating shearers and loud bang of the gates has gone, the jarring grind of the handpieces long faded into silence. The old wooden pens are stained with bird shit, blackened with the oil of the shearers’ hands and smooth with lanolin, brushed against by thousands of wool laden sheep.

The shafts of sunlight fall softly through the air from the old stuck windows, lighting the dust that spins like gold in the centre of the shed. The air is warm and smells of dust and old sweat, sheep and handpiece oil. I can hear the sheep outside, their baas rolling across the grass to one another, the rumble of the ground as they move as one.

The corrugated roof above is curved and painted red, an old photo of the highlands propped against a wall, faded with time and cracked with bird shit. This is my home. This warm air, those familiar sounds, the rustle of mice in the floor below. As the day wears on the afternoon sun fades, and so do I, smiling as I wake.

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