Friday, February 16, 2007

Cows play

OK, here's a new experience. We finally got our snow. The Valentine's Day storm. 8 inches or so. 20 degrees. Not quite weather or snow good for snowmen. After a while, I'm itching to get outside. As I have no takers for company from my family, I prepare for cross country skiing. This is something I'm used to doing once or twice a winter over in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Here in Amherst, given normal weather, one could do it every week. But, alas, as we all know, the weather is not normal nowadays.

I head out to the fields of our farm neighbors. I check in with them to make sure the electric fence is turned off. Not only is it off, but I'm told that it doesn't work when snow is on the ground. Meanwhile I still duck extra low when I go under it. I've got the gear: snow pants, gloves, baklava (the hat, not the Greek pastry), boots, skis, poles.

In the fields, there are the cows. They are usually friendly and sometimes come up to the fence for a visit. But here I am on the 30 acres or so of white with ice falling from the sky within the fenced in stomping grounds of the 7 cows. I think they are ignoring me, so I start for a loop around the fields. After a little bit I turn back, and I see there is one cow way back headed my way. A little while later I turn around, and there are two cows and now they seem to be trotting. A few seconds later, I look back and they are running and now there are 4 cows. They are about to catch up with me. They look and act just like puppies running gleefully with their giant tongues wagging playfully and their usually sturdy, stiff bodies are now graceful. The drag of the snow and makes their approach look just like slow motion. But unfortunately, my motion is slower. So now they are upon me. They look cute, one licks my glove, there are 6 of them. They are big. Way bigger than me. I make a sudden motion and one jumps back like a labrador expecting me to throw a ball. This is too much for me. If one of them gets a bit too frisky, I might get knocked over by accident or worse. I head back for the fence. The second I turn back, they all turn around ahead of me and trot back to their shelter.

I wonder, were they just very bored out here in the snow? Did they need some exercise to warm up? Have I just been herded by cows?

A little while later, I enter the field again, but far from the cows. They eye me, but this time I'm too far away for them to make any effort.

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