I dream sometimes of being a hermit. Living in the woods with the oak and elm trees as my roof and their leaves as my bed. A small creek for refreshment, a fallen tree trunk to sit on, and when it rains, a tent (age has created that) to crawl into where I could lay still and dry while I listen to the drops falling through my roof and on the canvas.
It is a day dream I have every time I go for a walk through the woods and the lowing of a momma cow calling her baby, over and over again, prompted an emergency stroll. Her persistent calling stopped me in the middle of porch to listen for her location and for the tone of her voice. I remembered CM had mentioned earlier that Big Momma cow had a baby the day before in the woods; that was enough for me to run inside to ask CM to get his boots on, I’d meet him at the gate to search for the calf.
CM brought along the big loppers, I thought to clear brambles, but there were mostly soft limbs we could push out of the way and he stopped only a couple of times to cut thorny vines in our path. I follow him for that reason and because his boots can better handle an accidental encouter with a snake. Hardly slowing as we headed west to the sound of that new mother calling, my imagination had the calf stuck in a briar patch or between a couple of saplings.
The memory of that older heifer who got herself stuck between two closely grown trees last Spring probably had something to do with that thought! When the herd walked away from her that day, she started wailing. My first thought when I finally found her way in the back pasture was, I’m going to have to saw a tree! Instead, I called CM and upon arriving home, he rushed straight to the back. Before he left for a hand saw, he hoisted himself up onto one tree and pushed the other trunk with his legs just above the heifer’s neck. I started pushing on that silly cow’s head and when she finally raised her nose and turned her head enough to get loose, she almost fell on her behind. Getting her balance, she looked at us in a huff, as if we had caused the whole incident.
My mind came back to the problem at hand as we made it down and across the dry creek bed because the momma cow had stopped calling her baby. That was scary, too, until I realized that she had heard us coming and didn’t want to give away where she and the baby were – good momma cow. CM hurried ahead of me as we climbed up through brush along the edge of the clearing at the top and into the north middle pasture. Then I heard a satisfied declaration, “They are all here!”.
It was then that he told me his concern was that the baby had got herself on the other side of the fence, still in the woods, and not able to figure out how to get around to the opening in the middle and follow the herd. He had brought the loppers to cut the fence. As it turned out, it was just a stubborn little calf not paying attention to her mother calling at her from a few feet away. After we popped out of the woods and surprised her, I bet Baby Girl will be paying better attention for the next few days!
CM had smartly grabbed his hat on the way out, so he decided to walk around the pond on the way back, out in the sun. I chose to return the way I came, through the shade of the woods, the oaks, elms, cedars, and the few of my beloved pines that have survived too many droughts. The blissful quiet had returned, momma and baby together, I could now hear the birds fluttering overhead and one brave featherling started fussing at the intruder, letting all the other animals know that a human was traveling their domain.
I am truly just a visitor, but I do day dream of living in that wonderland. The birds would visit, softly chittering nearby while I sit on that fallen tree trunk and they would sound the alarm when another human was coming through our woods, maybe to visit this old hermit.