Frankie Valli & Phoenix – Part II

DSCN1401The sun set, and with it came a sinking feeling.  I looked around at the field where I had spent the day grazing.  I looked at Frankie, who had kept close to me throughout the day.  I looked at the evening sky and felt a longing I had never before felt.  I looked toward the road I had traveled earlier that day, and I walked toward it.  By the time I reached the fence, I had the momentum and force to press through it effortlessly, toppling the wooden post.

Frankie watched in disbelief, his head swiveling from me to the fence and back again.  He took a tentative step beyond the fence line, thought better of it, and turned back into his pasture.  As I rounded the bend in the road, I looked back at him one last time, his face a portrait of disappointment.

I retraced my steps from earlier that day, taking my time.  A car came up behind me, slowed, and followed me from a respectful distance.  At the bottom of the long hill, I turned right and then left toward my home.  I stood in the yard and peered in the kitchen window waiting for someone to notice me.  The people who had followed me knocked on the door and my family emerged, talking all at once and laughing.  I was home.DSC_0669

A few days later, we repeated the journey up the road to Frankie Valli’s pasture.  My people told me that I had to stay this time, that I would come to appreciate Frankie, that they would visit me.  Being philosophical and ruminative by nature, I decided to take this in stride.  I settled into life with Frankie.

When the chilly autumn wind swirled the leaves into the sky, the calf that had been growing inside me since the winter began to stir.  In early November, my baby boy was born.  Life is good.

Frankie Valli & Phoenix – Part 1

DSC_0679He’s a steer who was named for his breed (Jersey), and his gender (boy).  They dubbed this Jersey boy Frankie Valli.  Because his people find it odd to holler “Frankie Valli” across the pasture, and because he trots over to half that name, he’s just “Frankie.”

I’d heard my people talk about him, this young, comical, undignified steer.  The creed of cows is this: We turn slowly toward points of interest.  There’s gravity in our movements.  We study things ruminatively.  Frankie does none of these things.

I’d heard people talk of their plan:  I was to be moved to Frankie’s place.  I thought: nope.  People are peculiar.  They’re so industrious, always in motion and transporting things here and there, driving from place to place and back again, and talking, talking, talking.  We cows stand in the pasture and eat and observe.  Who is the wiser species?

The day came when they slipped a halter over my head, and a parade of people walked me away from my home to Frankie’s.  Walking at the center of the procession of children and adults, I enjoyed the view, gazed at the hills and the yellow and purple flowers dotting the meadow, and listened to the clip-clopping of my hooves and the people’s softer tread.

At the pasture, they set me free.  Frankie lifted his head at my arrival, pulled his neck back in disbelief, then gamboled over to the fence that separated us.  He kicked up his hind legs and danced.  I was not impressed, so he tried harder.  To settle him down, I strolled over and touched my nose to his.  This calmed him, and we walked along our respective sides of the fence together.

When the gate opened I went into Frankie’s pasture.  He playfully put his head down and pushed against mine.  Not a good idea.  I pressed him into walking backwards.  Once I’d made my point, Frankie behaved, and we passed the rest of the day grazing on sweet grasses.DSC_0663

When the dimming of the day came, I began to miss my family and the comforting scent of my barn and kin.

to be continued