Spring means calving time at the farm. People have marked this season of rebirth since ancient times, and I feel it here. New life stirs everywhere. It pokes up from the ground, tips tree branches, buzzes in the air, and frolics across the grass. This little guy edges closer, wondering about me.
I have come to love walking among the cows in the open field at this time of year. Except for the old milk cow we had when I was a kid, I never experienced such gentle cows. These aren’t mine. I rent pasture to a neighbor, Ed Cooley, and he tends them with care. He cordons off pasture and moves them almost daily, so he spends time with them, and they become gentle.
I can’t quite touch them. Some, especially the yearlings, will come within a foot or so of an outstretched hand, but if I try to get closer they back away. Still, they circle around me and most keep feeding, contented to have me wander among them. It’s the most peaceful feeling, as if they welcome me to share their contentment on this lovely pasture.
And of course the calves delight me. I watch the mamas. They can get protective. Once a cow chased me after I passed her on a narrow road. Nothing gets your attention quite like the rumble of hoofbeats coming up behind you. Cows are really big. Somehow instinct prevailed and I leapt aside. She butted me with a glancing blow to the rear. If I hadn’t jumped I think she’d have knocked me down and maybe run over me. But she had warned me. They give signals. Heads low, snorts, ground pawing. That cow was having trouble giving birth to a calf and it didn’t go well for her. A rare case for Ed’s cows.
I pay due respect to the mamas, but now they just look at me, curious, perhaps watchful too in return. Maybe that’s part of the thrill. I know they don’t have to be friendly, but they’re welcoming me today, letting me enjoy their presence—and their incredibly cute babies—in peace.
In this season of rebirth, new life touches me with its endearing sweetness, but also with a sense of hope that echoes across time.