A garden which grows true to its own laws is not a wilderness, yet not entirely artificial either.

— From A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander.

Dirty Joe was a crow and a friend of my father’s when he was a child. When my father was nine years old he took an egg from a crow’s nest, hatched it, then raised Dirty Joe to be his pet. My dad would feed him cereal to give him strength when young, and kept him inside a cardboard box until Dirty Joe could fly and fend for himself. When that day came Dirty Joe would sleep outside in a tree while my father left his window open on the second floor of his family’s farmhouse in Chilmark. My father had no alarm clock then.

The lamb had been tethered in our yard for days in advance of Candice’s visit, peacefully keeping our grass down. A southerly breeze carried the fragrance of lanolin across the yard that drove my brother’s dog mad. Candice was a new friend about to graduate from college in Brooklyn, and the lamb would play an important role in her graduate thesis.