Cows and crows are great judges of genius; you can take my word for it. I have sat under trees scribbling my nonsense, and in the middle of open fields attempting to place in paint the indescribable beauties of nature. Ever alert, the eyes of cows and/or crows have often sat in judgement.
We all have a sense of personality; a lingering feeling about a person, though not specific. Often you remember that they were either good or bad, but can’t remember why. What sensory perception triggers memory? Is it sound, sight, smell, or perhaps the waft of a soft afternoon breeze. The afternoon breeze puts me comfortingly back into the bed of a much loved aunt while taking an after-lunch nap together. Do the cows and crows depend upon the same sense of perception?
When entering my garden while Henry and his pals are testing out the birdbath, do they know my face? In walking past the open field, when several cows look up in unison from their eternal munching, is it the sound of my boots on the gravel, or the motion of my passing that attracts them? I find it endlessly fascinating to believe these creatures of Nature recognize and accept me for what I am, as I accept and appreciate their attention.
I often wonder if the thin veil between the animal world and us will ever be shorn. Meanwhile, we anthropomorphize our relationships with these amazing creatures, which pleases us no end.
Who can explain the thrill of discovery we feel when a small yellow horse in a corral containing several others, looks up at the sound of his name being called?
“My Beau” original watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen
The thing about moments–once they are gone, they’re gone forever.
It had been a long time since I had picked Oregon blackberries. Getting tangled in the thorny bushes and scratches on your arms and avoiding hungry bees is part of the fun of trying to fill a pail with the biggest juiciest berries you can get at. It was early in the summer, but the weather was warm, and my mother and I had decided that a blackberry pie would taste pretty good with dinner if we could find enough.
In long-ago years, during the War, I had walked along these back roads alone, picking and eating and not realizing at the time what a gift Mother Nature had given us. In those days I knew all the hidden places berries could be found, but it had been a long time, and now on this return visit, I saw that my mother had discovered new places.
As we crossed the highway to get to the pasture we passed Uncle Jean’s old barn which was still standing, though a good winter would probably bring it down. He kept two or three milk cows there, and when I came visiting, he would sometimes take me down to milk them. The old smell was still there, and it seemed as if I could hear them shuffling around waiting to be milked. I can still hear my uncle’s toothless French accent warning me “Darlin’ stay away from behind Bessie. She kicks.”
The pasture was close to the Rogue River, and if you stood in just the right place you could see the river and part of the rock quarry which had been owned by my Dad’s cousin. I often swam in that cold river trying to outdo my two older boy cousins who always bested me in nearly everything. They challenged me to hop on water skis for the first time one day and were flabbergasted when I actually got up and rode all the way to the dam without falling. They bet me I couldn’t do it again, but since I now had nothing to prove I didn’t take their bet, and I never got on water skis again.
I don’t remember how many berries we picked that day, or if there ever was a berry pie made that night, but sitting in that pasture with my mother, with an errant butterfly hopping a ride on a summer wildflower, and watching a mashed potato cloud passing overhead now and then, made me tell her, “You know, I feel as if I’ve come home again.”