How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave theninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
–Matthew 18:12-14 King James Version
“A lamb has gone missing. Its mother is agitated. She runs up and down the fence. I left them, hours ago, safe and well, and well mothered, and now it is gone. There are no clues. I ride around the field, checking the other mothers haven’t stolen it or taken it by mistake. They haven’t. I check the becks in case it has fallen in and drowned. We try to keep ewes with young lambs away from the becks, but it isn’t always possible. I hate losing a healthy lamb. I check the neighbouring fields. No sign. Then I see that it has gotten itself stuck between the trunks of an old thorn tree, about a foot off the ground. It is fine, just squashed and tired. I lift it out and it runs off to suckle its mother.
You can lose hours looking for a lamb.”
—-James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape (New York: Flatiron Books, 2015 ), 265.