“Hey, Sweetie…c’mon Arthur”, I whispered as I walked toward him. I had known something was not right last night in the storm – the dogs across the road were distraught with barking through the rain and dark, but though I paced and listened, I could see nothing. I had awakened with a start not long ago and reassured myself, “Whatever happens will be fine…”, before going to take a look from the vantage point of the second-story window.
That’s when I’d seen Arthur, standing still in the middle of the road. The horses were grazing in the field…whew – that was a relief!…but there was Arthur, standing just over the lip of the hill, where he might not be seen by oncoming vehicles racing to work this Monday morning. It must be around 4 a.m., I thought. I’ve got some time still before anyone drives by…
Now, seconds later, I was a swirl of wild hair, red silk dragons and bare feet, padding down the dirt and gravel road to where he stood. He looked as if he were in shock – not a twitch could be seen in his long fuzzy ears. Attila swooped up from behind me, barking and circling. I gave him some of the bread I had grabbed on my way out the door and sent him back home.
“Hey, Arthur…It’ll be ok…come on, Sweetie….”
I had been grateful for the storm last night – the thunder and lightning accompanied a welcome downpour. But I‘ll bet Arthur had been frightened and somehow gotten out (I’ll have to check the fence later to see where it is down) …. And he couldn’t take refuge in the barn – Beauty’s body was still lying there in the back stall… Oh dear….
Beauty was dead.
I hadn’t thought much of it when the woofers, Nikolai and Kristel, told me the day before yesterday that she was in the barn and breathing heavily. All the animals went into the barn in this heat – Beauty was 19 years old and her breathing could be expected to be a bit laboured…That day there were visitors at the Farm, and we found leaks in the water pipes, and there was the hot tub to repair and heat…. It was yesterday morning, after hearing myself in meditation asking Beauty to not die in the barn, that I went to check on her. I was relieved to not see her in the stable – she was well enough, then, to get outside and move around… I figured I’d look for her later…. In the late afternoon, Nikolai came to see me with a worried look on his face. Beauty was in the barn, not getting up; the dog had been sniffing her – it didn’t seem normal. I rushed down and found her body, curled in the furthest possible corner of the stable. I must simply not have seen her there in the morning; I had been expecting her to be standing, I guess – Beauty : her usual regal self…..
She was half Jersey and half Swiss Brown – the most beautiful cow I’ve ever seen…. When I’d asked Andy, my youngest son, what he wanted for his 3rd birthday, he said “a baby cow”. I chuckled at how cute that was and got him something else. When his next birthday came around and he again answered “ a baby cow”, this time with an exasperated sigh, I found Beauty and brought her home. She had never learned she was a cow – when she was young she jumped fences like a horse and it had never “taken” the couple of times we tried to have her inseminated. She’d scared the bejeezus out of my friend Judith once , who thought it was me tapping her on the back and turned to instead see Beauty looming behind her, sitting back on her haunches with her front hooves on Judith’s shoulders like a big dog might do – a 1000 -pound dog….
Judith was coming later in the morning to help me and my big-hearted neighbours with winch and tractor to get Beauty’s body out of the barn and far into the fields, where it would feed other creatures and return to the Earth … I prayed my gratitude to whoever was responsible for today being cooler, with a strong and cleansing wind….
I could hear Arthur’s sigh of relief as he saw me and started back up the road in my direction. I had to throw some more bread to Attilla, with a curt (and only partially obeyed) order to go home again, before Arthur and I reached each other and he nuzzled his forehead to mine.
“It’ll be ok”, I again whispered to him and to myself as we slowly walked back to Heartroot and the rest of the day….
Blessings and Love,