Mark and I made an afternoon drive to the cows. Sometimes they need to be reminded where the grass is. They’re still in the mountains and there’s a few inches of snow on the ground. That’s enough to make them look towards home. Seems crazy that they stand at the gate waiting for us. They're just SURE that today is the day, even though deep grass is just a short walk away. This day especially they needed us. We crossed a bridge and persuaded them to climb the mountain where the grazing was superb.
Mark led them and I brought up the rear on foot. After the movement was started they traveled nicely, crowding each other across the bridge because they thought it was such a good idea. They trust us that we’re doing this for a reason. We left them at dusk, climbing up through the bitterbrush and seemingly content.
We’re getting fall chores behind us one by one. We tested the bulls for trichomoniasis, a venereal disease that causes abortions in the cows and can wreak havoc if left undiscovered. The bulls are home and had to be gathered off a nearby pasture and taken to the corrals for their annual meeting with our local veterinarian. Herding bulls is a totally different dynamic than handling cows. To pick them up and ask them to move seems to tell them it’s time to challenge each other and fight. It’s the strangest thing. They will be contentedly grazing, the picture of comradery, and when my dogs and I enter the picture, all hell breaks loose. Running and bellering, side swiping, facing off. It can be exciting and dangerous if you get too close. They move quicker than their size suggests, especially if they’re making a quick get away.
The quiet of November has set in. Mature and steady, no-nonsense and nuanced, November is the perfect illustration of Leonardo DaVinci’s words: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Last night when I let the dogs loose for their evening run, we walked out to the bare cottonwoods where the starlings were massing before their nightly roost. What a racket! They clatter and squawk, and then in one huge swoop they cease talking and the sound changes to the flutter of thousands of wings as they shift to a new location. Not one bird was left behind in that one grand swell. What a thrill, and pretty darned sophisticated for a bunch of scraggly commoners.