from sky to seed

Watching cows from the window in late autumn

This morning was the first true change in temperature. Last night the thermometer dropped 40 degrees. I woke up and peeled back the window shade and the ground was scrubbed with frost, beautiful in the way that shattered glass glitters. The wind has shifted, blowing from the north. So many of the leaves are down but sometimes when I’m looking at their fallen, gray carcasses they burst back up into the trees. Birds!

A few days ago the guys moved the cows into the pastures that surrounds the house, which I love, because when I lie in bed at night I can assign any stray noise to them. Oh yes, that’s the calf, no concern, that’s just them shuffling through tall grass.


Yesterday was so unbelievably windy that when I tried merging onto the highway it took five minutes for my car to get up to speed, and I do not drive a crummy old jalopy and my foot’s as heavy as an anchor. I actually considered turning around to get Jon’s truck, which he’s not using right now because he’s out of town. When I told him about it later, on the phone, he laughed and laughed and laughed. I like that sound from him the most.

I worry about all the animals when the weather starts changing like this. I keep the cat and dog inside as much as possible. The swinging shifts from warm days to cool nights gives the cows scours, which is a polite word for diarrhea. It’s awful. Their backs are sleek and wet and their faces look so drained and tired, like refugees. They bawl. There is nothing I can do. Sometimes I try to talk to them but they really don’t care.

I can see the cows right now, from where I write. There are a few near the fence and their faces are always so sad looking, and beautiful, though every once in a while I come across one whose frank unhappiness reminds me of a school marm. They purse their lips. I like those better. They are not weak. They make me laugh.

But most of all I like them when they’re far off in the distance, and they do not quite seem like tender animals but more like marks of geography, miracles of size.

2 Responses to “Watching cows from the window in late autumn”

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