This remains one of the most priceless moments I have ever captured with a camera. On an unseasonably cold October day, I saw a flock of sheep marching single-file across a field. I sought permission from Bernal Burke to venture into his Carr Settlement fields. I arrived where the sheep were heading with just enough time to set up my camera. The lead sheep turned sideways, and the next sheep in line followed his lead, setting up a barricade to protect the flock. As they maneuvered, huge snowflakes began to fall. It was the first snow of the season, and the lead sheep did not appear happy. For many years after my camera froze that moment, a framed print of this image usually hung in a prominent spot in our art fair tent. The image caused a lot of laughter as art fair patrons attempted to mimic the lead sheep’s expression and even try to make sheep sounds. It made people happy and brought us some comic relief from our long weekend grind on the Michigan art fair circuit. I will always be grateful to Bernal Burke for being so kind, accommodating and trusting to allow me to roam freely on his land. Besides being a farmer, Bernal served for many years as the Mason County Treasurer. I always admired and respected him when, as a reporter, I covered county government. I admired him as a farmer just as much. I believe we shared mutual respect, which meant the world to me.

First Snow

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