The last two mornings have begun for me with a walk across the way to check the cows. They are pasturing in the Old Man’s Field just now and that’s my favorite spot. There is a hardwood hillside overlooking the field and you can see for miles up there, all the way to the little white church my mother was baptized in. There is a glorious beech tree, and majestic white oaks sloping down to the old home site, surrounded by mule plowed terraces now planted in pines. The ground is fertile and pushes up white rocks. I love this place in every season. I love it even in the rain, sometimes most in the rain.
For it was raining this morning, cold rain, blowing sideways, heavy all around, clinging to the eyelashes, soaking the hair.
We have two new calves and more on the way. They are very strong and happy. Do they think the world is always this cold, I wonder? Won’t they be surprised when summer comes?
I didn’t like the cows much at first because they aren’t as friendly as the goats and horses, but I have come to love them for their wildness and they’ve come to expect me coming ’round I guess. Our deal is simple: I don’t get too chummy and they don’t kill me. I tried to make a deal like this: I’ll take your picture if you don’t mess with my pecan trees, but they weren’t interested.
A line from a favorite book, Jayber Crow, ran on repeat in my mind on the way back home (perhaps because my mind was as frozen as my body and it stuck, like a record, until it broke free at last by the incomparable balm of not one, but two, cups of English Breakfast):
It had been raining, and it was still raining. It was going to rain.
And in this good world of insulated coats, wood burning stoves, Christmas check-lists, neglected books and thirsty seeds… so be it.
(My friend Emily may perhaps read this, and may be glad and much relieved to know that I am three very happy chapters into the book she loaned me all those months ago.)