From “Out Like a Lamb,” in Dubus’ collection of essays, Broken Vessels (ht MS):

“They were enclosed by a wire fence in a large section of the meadow. They had a shed there too, where they slept. All we had to do about them was make sure they didn’t get through the fence, which finally meant that when they got through, we had to catch them and put them back in the pasture. This was my first encounter with sheep. When I was a boy, sheep had certain meanings: in the Western movies, sheep herders interfered with the hero’s cattle; or the villain’s ideas about his grazing rights interfered with the hero’s struggle to raise his sheep. And Christ had called us his flock, his sheep; there were pictures of him holding a lamb in his arms. His face was tender and loving, and I grew up with a sense of those feelings, of being a source of them: we were sweet and lovable sheep. But after a few weeks in that New Hampshire house, I saw Christ’s analogy meant something entirely different. We were stupid helpless brutes, and without constant watching we would foolishly destroy ourselves.”