Picture this: Lonely, winding, dark country roads in the most Western part of Connemara, County Galway, Western Ireland – no streetlamps, starry skies, a crescent moon, and wide expanses of bog and moor and grass. You are driving on the left/ which could also be called the wrong side of the road (all dwellers of left-driving nations pardon me, it’s just hard when you are not used to it). After all wrong is the opposite of right, and Latin for left is “sinister”. And if you are driving in pitch black night, through wide expanses of countryside, you don’t know, on winding roads on the left – sinister really kind of fits the bill. You drive, relishing the darkness and feeling of eternity and space, the absence of civilization, silence, the hum of the motor and the rare sound-burst as a bird erupts from the undergrowth. And then in the blackness you spot irregular mounds of whiteness, some moving, some still, reminiscent of the cotton ball figurines you made as a child: SHEEP: SHEEP lying down, SHEEP munching, SHEEP standing in the middle of the road because it’s warmer there than out in the country, fluffy, woolly mounds of sheep all over the place, and to the exhilaration of the great wide open comes the worry of hitting a sheep, or narrowly missing a sheep but hitting a large rock, or the side of the road, or a native driving towards you at a breakneck rate, because for him the left side is the right side, and if you avoid hitting the one sheep, you might still hit the many. So you worry about all the things you could crash into, mostly sheep, and getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. But mainly you just relax into the embrace of the countryside, mysterious in darkness and watch the sheep observing you as pass by interrupting their evening mealtime with smelly motor rumblings. And as I watched them watching us I had to stop and take a picture, leaving the headlights on…….and here you have it “sheep in the headlights”
I love it’s expression 🙂 – it’s a cross between – Why me? and what do you think you are doing?