A few years ago, Husband was driving home and met a young Black Angus bull in the road. He and it negotiated for passing rights and as Husband accelerated away, he kept checking his rearview mirror to see where the bull was. From the corner of his eye, he saw movement. The young bull was alongside him, working up a good charge, aiming at the front passenger side fender.
One day in the fairly recent past, I too met a young bull in the road. This was a Hereford, not the Black Angus with whom Husband had dallied. It was just about where, not long ago, I saw the ruffed grouse. The bull stood and stared, blinking at me. I sat in my stopped car and waited to see what would happen. After some minutes, the big beefer moved slightly away from the middle of the road. Tentatively, I pressed the gas pedal. And stopped again when the bull shook his head, ears flopping slightly, and lowered that head. "Oh Lord," I thought. "Here it comes." The bull feinted at me; I blew the horn. He wheeled away off to the side out of my path. I gingerly went on past him while he stared. Blinking.
Last Sunday while Husband napped, the dogs and the cat and I went outdoors to sit on the patio to enjoy the sunshine. I took my book, the nail clippers, my glass of water, and all the other accoutrements I thought I might need. Didn't want to open and close doors too many times and wake up Husband. Also: didn't want to have to move from my chair more than absolutely necessary.
I sat reading and happily growing drowsy in the sun and delicate breeze.
Eventually, as always, the dogs erupted into a cacophony of Alarm Barks. It is so rarely an occasion that requires my attention that I read another page, while they continued, before I looked up...
...to see a seven-cow parade strolling along the farm road at the bottom of the field, heading for the hayfields. They passed behind the trees and I waited for them to appear at the other side where I would again have a clear view of them.
One cow retraced her steps to peer up the field at the noisemakers. The others, five cows and a calf, followed her. They lined up side by side, their black faces (two with white forehead blazes) intent on the scene, their ears all pointed toward us. The dogs were nearing complete insanity.
After three minutes, the Head Cow tossed her head and turned to go off across the next down-the-hill field and the others followed, lalloping after her.
I thought I should call somebody, but I don't know anybody who has Black Angus. And I kind of liked the idea of them ranging around the hayfields.
Hours later in the day, Two-Hills-Away-Neighbor called to ask if we had seen any cows wandering around. A neighbor of his, over the next hill, had just bought those cows and put them in a pen that didn't hold them. They had rounded them up since I had seen them, gotten them close to the gate . . . when all seven scattered in different directions . . . behavior, I have heard, that is more common to Black Angus than to other bovines. I like that; it means to me that their instincts are intact. But then I'm not the one trying to keep them corralled.
"They'll be wanderin' all over all summer now," Neighbor said. "I think one of 'em's headed for town."
So far as I know the Happy Wanderers are still at large.
Sooner or later I'm sure I'll meet one of them in the road somewhere.
I drive slowly.
8 hours ago