To wear your heart on your sleeve is said to be openly and honestly displaying one’s emotions. Looking further into the well-known idiom takes us to Shakespeare’s original use of the phrase, perhaps the first ever written recording, where Othello’s Iago refers to the vulnerability such an action leaves him open to.
Rewind back to August of 2018 when, on a Victorian dairy farm, a precious baby came into the world. Born without the ability to see, the calf nevertheless possessed an undeniable will to live. Removed from her mother soon after birth, as all of her kind are fated to be, the blind calf touched the heart of the girl tasked with her care. So much so that dear Sophie christened her fragile, yet determined charge ‘Babe’ and lovingly drew a faint heart on her side, so that other workers could easily identify the young one in need of extra care.
Today, that same blind calf calls Edgar’s Mission home. So much has changed in Babe’s first six months of life. Her saviour has returned to her overseas home, Babe has moved to our sanctuary with her bell-wearing bovine friend, she’s grown up, her Jersey cross breeding has seen her coat darken several shades, she’s learned to walk safely on lead and to trust her new carers. All the while, Babe continues to wear her heart on her side.
Dairy calves are some of the most vulnerable beings among us. A mere by-product of a mother producing milk earmarked for human consumption, the maternal bond is severed soon after birth, with babies like Babe raised en masse to either grow up and become herd replacement animals or, sadder still, for their lives to be ended within only weeks of them beginning. And in Babe’s case, being born blind only serves to make her all the more vulnerable, all the more at the mercy of the decisions the humans in her life choose to make. In braving her world, learning to walk alongside us on lead and trusting us wholeheartedly with her life, Babe is truly wearing her heart for all to see. Babe sees the world not through eyes but feelingly and in doing so, she reminds us some of our very best experiences are not those we can see or hold but are those we feel within our hearts
Her name is Babe. She wears her heart on her side. And right by her side is where we will stand. Always.