Published 9:50 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008
As was their custom every afternoon about 3, they met under the big oak tree over in the pasture corner. Louise, the older of the two cows (though she dare not let anyone know), wore a coat of solid black, while Anna Belle had long enjoyed the attention garnered by her contrasting white face and black body. Anna was not long getting acquainted with anyone before her “well-bred Hereford mom” was somehow inserted into the conversation.
“And how is the young one today?” asked Louise, referring to Anna’s rambunctious offspring.
“He’s into those terrible twos,” she replied, as she looked to her left at “Jingles,” her 2-month old calf that was sound asleep.
“He was up half the night, bleating at who knows what. He can never get enough milk and asks questions all day long. I love him, mind you, but sometimes I just need a break. His father is hardly ever around, leaving me with my hooves full.”
Anna paused, realizing she had just unleashed a torrent of words on Louise.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “but sometimes it just all comes out.”
Nellie nodded her head, as if she understood. She saw the fatigue in Anna’s eyes and sensed the strain in her voice.
“It’s okay,” Louise said.
“Why just last night, he had all kinds of questions about humans. ‘Why do they walk on just two legs?’, ‘Why are they always so serious?’, ‘Why are they in such a rush?’, ‘Why do they go in those buildings at night?’”
Just then, a farmer walked by outside the fence and the two cows stopped their conversation and went to grazing. As he moved out of hearing distance, they lifted their heads and continued the discussion.
“What a different creature,” replied Louise. “They appear to be in constant pursuit.” She flicked a fly off her hind quarters and turned her face to the cool breeze. “What they are after, I haven’t a clue.”
At this, both Louise and Anna Belle, gazing out over the landscape, curled their legs up under their bellies and lay down.
As if following a script, they in tandem initiated that most pleasurable bovine experience of regurgitating the morning meal; they started chewing their cuds. It seemed to invigorate the conversation, providing pause for reflection.
“I do believe it has something to do with how they appear to others,” stated Louise. “Why, I saw one wearing seven different outfits on seven different days.”
“Oh my,” replied Anna. “It seems such a waste of time.”
“What, with different shoes and different belts and different clothes and even different hair, one would think they are quite dissatisfied with themselves.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Anna, between chews.
As a light rain began to fall, the two cows glanced over and saw the humans scurrying for cover.
Unfazed, they continued their “chew,” enjoying the natural massage the rain provided.
Jingles was still deep in sleep.