• Morgan Fagg

The Most Boring Day on Earth

Updated: Oct 16, 2018

Counting Sheep

This is my account, of an event that happened in the past. It can be considered the most boring day on earth as it is all about farming. I promise nothing in my introduction that asks you to continue reading, that is your own choice.

Maybe a better story would be my trip to a lighthouse, four miles out to sea or the following day, sinking in a dingy, six miles off the coast of Cork while looking for a World War Two submarine, there are no supermodels, no explosions, no witty quips, no grand openings, just a day spent farming. More accurately, doing nothing.

I took my camera and I rowed into the story, click click, click. I didn't help, I didn't comment, I just quietly observed.

As an insomniac, early mornings are usually a bit of a blur. You struggle at night, to do the simplest of tasks, sleep. You wake tired and instead of jumping out of bed, you lay there, wrecked. Frustrated. Americans might consider insomnia a disability but to those around me, it feels like I am the idiot who cannot sleep. The guy who can't count sheep and doesn't know the square root of sleep.

There is nothing more miserable than being wide awake, a ghost out of sync with the reality of time and the life around you. The girl snoring beside you, at ease, protected by the wakeful sentry. No burglars or broken smoke alarms can harm you, the black-eyed man protects you and surveys all around. The chime of the clock, the noisy fly, the loud neighbour and the drunk outside.

But this is not a story of the quiet moments in life, the moments you miss while you sleep, the witching hours between day and night, this is a story about the most boring day on earth and the phonecall from two friends. Ten minutes apart. Martin, my best friend, calls early to say that we should head out on the river, he had just bought a canoe. What could I do? “I’m tired”, I told him, I would get more sleep and call him back.

Another friend from school, Eoin, called. He had an idea for a photograph, a rare photograph. His father was moving sheep off the island. Still tired, I thought about it. Historically, this might be the last time they would move sheep off the island. Hare Island, 100 beautiful acres in the centre of Ireland. Swimming distance from Coosan and Glasson in the town of Athlone. A large island which was home to some sheep, maybe half a dozen, maybe two dozen. Didn’t I mention that I can't count sheep or sleep?

Sheep, that singular and plural word, confusing me, they all look alike. Hare Island also housed some rabbits and a stray cat. Not sure how the cat got there, it was apparently abandoned there and adopted by the rabbits. Were they rabbits? The place is called Hare Island after all. I don’t really know the difference just be glad I´m not a farmer or a vet.

I pulled back the black and white sheets and got out of bed; I called my friend and said, “Let’s canoe”. I packed my camera bag and a waterproof case for my compact camera too.

Martin showed me the old uncomfortable canoe and handed me the paddle too. No lifejacket, wetsuit or clue, I took to the canoe and paddled out to my other friend Eoin and his father John.

He didn't know I would actually try to get the photograph he talked about. He saw a man in a yellow t-shirt and a yellow canoe and kinda guessed who the lunatic paddling towards him was. A photograph or two and I headed back with the canoe. Possibly the first and last time we used that canoe but still more successful than the Titanic.

I joined Eoin and his father at the bank when they landed. I would row over with them for the next batch, school, flock, that's the word, flock.

Two boats, one small engine and an unusual transport container for cows and sheep. Cows are fine in a field but Hare Island offered great protection for Sheep. Safe from poachers, predators and any potential dangers. They could not escape, cross the road or evade my sleep.

The container, a tipper truck's lid. The large basin off a quarry truck. As heavy and large as this might be, the eureka moment comes when you see it floating in water, full of sheep and displacing more water than its own mass.

We crossed the lake, Eoin and I rowing, his father and the owner of the Island, awkwardly towing the floating truck bin with their fishing boat and its small engine.

We got to the island and I saw the cat hopping around with rabbits and we corralled the sheep, Eoin's father in a multicoloured fleece coat Eoin had had since school. A fashion crime to scare the sheep in his little woolly fleece. Their sheepdog, Lady, sheep dogging the animals as they ran from one corner of the pen to another. Manhandled by the scruff of their necks and lifted from the pen to the boat. Eyeing the farmers the sheep darted here and there trying to not follow the other sheep, to no avail. I clicked away like I was a National Geographic photographer, never called upon to intrude or assist. A fly on the Island, doing nothing but observing all.

That was the last time the sheep sailed to Rabbit and Cat Island. Some farming before breakfast, an outing to an island, some memorable pictures and an abandoned canoe.

Nothing exciting, nothing anyone else would be amused by. Nothing to observe but life itself. Just some farming, some animal husbandry, some rare pictures of an unusual scene. I'm glad I got up early, on the most boring day on earth.

Writing about the past, November 5th 2013

1.47 A.M. en Madrid


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