Today was supposed to be a slow soaker, a light drizzling drench that lasted all the day long. There were 2 inches in the forecast and that’s evaporated to .78″ maybe around noon. I’ll believe it when I see it. The ground would have drank 2″ of rain like it was nothing. 2″ wouldn’t have made it into the long dried ephemeral creeks but been soaked up along the hillsides and sponged by the duff and leaf litter. Anyway, its my fault for believing in anything. My fault for waking in the morning, looking out the bathroom window to the tank that collects rain off the south of the house and sighing in disappointment because it was unchanged and not filled up and pouring over. Yes, yes, I’m supposed to wake up and take my hat off to the beauty of the world. I know that too. But indulge me. There is a sweetness in desperation. A calm with the pain.
I traded my 60 chigger bites for a light mauling by Belle the cow’s horns that left me with bruises on my arms and pain in my left tricep. Light mauling is too strong a word. I carried the feed bucket because our Jersey girl, Opal, got skinny quick in the heat, the face flies and horse-flies and with her calf so big. And while bringing feed to all the girls, Belle got excited and came in to get her share blazing. It was an accident really. And anyway, I’ll carry a stick next time and they can get a smack on the horns if they can’t be patient for 1 second while I pour some feed in a container. Yes, and I think we’ll get one of those long feeders soon anyway. We don’t feed grain (all stock) often but when we do it would be nice to have. They assert dominance among themselves over the individual containers which is the cause of Belle’s excitement and the little accident. Its not really that painful for me actually, already feeling better than last night when it was hard to have the wife lean against me there as we sat in bed together. My wife says that it is another reason that the cows should be de-horned.
I agree with her too. There was a moment that I didn’t but I do now. The last time we were de-horning the calves I got some of the caustic acid de-horning paste on my hand, on my skin, and I felt the burn for the first time. I hadn’t known that the burn was so immediate and painful so I said I’m done with this stuff and not doing it again. We had been doing the steer calf and planned to do the little heifer too but abandoned that. I said I wouldn’t do it again. So she has her horns still budding.
I think it was the next day, my friend Jason was over and I told him about it and he talked about how there is just no good way to de-horn. How any option is horrible. He works on a farm with over 60 cows and they use a burning tool. He told me about some of the accidents that happen with the horns where adults still have them, mainly cows injuring other cows and how his boss thinks it is very important to de-horn now. He mainly stressed things my wife had already told me but It was good to hear it from Jason too. And his boss, a woman grazier I respect.
One of the very interesting things about doing this blogging thing is seeing what comes out when you sit down in the morning between cups of tea. For the joy of the common life, I didn’t mean to write of my disappointment in the rain or poorly tell the story of my flip-flopping on the issue of de-horning. You never know what’s going to come out. I can tell you one thing though, I don’t think it is going to be much poetry anymore. You never know but I was thoroughly awestruck and dumbfounded earlier this week as I listened to a poem read by the author, live and in person: a true poet. It was just so ridiculously good that it made me want to take a break. But who knows, there are other authors that make me want to write. Abbey makes me write, Marry Oliver too. Anyway, you never know what’s going to happen, not with blogging, not with poetry and especially not with an Indiana mid-summer rain as it swells up over the last of the Wabash run and skirts and gathers over the bends of the White river. The only way you know you can get it to rain for sure is to cut some hay and get out there with a baler and get some square bales on the ground, out in the field and ready to get picked up. If you do that it’ll rain for sure.
You can read that ridiculously good poem here by a fine Indiana author HERE but I think it can’t come close to the way he read it in person. He about knocked me down on the floor.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with a zen story that perhaps gets at the gist of what is coming out here. And I’ll leave it to you to piece it together.
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. ‘It is overfull. No more will go in!’ ‘Like this cup,’ Nan-in said. ‘You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?
From: Zen flesh, Zen bones a collection of Zen & pre-Zen writings by Paul Reps
Painting by JoeRay Kelley
P.S. It is raining now.