Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The cow at the creek

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition.
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins.
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;
Not one is dissatisfied - not one is demented with the mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago;
Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Until a day or two ago it had not rained for months. There is so little feed around that the cattle belonging to a farm up the creek are getting through fences and wandering over neighbouring properties, including ours.

Today when I went down to the creek to feed the ducks, there was a large old black cow, with huge horns. As I approached, she did not run away as they always do, but looked at me wearily.

I stopped. Leisurely, she put her mouth to the water and drank and drank. It was then that I noticed she was heavily pregnant. Slowly and laboriously, she climbed the steep bank opposite and went on her way.

I liked her, so dignified and long-suffering. She wasn't young.

The people who own these cattle over-stock them.  A neighbour reckons they are animal hoarders, hoarding also dogs and cats in their dozens.

People do sicken me at times, but never animals.  There's a bit in a Alice Munro story where a woman has on her tombstone, 'She was kind to her chickens.'

I can't think of a better epitaph for me.


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