Woolgathering Really?

sheep“Woolgathering?” my granddaughter asked.

I grew up on a sheep ranch in Idaho. She’s currently living in a high-rise apartment in Toronto.

Woolgathering n. Absent-minded indulgence in fanciful daydreams–adj. Indulging in fancies; absent-minded.

sheepThe American Heritage Dictionary that resides on my desk doesn’t even include a definition for the real-life activity that gave its name to dreams.

Poor people used to wander through pastures and fields, gathering the wool left behind, on fences, trees and prickly bushes, when sheep rubbed against them. If they were lucky, they’d find enough to make a sweater for the winter.

sheepI did it for fun when I was walking the back roads of Ireland. In fact I still have a handful of that Irish wool. It sits on a shelf below the dictionary. Of course, in a world were “time is money” no one gathers wool any more, daydreaming is absent-minded, and stories are for children. Really?

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Filed under children's stories, History, Old Storytelling Traditions, stories, Uncategorized

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