It had been raining for nearly a week. The stormy weather off and on and torrential rain which pounded against rooftops was a welcome reprieve from the dry, hot spell – and it effectively soaked every thirsty plant and parched lawn in time for the approach of the holiday weekend.
So, when I woke up this morning to a clearing sky and sunshine, I hooked up my dog to his harness and leash, and off we went for an early morning walk. It was relatively uneventful. There were the occasional stops along the way so that my canine child could unleash his curiosity by sniffing and investigating the grass, and then subsequently peeing at precise points along our walk to heart’s content – even when there was no pee left.
We finished our two-mile trek, and I brought Henley inside so that he could have some water and cool off. I had another round of exercise in me, so I decided to bike the loop instead of running it. It felt like that kind of morning, and I figured why not go with it. It’s a good workout, and I could easily do five miles plus stop at my favorite place to do some deep breathing and stretching.
But I should have known when I saw Mr. Possum in the back yard before 5 am this morning that there was something in the air.
I saw it in his eyes as he stared my half-awake self down. It was as if he was sending out a vibe to all the area animals. Something like, “Hey there, we’ve got a live one here! Let’s mess with her today!”
Mr. Possum was faintly on my mind as I geared up and pulled onto the street to start my ride. I made the first loop without incident taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the country. As I rode past one of the farms, the sheep were quick to say hello with their loud bah- so loud that it startled me. But I said hello back and kept going. Their nod, or rather prod to the morning was much appreciated. In hindsight, perhaps they were communicating with the others for the best was yet to come.
As I turned back onto the street where I live, I opted for a second round. It was far too pleasant of a morning to stop now. So I crossed the bridge, rounded the corner, and navigated the hill a second time. I exchanged hellos and how are you with the neighbor as she ran by, and I rode past her. I was relaxed, content, and so happy to be outside.
Then I neared the bridge by the dairy farm and turned the corner. Only to come to an abrupt stop at what was staring back at me.
There he stood in the middle of the road. Proud, stubborn, and free. A renegade cow alone on his journey to stupefy all those who pass by. Somehow, he had escaped the field, and I can only imagine he had to cross through the stream to get to the road. I sat for a minute, assessing the situation. I did my best to coax him back to the field from which he fled. After a few iterations of “come on, buddy, you need to turn around and go that way. Go back to your pasture. See, your family is right there waiting for you,” I realized he was one stubborn cow. So, I headed to the farm to find someone, but there wasn’t anyone around.
I quickly headed back, hoping that Mr. Cow had come to his senses and returned to the place from which he came. But I was met by him once again, along with another neighbor out for a run. The neighbor said hello to the cow and me and kept going. Perhaps he thought we were together.
I could only laugh and marvel at the odd turn of events.
Again, I tried to coax Mr. Cow back to the pasture by talking with him and pointing to the field. But it was clear he had other plans – and it didn’t involve going back to see his friends. Instead, he decided to turn around and walk the other way but still obstructing the road and my ability to pass him. So, I maneuvered myself off to the other side of the road and saw a car coming in the opposite direction. The car stopped, and the window opened. A woman, laughing, said, “I wasn’t quite sure what kind of dog that was, and then I realized it was a cow. Holy sh-t!”
We had a lovely chat as we strategized about what to do next, which included both of us trying to reason with the renegade.
Again, I went to the farm, but I was met with only the moos from the other cows trying to convince junior to come home.
I headed back over the bridge and around the corner to check out the situation only to find that Mr. Cow had made his way into the yard across from the farm. I watched as he happily grazed on the tall grass, investigated his surroundings, and relished his newfound freedom.
So, I decided to keep going.
And that’s when it happened.
As I started to zip by him, I saw him kick up and start to run toward me. “Oh, crap!” escaped from my mouth as I tried to figure my way out of this situation. My instinct told me to stop and talk to him, and as I came to a halt, he did too. So I said, “Hey, buddy, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you, and I will go a little slower. You really should go back home. They are calling for you.” And with that, I slowly started to move.
Mr. Cow backed away and turned around.
As for me, I biked like a bat out of hell until I was far enough away. I was grateful that I was on my bike and not running because I bike much faster than I run. At least I had a chance on my bike!
I continued along the loop and went past another farm. This time the sheep were even more talkative than before. And as I slowed down, I noticed one of the sheep trying to climb the gate to get out – and it looked right at me. I shook my head, said, “what is up with you all today?” and kept going although I couldn’t help but wonder if there would be more animal antics.
But all this got my brain thinking, and the lesson seemed pretty clear to me.
Expect the unexpected.
You never know what any day is going to bring, and sometimes you need a renegade cow to remind you that life is full of surprises. And when you least expect it, you might find you are where you need to be – even if it is with an escaped cow, a crazy-eyed possum, and a sheep ready to bust a move. Whatever the reason for today’s events, it made me laugh and reminded me to be present.
It also led me to write this story. So, all is not lost. And besides, it isn’t the first time I’ve been a part of animals gone wild. After all, there was that time I walked a baby goat down the street in my suit and 3-inch heels. And the time that Moo the cow ended up camping out on our front porch. But I’ll save those stories for another day.