I like cows, especially the milk-producers. I like their big, clunky bodies. I like their ability to go from complete Zen peacefulness to the occasional tail-flying romp. I like the interesting patterns and colors of their hide.
On the family farm, we had big, black and white Holsteins that produced enormous quantities of milk. A few of the more docile, brown and white spotted Guernseys. And one precious sweet-faced Jersey, whose milk was pure cream. Small, golden brown with delicate faces, the cow-version of the Arabian horse, the Jersey was my favorite.
There is much to bovine wisdom if you pay attention. First and foremost, they teach us a lesson in work ethics. Cows must be milked every single day or they suffer. They will bellow louder than your alarm clock if you don’t tend to them. No lying in bed, no calling in sick, no swiping your cell phone.
They teach you how to treat them. I was never allowed to help with the milking, because I was too little. Yet I hung around in the barn during milking time. It was all hands-on; we didn’t have enough cows to require milking machines. It took a certain amount of finesse to milk a cow. A heavy hand got you a tail swipe in the face. Too heavy of a hand got a hoof poked at you; most of the time only resulting in a tipped over bucket. It was important to learn a rhythmic, soothing squeeze, not unlike our trips to a massage therapist. For the big, full-bagged Holstein, milking kept them calm and happy.
For humans and animals alike, feeding time is a ritual. Like clockwork, cows lumber along single file from the outer reaches of the pasture to gather in the feeding area by the barn. Buckets of grain, fresh hay and a lick from a salt block created contentment and satiety.
Simply sitting and observing cows is a peaceful time for humans. They contentedly graze, mull over their cud, with the occasional flick of a long tail if a fly ventures too near. A twitch of their soft, velvety ears. They occasional lulling moo, especially if there are suckling calves nearby. Just small, simple message to remind us to take our responsibilities seriously, but move through our day with ease and slow, sure steps.
Cows don’t wait for our procrastination. Cows don’t wait while we rush around filling our day with meaningless activities. Cows don’t wait for us to get the need for rest and relaxation. They just do.
Or is it moo.