An annual event at the pastoral tranquility of the UN office in Geneva — or, as it is known locally, the Palais des Nations, which is former home and site of the sad story of the League of Nations — the sheep-grazing of the lawns in October-November.
The photo below was taken by the dashing Jean-Marc Ferre, one of the world’s best photographers.
A series of Jean-Marc’s shots of this annual sheep-grazing moment, in the lovely autumnal scenery [more suited to landscape painters than to anyone or anything else] is now posted on Flikr here.
The UN photo caption describes this as an “environmentally-friendly way to mow the lawns” — but it’s more than that. It also fertilizes the lawns. And, on top of all that, it’s an income-earning activity, as the sheep-owners pay for this privilege.
But – wait a minute — are these photos also timed to coincide with the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, which starts Sunday early morning? [And in which pious Muslims slaughter sheep to commemorate Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Isaac… though it could be argued that the Divine intervention would be better commemorated by abstaining from sacrificing lambs today…]
Leaving that thought aside, and moving to another, here’s one more of Jean-Marc Ferre’s shots of the sheep on the lawn on the palatial grounds of the UN Office in Geneva … where the Palais des Nations was built in the 1920s, after the First World War, to house the headquarters of the League of Nations which became deadlocked and moribund in the mid-1930s, in the lead-up to the Second World War…
I could say something about the sheep in the park, and the sheep inside the buildings who have done so many dishonorable and disgraceful things … but I’ll refrain for the moment — in honor of the [very very few] good memories of the rather bad place I had the misfortune of working for some 14 years [it is impossible to overstate the harm that was done here], and in honor of these lovely photos taken on a beautiful fall day, and above all in honor of the photographer, Jean-Marc Ferre.