Saturday, June 5, 2010

Demonstrators and Little Lambs


I decided to take a bicycle ride to the Tiergarten (Berlin's equivalent of New York's Central Park) and enjoy the sunny weather late yesterday afternoon. It can be terribly hot in the city, but the tree canopied park can be 5 degrees cooler. There were the usual joggers, sunbathers, and cyclists enjoying the small ponds, meadows and blooming flowers of the Tiergarten.

Then, all at once, I came across a flock of sheep (a flock and not a heard). Yes, right there in the middle of Berlin's Tiergarten were sheep, their shepherds, and guard dogs. The sheep were doing what sheep do: eat, baa, and excrete. The dogs were also doing what dogs do: run, bark, and be cute.

It turns out, the sheep were at the Tiergarten to bring attention to the plight of the vanishing sheep herding profession. More and more family run and local shepherds in Germany are vanishing. It seems that, like most things, the production of wool and lamb is going offshore. (http://www.bundesverband-schafe.de/Hirtenzug2010.610.0.html)

The sheep were also demonstrating how effective they could be at keeping grass trimmed without the use of motorized lawn mowers. Lets face it, they eat, digest and excrete with minimal CO2 emission.

On my way home, along Unter den Linden (one of Berlin's major streets), I came across a parade protesting Israel's recent actions along the Gaza border. The protesters were loud and looked positively uptight. In contrast to the tranquil sheep, the demonstrators looked very unhappy. Give me the sheep's life any day.

This all happened within 10 minutes of my first sighting of the sheep in the idyllic Tiergarten meadow. What a juxtaposition of scenes. Only in Berlin!

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