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Science has a way of creeping up on you. It’s sneaky—like classical music can be sneaky. One day you’re thrashing to the Ramones and Nine Inch Nails and the next you find yourself in tears in the middle of your living room because you just heard Lazlo Varga play a cello in ways you never thought possible and the strings’ vibrations reached out and bent you into a kind of fetal position of perverse ecstasy.

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17a, a pregnant Romney, ambles into the chute and stops. Her fleece corkscrews out from her body sending out shoots of thick wool in all directions. Grace, my ten-year old daughter, buries her hands deep into the wooly fleece and smiles. She runs off to find Anabel Lombard, the ewe’s owner, to have her to hold 17a’s fleece once it’s sheared. Grace has never chosen a fleece before. She goes with her intuition; with the way her hands feel buried into the ewe’s wool, with the way the ewe stops, tilts her head back, and looks up at this girl leaning over the railing, as though asking to be chosen.

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