The Cow Taught Me How
“Life is dangerous, that’s what makes it interesting.” - John Twelve Hawks
The best thing I ever did for myself was throw a stick at a cow. Not an overly extravagant accomplishment, but I certainly learned a lot from it. Just a little over six years into the world, on a day so hot I could practically taste burnt air, my father took my two sisters and me down to the barn.
It wasn’t the most attractive place in the world, but to my eyes it was an adventure waiting to happen. Amid mountainous hay bales and rolling seas of grass, I eagerly awaited the chance to seek out every little thing in this field.
As soon as dad set us loose to explore, he began to cut a few trees down to make firewood. I sprung into the chest-high grass and basically touched my nose to the ground, on the lookout for something interesting. There were fat beetles, busy ants, and shy butterflies that could’ve captivated me for a lifetime, but I was interrupted by indignant shrieks and a chorus of lazy ‘moos’.
Standing and regretfully leaving my insect friends behind, I stretched high on my toes in order to glimpse what was happening beyond the grass. I caught sight of my two sisters, one older, the other younger, sitting together on top of a tree that my father had cut down. I could hear their complaints from where I stood, but for the life of me I didn’t know what they were so upset about.
Moving out of the grass was my ploy to get a better view of their predicament. Now in the open, I stared dumbly for a moment at what surrounded the tree my siblings were currently settled on. They were surrounded by an incredible, terrifying army…
Arranged in battalion formation: nearly twelve cows across and three deep they stood. Massive in stature, with beady dark eyes that seemed forever unfocused. These cows were all charcoal black, which couldn’t have been the most pleasant fur color to have when the sun flared like this.
My admiration of these foes was interrupted when I realized that my sisters were still whining audibly about the dilemma they found themselves in. My dad was out of reach; with his chainsaw in hand and the concentration he was using to cut down trees for kindling, it was unlikely he’d hear me yelling for him. I tried anyway.
“Dad!” I called, cupping my hands around my mouth. I tried again and again, but I didn’t succeed. Eventually, I resorted to crossing my arms and huffing in annoyance. Now it was all up to me. It was almost like a superhero set-up -- I, the favored protagonist, the cows the nefarious villains, and my sisters the damsels in distress.
My feet bounded forward in a blaze of six year old glory.
The glitzy rainbows on my tennis shoes shone in the sun, my ponytail whipped my face, and my body moved onwards; ready for action. With careful precision I scanned the ground, looking for some sort of weapon. Since there isn’t much of an arsenal in a cow field, I sought out a stick.
And what a wonderful stick it...