Friday, September 9, 2011

Thank You for the Cow Paths

Dear Farmer who rents my land;

Thank you for the cow paths. When I walked the pasture today, marking boulders for removal, I was delighted to find that your cows have made paths. Granted, they are not in the same places that my grandfather's cows had them, but they are nice just the same. I am hoping with time they will become as deeply etched among the buttercups as I remember them and that they will fill up with the fine powder of dirt that feels good to toes or becomes slick in the rain and make a satisfying smack under bare feet.

There is a lot of work history in that land. There are pits that springs have carved around piles of rocks stacked by men generations ago who foolishly thought they could stop the erosion. Every now and then I come across an unexpected gully opening up beneath my feet in seemingly flat land, but most of the creek banks still feel familiar as they did 30 years ago.

I am surprised that the old fence line where we took out the wire this spring has blended in so well, and that the new fence line has already aged to match it's surroundings as if a clever decorator "distressed" it with golden rods and dried grass to make it look old. The pasture has already moved on and forgotten our hard work with a casual shrug at the whims of humans and their boundary lines. I think my newer coils of wire look nice on the old wire pile.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I had noticed the improvement. The pasture looks good, and somehow satisfied to be grazed by cows again. It has been nearly a century since my family arrived, and close to two centuries since settlers brought the first cows here. I wonder what will be here in another hundred years. I hope they keep the cow paths.

Your Farmer Neighbor

1 comment:

  1. Can I triple like this post ?

    Your writing just brought back a whole bunch of good childhood memories, including running barefoot along cow paths down by the creek ! I believe that just like people, land likes to be productive. I also believe that just like people, land responds to the kind of usage it gets.