In these times of long, long political discussions, campaigning and elections, post-elections campaigning, protests, post-mortem essays, and all the rest — I offer you a tale about cows. Yes, cows. “Really? The country is in a state of immense change and she wants to talk about bovines???” Read on, my fellow Americans, if you wish to be enlightened.
The other night my farm held an evening event to honor our hard-working volunteers. We built a bonfire, roasted marshmallows, ate good home-cooked food and, as the kids would say, “chilled” (literally, brrr!). The kids drank cider and the parents drank wine, and we all stared into the fire as humans have done for thousands of years. Mr. Newman Goat got a beer (Guinness, his favorite), and the sheep ate pumpkins. Nicole and Henry, clad in their best white fluffy dog coats, watched over all of us from a distance as if to make sure we were all OK. Sam, as usual, hid under the porch. Great protective skills, that dog has. The kids took their parents on private, moonlit tours to meet their favorite animals. There was no music, no entertainment, no games – just enjoyment of what is.
I, myself, was simply grateful to sit down for a change and rest my (increasingly old) bones by the fire. There was a brief moment of upset when Brandy entered the scene and produced an immense cow pie right at the entrance, which someone promptly stepped in. But she then laid down and we settled back into our firelit reveries. And then … and then … the Great White-horned Beast appeared on the crest of the hill. “Oooh, ahhh”, the parents echoed. Heads turned and cameras flashed. “How lovely,” said one, “how majestic,” cried another. A young volunteer said, flatly, “he smells the marshmallows”. Out of the mouths of babes, as they say.
Sure enough, after a moment of calm and stately magnificence, the 2000 pound Bullwinkle came lumbering down the hill, heading straight for our little group. “Oooh, ahhh” exclaimed the parents. “OH NO!” cried the young volunteers who jumped to their feet waving their arms as Bullwinkle tossed his massive head back and forth in sheer bovine excitement, aiming right for the fire pit, Brandy in close pursuit. The kids were probably thinking of squashed parents, while I was thinking of scorched hooves and vet bills.
As one body, we rose to our feet, young people simultaneously waving the large black beasts away from danger and parents away from the large black beasts.
I love that the kids who work at Star Gazing Farm are so grounded in reality. I love that they protect both of their loved ones: parents AND cows. There is no enemy, simply the good of all. Sometimes, when you work with rescuing animals, you can feel rather down about humanity. “How could anyone DO that to an animal,” you hear yourself lamenting over and over again. But these young folks are, to me, the essence of what can be and is great about people. Watch these kids in action and you know that we have a future of men and women who not only care, but put their caring into actions.
Sometimes groups and affiliations are built out of self-interest, greed, and other nasty human traits, but sometimes – not often, I give you, but sometimes – they are formed out of sheer common sense. The evening the bovines came to the bonfire will be one which we’ll look back upon and say, “the Cow Party rules!” Kids, go forth and vote.
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
Til next time,