Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Calves Cometh

Calving season is upon us. The busiest six weeks of the year, when our lives revolve totally around the herd.

It’s not that cows generally need help calving. They are good mothers and handle it for the most part on their own, but Mark insists that every calf has the best chance, and so the herd is discretely observed to ensure the calves are delivered and stand and suck in a timely manner. The heifers, the first-timers, are watched closely. Like humans, the new mothers might need some coaching or a helping hand. 

Yesterday morning on his early check Mark noticed a seasoned mother walking towards him with purpose. She was near the gate, very visible. He could tell right away that she was trying to deliver a calf, but not being successful because of a malpresentation. The calf’s front legs were protruding up to the knees with no sight of the nose, indicating that the head was twisted back, each contraction adding pressure with no gain. He called me to bring the ambulance (the pickup and trailer) and we got her to the barn right away. Mark was able to push the calf back inside, pull the head around, and deliver a healthy newborn. The outcome would have been grim indeed without his skillful interference.

Later that night, while sitting in front of the wood stove, we discussed the cow’s behavior and a strange phenomenon that Mark has observed many times before. When a cow is in trouble, it’s as if she makes herself noticeable to Mark. In a large pasture with hills and trees, the patient may walk across his path of vision as if to say, “look at me!” That’s a stretch to believe after a lifetime of living with cows. And even if you buy that, this cow had never been assisted before so it was not learned behavior.

Mark said, “It’s happened too often in my experience to be explained away as a coincidence.”

“But that would mean that she could reason” (I’m still a little skeptical).

“No, not necessarily, it could be just good energy.”

Sounds a little new-agey for cowboys doesn’t it? Mark says that he enters the herd, not with the anticipation of finding problems, but with an openness to be available if he’s needed. I can accept that the metaphysical world is always at our shoulder. Perhaps especially on a ranch where natural laws rule. And if we open ourselves up to that flow, we access a more complete truth. The Law of Attraction says that what we pay attention to grows. His intense focus on the cattle leads to a greater awareness of their needs and maybe even taps into an intelligence on another level.  

I joke that he is much more in tune with his cows than with his wife. “ How can you be more perceptive, more aware of subtleties, with the cows than with me!”

He doesn’t have an answer. It has always been thus I suppose - the ranch wife’s lament.

making his rounds

1 comment:

  1. I understand where you are coming from. But isn't it almost miraculous to watch our husbands and they bond and interact with the cows. That in itself is worth everything! Thanks for sharing!