Wednesday, October 24, 2007

'Til the Cows Come Home

In general, you might expect life in the country to be quiet. It certainly gets darker at night when you are away from the city, allowing you to see more stars. The air is definitely cleaner, allowing you to take a deep breath and feel like you are doing something good for your body. This in contrast to the city, where you cringe and hope you're not giving yourself cancer with every respiration.

But quiet? That depends what you are listening for. For the first time in years (ever?) I don't sleep to the sounds of trucks on the interstate, jet planes taking off and landing, or even distant emergency vehicles. There is a train a few miles away, but by the time the sound reaches Red Boot it has been distorted into a pleasing sort of tuneless harmonica noise.

Usually the most obnoxious sound you hear around here is the barking of dogs, and the occasional rifle report from the hunting property that surrounds Red Boot Ranch on three sides. Otherwise, the natural symphony gets going at dusk when the owls and coyotes are talking to their pals, and at sunrise when the birds greet the day. And occasionally you will hear the lowing of the 20 head of longhorn cattle that roam the hunting property. They tend to meander past our fence every day or so, but we can hear further than we can see, so we hear them at least once or twice on any given day.

But today is different, and what bugs me is that I don't know why. It seems to me that the cattle have been lowing continuously for more than 24 hours, from a fixed location somewhere in the woods, across the road. Yesterday morning, after school, last evening, even in our room ready to go to bed last night we could hear them lowing. I'm about to go over into the woods to ask if they've spotted baby Jesus.

Seriously, Monday was a long rainy day, and they've been at it since Tuesday morning. I wonder if there is a connection, like maybe they got stuck on the wrong side of a flash flood. I don't know. Yesterday as we got out of the car after school, Maren declared her opinion: “Mom! One of those cows over there just had a baby!” Jesse claims they woke him this morning, and I believe him.

All I do know is that I can't think. My writing desk is positioned in front of a window overlooking the pond and the woods behind it. And every bit of silence is filled with cows mooing. I hope they are okay, because somewhere in the back of my mind I sense they are mooing for help and I can't talk myself out of it. So I think I will be experiencing writer's block until it stops. I am not so much annoyed as curious, and curiosity is completely distracting!

They are out there somewhere

Curiosity in this case must go unanswered, because while we know the first names of the owner and the property manager, we do not have phone numbers. And actually I'm pretty sure “Bubba” isn't even listed as a first name. Nor am I venturing over into hunting property. This city girl has no idea if it's a hunting season, and doesn't even know how to find out. Not to mention it just sounds like a bad idea to investigate the whereabouts of a herd of Longhorn cattle. What, so they can trample me? No thanks! I will live with (or die from, I suppose) this curiosity. I am sure they are fine, and if not there is nothing I can do about it.

But it still bugs me, and I am really looking forward to the next time I see them meander by, just to reassure the crazy person in the back of my head that she can stop worrying, the cows have come home. Hopefully it will be soon, or Crazy may just take the driver's seat...

Good news, I think I just heard an ATV out there on the property. Crazy can stand down. Ya'll have a nice night.

*Post Script: I finally found what I think is an answer, at least enough of one to satisfy Crazy and me. Apparently this is weaning season. The calves have been taken off the property (for whatever reason), and the mothers are both uncomfortable and calling for their babies. We think they are penned up, which explains why the sound is coming from a fixed location. It should only last for a few more days.

Knowing an explanation for something, whether it changes the situation or not, makes the situation much more bearable. And since everything in my life links to whether or not my house has sold, there is your link. If I knew how long it would be until it sells, I could stand it better, make plans accordingly, etc.

But here's the catch: I believe God is asking me to just put plans on hold for as long as he asks me to, and keeps speaking quietly in my heart, Am I enough for you? If your house doesn't sell for two years, if you have to give up every bit of self-respect and continue living in someone else's house for that entire time, Am I enough? If this is all there is for you, Am I enough? If you never get an explanation for any of it, Am I still enough?

Man, I hate character building.

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